Fitch Memorial Woodlands
Also known as Edward H. Fitch Memorial Woodlands
Icons on the map can be clicked to get directions on Google Maps (works best for Parking Icons).
From Field Park (the roundabout) in Williamstown, drive south on Route 7/Cold Spring Road for 0.6 miles. Take a right turn on Bee Hill Road and continue uphill for 0.5 miles (1.1 miles). There is a small parking area with an informational kiosk on the right (west) side of the road.
This property can also be access via the RRR Brooks and Fitch Trails.
The Fitch Memorial Woodlands is a maturing mixed-hardwood forest that is well-situated between two other pieces of conserved land: Sheep Hill and the Taconic Trail State Forest. The property’s proximity to the hedgerows and open fields of Sheep Hill makes it a desirable habitat for varied bird species. Additionally, the forest helps to protect the scenic vista along Sheep Hill and Bee Hill Road.
Two trails wind through the property, the Running Pine and Fitch Trails. A hike along the Fitch Trail takes you on a tour of the property’s highlights: a series of hemlock groves and ledgy outcroppings, as well as a fine example of an old stone fence. As the trail continues towards Commonwealth of Massachusetts land, you pass through a remarkable stand of old-growth maple amidst a sea of hay-scented ferns. Some of these ancient trees measure greater than six-feet in diameter! The trail deposits you at a T-junction with the RRR-Brooks Trail, near the babbling waters of Flora Glen Brook.Size: 20.5 acres
Longest Walk: Fitch Trail to RRR Brooks junction: 2.2 miles (out-and-back)
Acquired: Initial parcel: 1996; adjacent parcel: 1999
These lands were once part of a 600-acre farm, and were cleared during the early 1800s. At this time, Bee Hill Road was along the main route from Boston to Albany, and farms in this area commonly raised a few dairy cows and crops, before switching to Merino sheep as the 20th century neared. As farming was abandoned, forest began to fill in: throughout the Fitch property, there are signs of logging, and the different ages of trees and soil types indicate a varied agricultural history.
ActivitiesCross-country skiing, Hiking, Nature Study, Snowshoeing
This property is managed for forest health and associated bird and mammal species, as well as for public recreation. Management is largely passive to allow the forest to mature, and to encourage natural succession processes.