Preserve Spotlight: A Family Adventure at Godwin

Contributed by LGLC Community Engagement and Events Manager Michele Vidarte.

If you are anything like me and my family, you’ve been seeking solace in the outdoors over the past several months, both for your physical and mental health. Seeking solitude in nature not only recharges our energy, it feeds the soul, and in the best cases, we can let our social-distancing guard down just a bit (if you’re not seeing any other humans on the trail) and just simply relish the freedom of being in nature.

Godwin’s trails are just right for hikers of all ages, and provide a scenic reward at the end.

These days, it’s hard to find a preserve or a trail that isn’t already full of other people seeking all of these same things, especially in Bolton Landing. We’re all looking for a place to go to escape and in many cases, we’re all also looking for a place that has easy access, parking, is relatively close to home and maybe has a nice view at the top… Fortunately, we have many of these kinds of places in Bolton, you just have to look a little further.

I’m almost hesitant to share what seems like a well-kept secret because I’ve relished having the preserve to myself, but in a greater effort to help our other preserves share the load of the many footsteps, I want to share my experience at LGLC’s Isabel la Roche Godwin Preserve. This trail has become a favorite of mine more recently while hiking with my 8-month-old son and/or with my 7-year-old nieces and the family dog. It’s quiet, the woods are thick and the trail is easy enough for them to tackle but still provides an increased heart rate for those of us looking to get our blood pumping.

Hiking from the red trail and up the yellow trail to the overlook provides the perfect amount of hiking and a stunning view as a reward for our group of various ages and abilities. If the weather is good and everyone is happily fed with trail snacks and water (puffs for baby, biscuits for pup and granola bars for the rest of us), we just might continue back down the yellow trail and back to the red trail, which then crosses onto the blue trail and over to LG Wild Forest land, to check out the blueberry bushes and frogs at Pole Hill Pond.

This preserve offers so many different interest points, especially for young kids just learning about nature, woodland creatures and the importance of nature and conservation. The property includes a tributary of Indian Brook and large vernal pools for breeding amphibians. It is also part of the large, unfragmented forest that adjoins to the Pole Hill Pond Preserve. Protecting this fragile property prevents excess nutrients and sediments generated by development from flowing into Indian Brook and Northwest Bay.

LGLC’s Michele Vidarte and family at the Godwin Preserve overlook.

We’ll continue to visit Godwin this winter with our snowshoes or maybe our skis, hoping there is enough snow. The trails are even more peaceful in the quiet of winter with a soft layer of white, only broken by the occasional dee-dee of a chickadee, the trill of a junco or, if we’re lucky, the hoot of barred owl. We hope you get out there any enjoy these special lands, and if you do, let us know!

The trailhead for Godwin is located just before the parking lot to Amy’s Park off of Padanarum Road in North Bolton. There is a small parking lot that has just recently been redone, as part of the LGLC’S Bolton Hub Recreational Plan, with spots for about 4-5 cars. The red trail winds over a few bridges and through the woods until you reach a small incline and ridgeline. The route is easy to navigate as long as you follow the LGLC markers and occasional blazes spray painted on trees. At the top of the ridge, hikers can take the yellow trail to an overlook with views of the wetlands of Amy’s Park and the peak of High Nopit or they can continue on to wide open views along Pole Hill Pond.

Hikers should take note of the following: Please practice social distancing and mask-wearing while near others on the trail. Dogs must be on a leash and we ask that owners please carry out pet waste. Please use caution when hiking during hunting seasons – wear bright colors and hike in groups.