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Paffard Woods – Stonington / property details / get directions / trail map

This is a lovely, rolling woodland preserve with a stream, wetlands, uplands, stone walls, and rock ledges. Lots to see and much of it was formed by glaciers thousands of years ago.

Total Hike & Seek Targets: 5

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This big rock has attracted people for maybe hundreds of years, maybe more. How did it get here? There are other big boulders on the property, but this is the biggest.


The pretty stream, called Stony Brook, forms the western boundary. There are several places where you can get close to the stream and listen to the water as it tumbles over the rocks. Can you find a quiet, deeper pool?  What animals might enjoy the pool too?


In a forest, there is a definite cycle of life for the trees. This woodland has many very large old trees. In the last decade, several severe winter storms and hurricanes have caused many trees to break or uproot and fall. While it may look “messy” to some, it is a good stewardship practice to clear the trails but leave the fallen trees on the ground where they provide shelter for many creatures. Some of the older trunks are hollow and you can see where carpenter ants were at work. Gradually the wood decays with the help of good bacteria and fungi and is returned to the earth to enrich the soil for future trees.


Even trees that are still alive and standing may be hollow on the inside. Look around as you walk. You’ll see holes high and low! Some are big and may offer shelter to an owl or raccoon; others are smaller for a squirrel to enjoy. Down near the ground you can often find piles of nuts or acorns falling out of a hollow trunk, a sure sign that some little creature like a chipmunk may have stashed his supply inside!