Old Church Lane
Situated on a dirt road in a relatively remote area of Lewisboro, the preserve encompasses extensive wetlands amid upland deciduous forest, ridges, and rock outcrops. An impressive shrub wetland – partially open, partially wooded – lies alongside the road over calcareous (limestone or marble) soil. Trees are interspersed throughout, and an abundance of berry-producing shrubs makes for excellent habitat for songbirds and other wildlife. A ridge separates the wetland near the road from a red maple swamp on the east side of the preserve. Large rocks covered in foliose lichens tumble down the ridge’s eastern slope creating excellent habitat for snakes and other wildlife.
An intermittent stream runs southwest between two ridges. Streamside and surrounding vegetation consists of mountain laurel, yellow birch, chestnut oak, and American beech. There is a good amount of leaf litter, woody debris, and standing dead trees that can be used as feeding and nesting sites for woodpeckers and other cavity-nesting birds.
In 2005, Westchester Land Trust teamed up with some local high school students, led by Eli Walkely of South Salem, to lie out and construct a scenic hiking trail through the preserve. The preserve has two trail heads on Old Church Lane, making for an easy loop hike that ends with a walk along the dirt road past the open wetland. The Open Space Institute holds a conservation easement on the preserve.
Directions: The Old Church Lane Preserve is located on Old Church Lane off of Rte 123 in South Salem/Vista. From Route 123, turn onto Kitchawan Rd., and a left onto Old Church Lane. Just south of the intersection of Kitchawan Rd and Old Church lane there is a small pull-off on the left side of the road for parking.