Spend an afternoon exploring Simmons Mill Pond Management Area and you’re almost guaranteed to learn something new. For over a decade, this wildlife management has been lovingly maintained by two volunteer stewards, who have made it a particularly special place to explore. Hand-lettered wooden signs along the trails point out different species of plants and trees along the way, display local wildlife and history, or draw your attention to bird houses where feathered friends nest.
Hunters may take pheasant, quail, and white-tailed deer (archery hunting only) from this wildlife management area, and fishermen will find Simmons Mill Pond replete with trout. If you’re looking for a peaceful paddle, launch a kayak from the Coldbrook Road bridge into Cold Brook, and glide downstream into Simmons Mill Pond. If you want to check out geocaching, try your hand at finding one of the property’s 19 hidden caches!
The trails at Simmons Mill Pond Management Area are primarily grassy old cart tracks, and make for easy walking. Maps at each trail crossroad help you to keep your bearings as you walk, and hand-lettered signs at the start of each new trail will give the approximate time it takes to walk them. (Download trail map)
These cart paths form two large loops, the Farmsite Loop and the Amy Hart Loop. Both parking areas connect to the Farmsite Loop. This roughly 1.75-mile loop provides the best views of the ponds and the remains of the farm that once stood on this property. The Amy Hart Loop can be accessed from the northeastern corner of the Farmsite Loop. This trail is about a mile long, and will take you deeper into the woods.
Habitats & Wildlife
Simmons Mill Pond Management Area is a coastal maritime oak-holly forest, a rare habitat that only grows in the right conditions in southern New England. This unusual forest is home to a rather unusual mammal: the Southern flying squirrel, a fascinating little mammal that glides from tree to tree on the skin between its wrists and ankles. Flying squirrels are nocturnal, but you may be lucky enough to see one soar overhead if you take a walk in these woods near dusk.
This wildlife management area is stocked with ring-neck pheasant and bobwhite quail for hunting, and Simmons Mill Pond is stocked with trout for fishing.