Getting outside for walking this winter is a popular activity among people of all ages in coping with the confinements imposed by the pandemic. As a result, the street and public access spaces in Greenwich are busier than normal with increased volume. For less crowded areas, there are fortunately several in the Round Hill community worth considering.

Babcock Preserve (Town of Greenwich):

This popular 300-acre parcel is accessible with parking from North Street above The Merritt and runs north to Lower Cross and west to Lake Avenue. This is moderate degree of difficulty with relatively narrow paths through dense wooded terrain with minimal elevation changes and variety, but there are many trail options with either more or less distance. Trails are not uniformly marked and no maps are available, so take a picture of the stationary map at the entrance with a cell phone to avoid confusion. Above ground tree roots are present in sections of some trails which requires solid footing, and walkers often have leashed and unleashed dogs with them. There is also a small unmarked and ungraded entrance off Lake Avenue south of Burying Hill Road which requires a high carriage SUV to clear the ground.

Fairchild Garden Sanctuary (Greenwich Audubon):

This 135-acres space is not well known and hence less populated and more serene. Seldom are more than a handful of cars in the parking area off North Porchuck Road just above intersection with Old Mill Road. The sanctuary offers narrow trails with a variety of habitats with wetlands, streams, vernal ponds, ravines, gorges, rocky outcrops, and a Byram River branch with moderate elevation changes. Benches and boardwalks (it can be muddy) are located near the wetlands and ponds to observe wildlife and seasonal plants. Dogs are not allowed, and there is no flower picking or disturbing any flora and fauna.

Audubon Center (Greenwich Audubon):

Although the Center building is closed for this pandemic winter, the 285 acres of trails are open and accessible from the intersection of John Street and Riversville Road. This sanctuary property also offers a wide variety of hardwood forests, meadows, lake, pond, stone walls, bird blinds, boardwalks, swamps, and thickets  Maps are usually available near the Center for the wide trails that descend noticeably to the majority of the grounds down the hill by the lake. When walking after a snow fall, there are often an assortment of animal tracks to see and try to identify.

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