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Stroud Preserve: Take a stroll in the country

Information center at the entrance to Stroud Preserve
Information center at the entrance to Stroud Preserve
Kathy Martin ( Stroud Preserve

Few places, these days, let you truly feel like you are out in the country, miles from nowhere. That is until you take a hike or leisurely stroll along the trails of Stroud Preserve, in West Chester. Consisting of more than 570 acres of grasslands, woodlands, farmlands and streams, Stroud Preserve lets you truly experience a country mile.

Miles of protected property

Scenic overlooks, working farmland and native grasslands, wetlands and meadows provide valuable habitats for the great diversity of birds and wildlife. For some it is a last chance to rebuild their population. For visitors, that Stroud is surrounded on all sides by private farms and preserves, only adds to the vast, textured vistas from along the four main trails. Owned and managed by Natural Lands Trust, one of the largest land conservation organizations in the region, Stroud Preserve is an especially valuable protected property. The East Branch of the Brandywine Creek dissects Stroud from private preserves and receives fresh water from tributaries through the property. This provides a unique opportunity for water research by Stroud Water Research Center, a premier stream research lab of North America, and also expands the diversity of wildlife, water fowl and plant life that thrive here.

Trails along meadows and woodland

Stroud Preserve offers multiple color-coded trails to meet the desires of hikers, dog walkers, equestrians and those just out for a casual country stroll. More than nine miles of unpaved trails are designated for use, distance and ease, although even the most difficult has a moderate, 4.2 mile reference. Walk along any of the trails and the views and wildlife activity remind visitors of the critical importance of these protected lands. Birds swoop and perch along the native grasslands, bull frogs serenade the wetlands, and the woodlands are alive with all manner of scurrying type. Look down from the bridge over the Brandywine Creek and be amazed at the fish so easily visible in this fresh water natural stream. Clearly protecting this water source and the surrounding lands provides a haven for numerous plants, animals, and even us humans temporarily away from our high-speed lives. Come listen to nature’s calling to stroll a country mile or two. Stroud Preserve may be that haven in the country you didn’t realize is just what you need.