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Fort Barton and Ft. Barton Woods

Tiverton, Town of Tiverton

3.5 miles of trail

Moderate

Close

Very Easy

Trails that are smooth and relatively level with no steps, no roots, stones or uneven ground. These may be paved, crushed stone, continuous boardwalk and similar surfaces. These trails have a route that is quite obvious such as a single point to point trail or an easy loop or network of trails.

Easy

Relatively flat and smooth trails with a route that is quite obvious such as a single point to point trail or an easy loop or network of trails.

Moderate

May have a few hills or steep sections and multiple surface types including rocks and roots. Trails are generally well-marked but following them requires a trail map.

Difficult

Strenuous trails, trail systems that mostly involve multi-mile loops and trails that are narrow and may have obstacles such as stream crossings or rocky areas, some trails are less well marked.

Hunting is not allowed here but it is permitted on nearby land. Wear blaze orange during hunting season. More information

Click on the "Trail Map (PDF)" button to download a PDF of the trail map that you can print and take with you on the trail.

Avenza maps are special, free maps that you can use in the Avenza app on your smart phone. These maps let you see your location on the map as you walk. Download the Avenza App for free in the Apple App Store or on Google Play

Click on the Avenza Trail Map button to "purchase" the free map for this trail from the Avenza map store. If this is your first time, Avenza will ask you to set up an account to check out. However, all Avenza trail maps listed on ExploreRI are free.

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.

The Viewing TowerA Family Walking in Fort Barton WoodsSin & Flesh Brook in Early FallSin & Flesh Brook in Spring

What’s There:

After a short, but strenuous uphill walk up from the street parking area to the Revolutionary War fortifications of Fort Barton, one may climb the observation tower for a panoramic view of Narragansett Bay. The historic area includes the redoubt, a network of earthen fortifications remaining from the Battle of Rhode Island in 1778. The trailhead for Fort Barton Woods is to the rear of the redoubt area, beginning with steep descending steps, then an upward climb onto the trail leading into Fort Barton Woods.

Fort Barton Woods is an 83-acre natural area with 3.5 miles of trails that take visitors alongside the pristine Sin and Flesh Brook, where they can view many wildflowers, ferns, and animal habitats. The trail is rugged in places, with several rustic bridges crossing the meandering brook.

Natural History
The mature hardwood forest has the common upland trees of southern New England: oaks, birch, sassafras, beech, black cherry, and hickory. Red maple, yellow birch and tupelo populate wetter areas. You will also see the only New England broadleaf evergreen tree, the American holly. The brook winds through swamp, aggregations of boulder and exposed bedrock, and vernal pools. A diverse assemblage of woodland plants and shrubs may be seen along the trails.

Cultural History
The Native Pocassets would have used the forest for hunting, gathering, and possibly winter quarters for thousands of years before the King Philip's War of 1675 drove them from the East Bay. The forests would have been cleared by Europeans early in Tiverton's settlement, for fuel, wood products, and for pasturing animals. This use continued into the early 20th century.

Revolutionary War
The strategic importance of Tiverton Heights (i.e. Fort Barton) is apparent from atop today's observation tower. Only a narrow strait separates Tiverton from Aquidneck Island, which the British troops had occupied early in the war. Behind the tower are earthworks that protected artillery positioned to prevent the British from crossing the strait.

History was first made here in July of 1777, when Lt. Col. William Barton and 40 men left Tiverton in three boats. Three days later they slipped through British ships in the middle of the night, and crept inland to capture the British Commanding General Richard Prescott at his quarters in Portsmouth. This daring plan had little strategic significance. However the reports of the General being led off in his nightclothes was a tremendous morale booster to Americans. Subsequently, the Tiverton Heights redoubt was renamed Fort Barton to honor the leader of the raid.

Dogs: Dogs must be under positive control. Positive control means the dog is either on a physical leash, or under voice command and within sight. If not leashed, a leash must be carried by the person controlling the dog to be used when encountering other hikers with dogs. Owner must pick up and remove dog waste.

Other Amenities: No amenities. Carry in/carry out policy. Picnicking and camping are not allowed.

Getting There:

Highland Road Trailhead

Google Maps is the mapping system used on the new ExploreRI maps and shows the trailhead located on a terrain view, a street map or an aerial photograph. Clicking on this link will take you to the full Google Maps website, which is not part of ExploreRI.org.
Acme Maps shows the trailhead located on a topographic map. The Acme Maps website is not part of ExploreRI.org.

Driving Landmarks: From Route 24 in Tiverton, take Route 77 (Main Road) south toward Little Compton. After quarter of a mile take a left onto Highland Road. Proceed to Tiverton Town Hall (343 Highland Road) with parking on the left. Entrance to the revolutionary redoubt is a steep driveway to the tower on the hill. Entrance into the woods is behind the redoubt area.

Parking: Yes: Parking lot, 12 spaces, no overnight parking

ADA Accessible Parking Spaces? No

Coordinates: 41° 37.504' N    71° 12.451' W   See this location in: Google Maps   Acme Maps


 

Beautiful Trail

Submitted by: Sidonia ; May 16, 2021; 10:56 pm

Beautiful Trails But I would recommend repairs on wooden bridges (boards missing), ( some areas very wet with small and unsturdy wooden boards for passage. Better trail markers.. Especially clear trail exit markers to parking lot areas. The railings on top of Observation deck not secured ( shakey).Beautiful area but some safety concerns that should be addressed.

Photographs:

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This site report was last updated on September 25, 2020

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