Welp… That’s Welch
Welch Parcels, Bethany
An important piece of information you should know when setting out to hike little parcels and preserves in The New Haven County Black Hole (Bethany, Prospect, northern Woodbridge, and eastern Beacon Falls) is that there is often nowhere “official” or easy to park. I kind of like that – an added challenge to some short hikes that don’t necessarily pose one otherwise.
In the case of the Welch Parcels, the trail has four entry points along two different roads that Bethany declared to be scenic. The southern entrance on Carrington Road offers the best “spot” – which isn’t a spot at all, but… oh you’re not going to drive to the gravel backroads of Bethany. Who am I kidding?
But I do feel the need to mention that a lot of the Bethany Land Trust trails can be combined with other trails. This seems to be a thing here in the New Haven County Black Hole as well, even though sometimes dangerous road walks would be required. (Here, the BLT’s Hein Trails are should be hiked in tandem with the Welch Parcels.)
Why is it called the Welch ParcelS? Because this small 24-acre block is made up of four easements protected by the BLT and a 50-foot-wide strip owned by the Trust that goes between some houses. Oh yeah, you’ll be walking next to some backyards here… something Calvin has not yet gotten used to.
The trails – yes, the BLT has named three bits of this mile long loop three different trail names – you know what? I’m just going to show you what I’m talking about:
The blue bits are easements and the yellow bit is BLT-owned. You can see the skinny strip and imagine that it traverses a narrow strip of woods between private properties. (Which is fine, don’t worry about that. In fact, someone, likely one of the homeowners, has made that stretch particularly interesting with rock piles and artfully lain stumps and such.
The entire trail is well-marked and cleared. There are several bridges over wet areas and old stone walls to clamber over. An agricultural field sits in the middle and as long as you park where I said to park, and therefore know to turn left at Sperry Road, and now to look intently for the yellow blazes to your left after the field and a driveway, you’ll be fine.
Calvin and I came here after our hike around the Regional Water Authority’s Lake Bethany in the valley just to the east of this place. You can see in a couple pictures he was essentially running, which is fine by me – although this isn’t exactly a running trail. Except on the roads. Which are short stretches.
Though short, I’ve come to love these types of hikes. Several generous people donated their property to the land trust and it’s a pretty little area. It allows people to make a loop and then pop on up to the BLT’s Hein Trails which offer a totally different type of hike through some really cool geologic features.
So thanks Welch families and BLT volunteers. I love this random stuff.