|T h i s W a y t o N a t u r e in Chapel Hill @thiswaytonature.com|
|Map of Sites||Adams Tract
Anderson Community Park
Cedar Falls Park
Johnston Mill Nature Preserve
|Mason Farm Biological Reserve
North Carolina Botanical Garden
Explore . . .
At Mason Farm
A Natural Area of Chapel Hill
One of 10 natural areas in the Chapel Hill area profiled by Boy Scouts of Troop 9 for Daniel Rippertonís Eagle Scout Service Project to encourage children to spend more time in the natural world.
provides a glimpse of a natural area in the Piedmont as it might have appeared a century ago. Bequeathed to the University in 1894 by Mary Elizabeth Morgan Mason, the land has been largely undisturbed since then. The 367 acres comprising Mason Farm Biological Reserve consist mostly of forests and old fields, with a creek, swampy areas, and flood plain. The Big Oak Woods, a 65-acre section of hardwood bottomland in the center of the site, has never been clear-cut, though it was used as a woodlot and for foraging by cattle. Some of the trees there are over 200 years old. Through a combination of controlled burning and mowing, the open fields are maintained as prairie-like habitats, ranging from wet meadows to drier Piedmont prairies.
Permit required for entrance. You can get this at the Totten Center at the North Carolina Botanical Garden during business hours.
Located on Finley Golf Course Road.
Parking available in small lot on the south side of Morgan Creek.
No bus routes.
No drinking water or restrooms.
Park Hours are dawn to dusk.
Dogs are NOT permitted.
Administered by North Carolina Botanical Garden.
Two trails offer access to the site. The Hackberry-Warbler Trail begins near the entrance to the reserve. It descends gently to Morgan Creek which it follows along much of its course, then loops back through the low woods and brush to its start, less than a mile in all. The Big Oak Woods Trail, a 2.2 mile loop, traverses the main section of the reserve. Following the trail from the parking lot, turn left at the fork to proceed clockwise around the loop. Initially you pass brushy areas and fields, with a water-filled ditch on the left. Rounding a curve, the trail enters a low forest of tall hardwoods, called the Big Oak Woods. After another sharp turn the trail passes through a swampy area, called Silerís Bog. Then it proceeds by the Shagbark Hickory Forest and more fields before returning to the parking lot.