Gregg Preserve was originally donated by Janet Gregg Howell in 1977 to The Nature Conservancy in the name of Dr. John Gregg, the inventor of shorthand, who bought the property in 1937. The Connecticut Chapter of The Nature Conservancy transferred the Gregg Preserve to the Wilton Land Conservation Trust in a series of transactions beginning in 1979. The first transaction was comprised of 18.6 acres. Approximately 2.016 acres followed in 1983 and another 2.019 acres in 1984. The last transfer was 52.25 acres in 1985. The house originally associated with the land in the preserve was built in 1780 by Joseph Hurbutt. It is now a private home. In the late 1830s when William Wakeman owned the house, he used it as part of the “underground railroad” to take escaped slaves north. It had a trap door in the living room with a room fitted to house the slaves. You can view it from the eastern section of the preserve looking to the south to Seeley Road, but please respect the privacy of the owners.
Mostly open mature deciduous woods comprise the 74.5 acre preserve. However, two large stands of evergreens, open meadows, ponds, creeks, rocky crags, stone walls and swamps give the preserve a diversity of cover types which attracts animals and makes the preserve delightful to walk on a sunny day.
Near the entrance from the cul-de-sac on Mayapple there is a kiosk with a map of the property and trails. On the back is a “wildlife identifications” project sheet for people to write all interesting wildlife species they see along the trail.
The network of trails created on the Gregg Preserve occurred mainly under private ownership. Mayapple Brook meanders throughout the parcel flowing generally from east to west. A large wooded swamp situated in the north drains to the south and makes up a part of the Mayapple Brook watershed. The Gregg Preserve’s wide trails cover relatively gentle terrain. The Preserve is suitable for many pursuits including cross country skiing, walking, botanizing, and birding as seasons permit. Look high in the trees for Scarlet Tanagers, in the spruce groves for roosting owls and along the streams for warblers, thrushes and woodpeckers. Horseback riding and mountain bikes are allowed but no motorized vehicles of any kind. A visit to this attractive preserve is a most rewarding experience. For a longer hike, one can access the trails of the adjoining Belknap Preserve via the eastern portion of the orange trail. Together the two preserves comprise about 120 acres.
Directions:From Wilton Center, take Route 7 north for 2.6 miles to Honey Hill Road on the right (east). Follow Honey Hill 0.5 miles to Mayapple Road. The entrance to Gregg Preserve is on the Mayapple cul-de-sac. Gregg Preserve
Acreage: ± 74.5
Parking: At end of Mayapple Road; also, one or two cars at Seeley Road.
Access: Main entrance at southwest corner of the Mayapple Road cul-de-sac. Otherwise, off Seeley Road or from Belknap Preserve.
Trails: One well-developed trail (blue) around the property’s perimeter and interior crossing trails.
Ownership: Wilton Land Conservation Trust
Land Trust Contact: Wilton Land Conservation Trust