Woodbourne Forest in Spring

Ancient, old growth hemlock

Ancient, old growth hemlock

I recently returned to this beautiful preserve for a quick hike.  We followed the yellow blazed trail down across fields and into the forests that surround the pond and wetland.  Despite the bright sun and 80 degree temperatures, there was still ice under the shade of the hemlock trees.  Lillies were just poking themselves out of the water.

Woodbourne is a beautiful place because of the life it protects.  It is home to almost 200 species of birds, 9 species of salamanders, and about 200 acres of old-growth forests, one of the largest in the Mid-Atlantic.  I will never forget being here on a warm spring or summer evening and witnessing the incredible diversity of birds, animals, plants, and insects around the pond.  The place literally buzzed, hummed, called, and sang with life from all the different animals.  It was like a mini-Serengeti.

The highlight of the preserve may be its old growth hemlock.  Some trees are truly monstrous.  Sadly, the wooly adelgid has reached the preserve, although most of the trees looked fairly healthy.  Hopefully, the frigid winter we just had helped contain this invasive pest.

Woodbourne has about 9 miles of trails, a variety of habitats, forest types, and even some impressive old stone walls.  It is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon.

More information.

More pictures.