Get outside and enjoy the township's trails
By Kerigan Butt
A paved walkway allows those with limited mobility the opportunity to be surrounded by nature.
By Carla Lucas
Landenberg's townships have preserved hundreds of acres over the last decade, and the public can share these beautiful resources. Trails in all of Landenberg's townships offer great opportunities for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
Banffshire Preserve (61 acres) features a series of four looping trails that wind along the west branch of the White Clay Creek, meander through a mature hardwood forest, and climb the steep slopes to a beautiful vista of farms, fields and rolling countryside. Trails vary in difficulty and range in length from half a mile to more than four miles. Various sections can be combined to see even more.
Hiking, biking and horseback riding are allowed on the trails. All trails start from the parking lot on Chesterville Road, near its intersection with Creek Road. The preserves may be used from dawn until dusk. Trail maps and details are available online at franklintownship.us.
The Keen Trail is located between Creek Road and Auburn Road in Franklin Township. The trail is currently less than a mile, but will be extended to meet New Garden Township's Mill Race Trail. There are small parking lots at both ends of the trail.
The Geoghegan Trail is a mostly flat, two-mile looping trail around the original Ford Farm property on Appleton Road. Parking is at the township parking lot next to the Kemblesville Post Office.
Peacedale Preserve is located in Franklin Township, off Peacedale Road. The 222-acre preserve has 3.5 miles of trails and is owned by Natural Lands Trust. A downloadable trail map is available at natlands.org.
Mill Race Trail, New Garden Township
The trail gets its name from the remnants of the old mill race, which fed a mill half a mile downstream. After a quarter-mile descent into the valley from the trailhead, this trail flattens as it joins the abandoned Pomeroy and Newark rail bed, which was converted from railroad to trail. A spur trail off the rail bed follows a section of the east branch of the White Clay Creek. The trail ends at the bridge abutments where, in 1904, a passenger train crashed. Future plans include a bridge across the creek and a display about the train accident at the bridge abutment.
Birds of all kinds can be heard and seen along the trail. Look for white plant identification tags. Trails maps and details are available at friendsofthenewgardentrails.org. The Mill Race Trail is a 1.25 mile trail. The parking lot is in the Auburn Hills development (Lavender Hill Road), off Auburn Road. The trail is open from dawn to dusk. Hiking, biking and horseback riding are allowed.
Another trail in New Garden Township is the .09 mile Laurel Woods Trail. This looping trail meanders through a wooded hillside and includes an observation platform near the rock cut for the abandoned Pomeroy and Newark Railroad. The trail is located on the former Phelps property. The parking lot is on Laurel Heights Road, near the intersection with Penn Green Road.
Springlawn Trail, Elk Township
Springlawn was once a small community that used the waters of the Big Elk Creek to turn a mill wheel. The land became part of a DuPont country estate, and trails were built under the road so that horses and riders did not have to cross the roadway. The land changed ownership when the State of Maryland created Fair Hill Natural Resources Area from the DuPont Maryland holdings, and George Strawbridge purchased his Pennsylvania lands.
At some point, the village of Springlawn was abandoned. Elk Township entered into an agreement with Strawbridge to close Springlawn Road and turn the area around the abandoned road into a preserve, using the roadway as the main trail.
Today, the ruins of Springlawn are found near the western end of the main trail. Spur trails off the main trail lead to the Big Elk Creek. The trail is relatively flat. The total length of the trail is 2.5 miles. It is not a looping trail.
Limited parking is available on Strickersville Road, near the Big Elk Creek bridge. A larger parking lot is located on Chesterville Road (Route 841) near the Big Elk Creek bridge. Hiking, biking and horseback riding are allowed on the trails. Springlawn is open from dawn to dusk.
Mason Dixon Greenway South
At the corner of Strickersville Road and Flint Hill Road in London Britain Township, native grasses sway in the breeze for much of the year, demonstrating how the grasslands in the area looked before settlers arrived. At Mason Dixon Greenway South, guests using the mowed trails can hear the grasses moving, and see wildlife that thrives within the native grasses.
This preserve also features a paved, handicapped-accessible walkway that winds along the meadow's edge and through the mature woodlands. There is also a creek overlook for those with limited mobility to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.
Just past the end of the paved walkway is a small stream crossing. It's the perfect place to explore life in a creek.
Another trail, the Greenway Trail is a .8-mile trail that connects Mason Dixon Greenway South to Fair Hill Natural Resources Area. Access is available from the Mason Dixon Greenway parking lot. Take the farthest trail to the right, use Flint Hill Road to cross the creek, and pick up the trail on the other side. Mason Dixon Greenway South is open from dawn to dusk. The parking lot is on Flint Hill Road, less than a quarter-mile from its intersection with Flint Hill Road. Hiking, biking and horseback riding are allowed on the trails. There are picnic tables available at the park, too.