Saturday, December 25, 2010

Laurel Lime Ridge Park, Seymour

Laurel Lime Ridge is one of those unrefined parks where the "trails" are more like ATV paths or old roads, the markings look rather ad-hoc, and there are apparently no maps.

In spite of that, or maybe because of that, it's a neat park, and if you can find your way to the look out, you are rewarded with a view up the Housatonic River. The overlook here is directly opposite the river from Birchbank Mountain in Shelton.

Ice crystal formations in the paths were difficult to walk on in places. But pretty.

Along the top of the ridge there are a series of interesting rock formations, overhangs, and quarries. In the picture above you can see a thick gleaming-white seam of calcareous rock, which is unusual around these parts. This is rock with lots of calcite, as in calcium carbonate or lime. A ridge of lime. And a few mountain laurels. Which is presumably why they call it Laurel Lime Ridge.
Not sure what they mined it for. But this is the same rock formation that was mined for tungsten, silver, and other metals that pops up in Trumbull, Monroe, and Shelton (see geology map - the formation is in orange). So it was probably some type of metal. The stone ruins in the photo above were near a small quarry and were probably related to the operations there.

The park is about 210 acres, and as far as I can tell it is owned by the Seymour Land Trust. If you're interested in exploring, we parked at the end of the cul-de-sac for Tibbets Road. And I was happy to have my gps with us (found a geocache while we were at it). The trails are all very wide and eroded, and it looks like there may be a lot of ATV traffic in there at times, but we were alone during our visit.

1 comment:

Hiker Tom said...

This is a beautiful area well worth hiking. To hike this area, park in the cul-de-sac by 32 Tibbets Rd., Seymour. Directions: Rt. 8 North to Exit 19. Left on Rt. 334 West and follow over Rt. 8. Make a gentle left onto Rt. 334 West at the Rt. 8 entrance ramp and go 1.8 miles. Left on Laurel Lane and then continue straight on Tibbets Rd. to the end. From Rt. 8 South, take Exit 19. Left on Derby Ave. Next right on Rt. 334 and go 1.8 miles. Left on Laurel Lane and then continue straight on Tibbets Rd. to the end.

As of April 2015, the trails are poorly marked and damaged by ATVs. The part of the trail guide that refers to red pine trees is incorrect; they are pitch pine trees. Maps and information available on pages 9-10 and 19-20 of the Seymour Land Trust Trail Guide: The front cover of the trail guide has a photo of the Housatonic River view. Little Laurel article (may require a free registration to read):

This is information on the caves and the park from a press release for a historic talk.

If you know where to look in Seymour, you can still see remnants of a giant outdoor furnace that Colonial farmers used to turn marble into lime for their fields. Just how this process worked will be the focus of a program at the Seymour Historical Society on Sunday, April 26, at 2 p.m.
Millions of years ago, the state was covered by an ocean that included a coral reef. Over time, the reef metamorphosed into marble. Beginning in the late 17th Century, farmers used the marble to enhance crop growth by lowering soil acidity. But it first had to be burned in a large outdoor kiln, producing a chalky substance known as “burnt lime.” Two local kilns were constructed, and one still remains in Seymour.
In this program, Peter and Barbara Rzasa will describe the kiln, the marble quarries and ancient mining roads that still can be found in Little Laurel Lime Park.
The Seymour Historical Society is located at 59 West Street, near the Trinity Episcopal Church. The program is free to Seymour Historical Society members and $5 for non-members. Doors open at 1 p.m. For more information, call 203-881-2156, contact Or visit