Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

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Shinnecock / Tuckahoe

Tuckahoe; Five Corners

 

 

The “Five Corners” in Southampton where Magee Street, West Neck Road, and Millstone Brook Road converge is a great jumping off point for several lovely hikes.

It would be great if someday there were to be parking, rest facilities, an information kiosk, maps, and an integrated network of trails accessible from here.

Last week I introduced you to three contiguous areas in which to hike: Emma Rose Elliston Town Park; Wolf Swamp; and Big Woods.  This week, I’d like to share with you a couple of other beautiful places to hike close to the “Five Corners.”

Tuckahoe Hill Preserve, an area in excess of 100 acres with a wide range of plant and animal life, can be reached from the intersection of North Magee and Sebonac Road across from the Tuckahoe Elementary School.  A couple of years ago, by cooperative effort between the Town and The Southampton Trails Preservation Society, a lovely trail system was built here.

Tuckahoe Swamp is another 100-acre preserve with extensive wetlands that can be reached by traveling west from the Big Woods parking area to the intersection of Millstone Brook Road and Millstone Brook Street.  The entrance to the new trail is on the north side of Millstone Brook Road.

Both Tuckahoe Hill and Tuckahoe Swamp have extensive wetlands.  Tuckahoe Hill has a string of ponds while Tuckahoe Swamp has low wetlands tied together by picturesque brooks.  Many inner woods and water dependent birds make these preserves their home during the summer.

Tuckahoe Swamp has an easy to follow trail.  It is marked by blazes showing black owls on a white background.  It travels through both wetlands and upland woods.  There are many streams and the woods have a luxurious dense green canopy.  The 1.5 mile trail is not a loop (because wetlands block the return path) but rather a semi-circle with two entrances, 500 yards apart, along Millstone Brook Road.  There are a number of simple, well-built bridges to take you over the streams.  This hike is a birder’s dream; walk quietly and listen to their songs.  Informal parking is along the shoulder of the road.

Tuckahoe Hill has stands of red maples, tupelo, pitch pine, and beech as well as extensive stands of oak and hickory forest. Many chestnut trees persist despite the devastating fungal blight that keeps them from maturing.  The freshwater ponds support amphibians such as salamanders, toads, and frogs.  A wide variety of animal life including owls, foxes, and snakes thrive here because of the diversity of habitats.

The entrance to the trail is on Sebonac Road opposite the school.  This is an interesting and lovely place to explore despite the fact that in recent years the trail has suffered from vandals removing the STPS owl blazes and from ATV riders ripping the woods to make trails where they shouldn’t be.  Just two years ago, an easy to follow trail network had been put in place.  This is only one example of why the trails on Long Island need the attention and assistance of caring nature lovers like you.  Bring along a sense of adventure for this hike; be willing to wander and to follow a variety of trails.  Since the area is bordered by several major roads, so you can’t get lost for long.  Bring a road map to help you find your way back.  Instead of wandering, you could take the dirt road that leads directly to a 130-foot overlook, where you can see the Peconic Estuary, Robin’s Island, and the North Fork of Long Island.  A viewing platform of modest height would enhance the quality of the view dramatically.  With some experimentation you could even create your own loop leading to this overlook.

These are just two of the lovely areas close to the “Five Corners.”  You could return to this area repeatedly and discover beautiful places to hike.  Get out your road atlas and check the map to see what I’m describing.  Starting by traveling west from North Sea Rd by Millstone Brook Rd. you come to Elliston Park; at the Scott’s Rd./ Millstone Brook Rd. intersection you come to Big Woods and Wolf Swamp; From “Five Corners”, travel south on N. Magee St. and you will come to the entrance of Tuckahoe Hill Preserve; if however you continue straight through the “Five Corners” on Millstone Brook Rd. it will take you to Tuckahoe Swamp opposite Millstone Brook Street. 

You are in for days of beautiful adventures in the woods – Enjoy!

 

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Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

Ken Kindler
Open Space & Trails Advocate
Post Office Box 1466
Sayville NY 11782
ken@litlc.org

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