Stafford Farm Trail
Type: Out and Back.
Distance: 0.65 miles one way (1.3 miles out and back)
Difficulty: 2 out of 10.
Total score: 6 of 10.
Terrain – Mostly flat, one little gully to contend with
Trailheads – 39 51.195 N 74 58.183 W – Deerfield Road
39 51.672 N 74 58.222 W – Parking Lot off of Evesham Road (look for sign for Frisbee Golf between the doctors offices and the open farm fields). There is a parking lot here.
Standouts: Great views of Stafford Farm (founded in the 1700s) and chance to view a herd of deer.
Bonus: Bring your frisbee and play some frisbee golf after your hike.
Markings – Very clear except one four way intersection. At that spot, if coming from Deerfield Rd, take the left turn. If coming from the parking lot, take a right turn. Forget which way to go? Just look down the trail for signs before you walk in any direction. There are also distance markers every tenth of a mile, which is always nice.
Description: This is a great little hike right where no one would expect it – right next to Eastern Regional High School and in the midst of two expensive housing developments. How expensive? Flyer Simon Gagne once owned a house on the street the trail parallels. It’s a wonderful little escape into the woods in the midst of a sea of houses and strip malls.
I’ve done the hike many times, and I’m very partial to it. I grew up wandering in the woods across the street from this trail, going through the swamps, watching deer, having Nerf battles in the sand pit filled with abandoned cars and junk. The land of my childhood has all been turned into a retirement community, but this little bit across the way was saved. Every time I do this hike, it feels like I’m eight years old again. Except when I was eight, you couldn’t go on the Stafford Farm because they’d chase you off.
This land was purchased and preserved about a decade ago when the Stafford Family sold it after keeping it in the family for more than 200 years. The farm across the street (now offices and the Dublin Square complex) was owned by John Stafford, an aide to George Washington during the Revolutionary War. The Stafford Farm you are walking on here was owned by his son, so it goes waaaaaaay back. Some people might remember when there was a fire that burned down the barn in the late 1980s/early 1990s that was in the news.
So what do you see on this nice little hike? There is an excellent chance to spot a herd of deer (sometimes approaching 100 in number) out in the fields. The trail meanders between old farm fields and the woods, so you can a nice change as you go along. Toward the parking lot is a view of the active section of the horse farm. In the beginning, you start out pretty much in people’s backyards, but you quickly become surrounded by the old farm property. From growing up in these parts, there are deer, wild turkey, possums, squirrels, and other assorted critters running all through these woods.
I’m also partial to this trail because two of my Scouts worked on it as part of their Eagle Projects. Thanks for the trail and the markers guys!