Grills Preserve, Westerly
The Westerly Land Trust
Hunting is permitted here (hunters should check with the property manager before hunting). During hunting season everyone using the trails here should wear blaze orange. Remember, hunting season includes much of the late fall, winter and spring. More details.
In Rhode Island the primary hunting seasons typically run from the second Saturday in September to the last day of February and from the third Saturday in April to the last day in May, however this can vary from year to year and depends on what game is being hunted. During hunting season you should wear at least 200 square inches (a hat OR a vest) of blaze orange. During shotgun deer season, which is typically in December, you should wear at least 500 square inches of blaze orange (a hat AND a vest). For more information see the RI DEM website.
Description & Overview:
Much of the walking in the 550-acre Westerly Grills Preserve is easy, with wide flat paths, some wide enough for a truck (although motorized vehicles are not permitted). Trails follow more than a mile of the Pawcatuck River, although spots flood during times of high water. A pedestrian bridge (at the site marked “former Polly Coon Bridge” on the map) connects with trails in the Hopkington Grills Sanctuary. Other trails rise somewhat steeply to the top of "Big Hill", a granite out-cropping with extensive views. There are additional trails extending through deep woods. The southern boundary is along the main New York to Boston Amtrak line.
In addition to riverfront and granite hills, the Preserve has diverse habitats including streams and ponds, freshwater marsh, wetland forest, upland forest, and sandy pitch pine and oak areas being managed for New England cottontail rabbit. Otter and bobcat have been seen in the Preserve.
The Preserve was selected by the Rhode Island Natural History Survey as a site for a scientific “Bioblitz”. Over a 24 hour period, scientists identified significantly more species of wildlife than found during any Bioblitz at other sites in Rhode Island. Thirteen species of rare plants were identified, some living nowhere else in Rhode Island.
A portion of the trail system is used as a cross country meet course by the Westerly High School. Visiting coaches have stated that it is the best such course in either Connecticut or Rhode Island.
There are many signs of former agricultural use of the land. The Preserve includes a historic cemetery, whose residents include a veteran of the Revolutionary War.
Hunting is managed by DEM, and is limited to deer and turkey. A special DEM hunting permit is required. No hunting is allowed within 500’ of the end of Bowling Lane, and that boundary is posted.
Hours: Sunrise to sunset, all year
Miles of Trails: 3 miles
Miles of ADA Accessible Trails: None
Trail Width: Some trails are 15 feet wide, some are 6 feet wide and some are 1 person footpaths
Trail Rating: Moderate Explanation
Trail Rating Key
Easy: Trails are relatively smooth and the route is quite obvious such as a single point to point trail or an easy network of trails in an urban or suburban setting where help is always readily at hand. A map may be useful but is not necessary.
Moderate: Somewhat more strenuous trails or harder to follow trails. Trails are well-marked but following them requires a trail map and a trail map is readily available either at the site or online.
Difficult: Strenuous trails, trail systems that mostly involve multi-mile loops and trail systems where there is no available trail map or the trails are not marked.
Skiing/Snowshoeing: Yes, the trails are good for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing
Are Dogs Allowed? Yes. Must be under control or on leash. Waste pick up required.
Is Horseback Riding Permitted? Yes. More than two horse trailers could pose a parking problem.
Are Bicycles (non-motorized) Permitted? Yes, but not on steep trails to hilltops or on 1 person footpaths
Is Hunting Permitted? Yes. Contact property manager for details before hunting. Walkers wear orange during hunting season!
Other Amenities: There are no restrooms or other amenities at Grills Preserve.
Driving Landmarks: The Preserve parking lot is on the left at the end of Bowling Lane, which is off Main Street in Bradford, which is off Route 91 just south of the bridge over the Pawcatuck River into Hopkinton.
Parking: Yes: Parking lot, 25 spaces, no overnight parking
ADA Accessible Parking Spaces? No
The data on this website come from many sources, including volunteers and organizations across the state of Rhode Island and nearby parts of Massachusetts. We have done our best to make sure the data are accurate and up to date, but any information critical to the success of your trip should be confirmed before you start. The maps and information on this website should not be substituted for topographic maps or other more detailed maps and guides. We welcome corrections and additions. To send a correction or provide other feedback, please use our feedback form (see link above).
This site report was last updated on November 8, 2013