Welcome to the next installment of my favorite Newtown dog walks. Some I discovered while on horseback, others were recommended by friends and all have been thoroughly "marked" by my Norwegian Elkhounds over the years. Also, much of the historica
Welcome to the next installment of my favorite Newtown dog walks. Some I discovered while on horseback, others were recommended by friends and all have been thoroughly âmarkedâ by my Norwegian Elkhounds over the years. Also, much of the historical information and interesting sites I learned from the wonderful book, Newtown Trails Book 2000 Fifth Edition by Al Goodrich and Mary Mitchell.
Itâs a shame that the Brunot Preserve on Taunton Hill Road has been removed from the Newtown Trails Book, âbecause of vandalismâ as itâs a gem of a dog walk. I first discovered this area quite by accident while on horseback one summer. The entrance to the 77-acre tract of open space is located on left side of the road heading towards Route 6 just before Taunton Hill Farm. This chunk of land with one wide trail winding through the woods to a singular meadow was originally part of the farm James Brunot owned and raised his prize sheep on. Many Newtowners may recall Brunot as the âfather of Scrabbleâ who marketed the game to great success. Sometime after his death in the 1970s the Brunot Preserve was donated to the Newtown Forest Association.
There is a tiny parking area for maybe for two cars on a good day. The walk in goes down a steep somewhat rocky incline to a small stream, that during a wet spring swells to the point of needing tall rubber boots to cross. But once on the other side itâs all uphill on the wide trail.
Before you reach the summit, you will come to a fork in the trail. Be sure to bear left as the right spur leads onto private property. Once you ascend this hilly part of the trail, which can be quite unstable due to erosion, kind of like walking in a river bed without the river, a large flat meadow of tall grass greets you.
Once in the meadow, you can walk around the perimeter, take a few shortcuts through the middle, hop on a few large flat rocks for a look around and then head back. While the meadow isnât large, it charms you with its smooth dirt paths created by years of motorcycle riding by area youth. In the years Iâve walked this trail with my dogs and horse I never ran into a motorized vehicle. I think all the kids have grown up and moved away! But on a brisk autumn morning, fox sightings are highly probable as well as deer and some large raptors. If you use one of the large flat rocks itâs also a great place to bring a small picnic basket for some secluded dining. This walk can become a leisurely 40 minute walk if you stop and âsmell the rosesâ in the meadow.Â Â Â Â
A short drive across the âTaunton Districtâ up Castle Hill Road will land you at arguably the most visited, if not breathtaking, view of our fair town at the intersection with Old Castle Drive. Another small, short walk I enjoy with the dogs is the Nettleton Preserve, which is in the Newtown Trail Book and rightly so because it does boost the landmark Newtown view. Sitting on that lone park bench at the top of Castle Hill canât be beat. Although I fear that someday the trees will grow up so tall as to block the remaining view of the church steeples and iconic flagpole.
Once you leave the your leisurely perch on the bench, there is a cut trail that runs up and down the north side of the property, loops by the little chapel on the Congregational Church property before heading back up the hill. For a quick aerobic workout with the dogs after viewing stunning vistas give this trail a try. Itâs quick, maybe 15 minutes, but a good romp for your dog, who will gladly run down the slope and pant his way back up to the summit. I love to come to this site and imagine all the history that took place here before. If you imagine the U.S. Army maneuvers of 1912 with 20,000 troops storming across the hillside as well as the long-gone eclectic Castle âRonaldâ one canât help but get historic goose bumps. The dogs however, could care less, they just love to sniff the ground and look for moles.Â Â
Lisa Peterson, a long-time breeder of Norwegian Elkhounds, is the Director of Club Communications at the American Kennel Club. Contact her at email@example.comÂ or Dogma Publishing, P.O. Box 307, Newtown, CT 06470.