At over 200 acres, Cedar Ridge is one of D&R Greenway’s earliest and most important preserves. It is a real beauty. It has wildflower-filled meadows, flowering trees and shrubs in hedgerows, a corridor along the Stony Brook, small pools that fill in spring where salamanders and frogs lay eggs, groves of red cedars that house owls, a remnant patch of ancient forest with one of the best and biggest white oak trees around, and an extensive maze of early 19th century stone walls. It is also a property with a trail network that allows you to enjoy all of these features.
In late summer the meadows at Cedar Ridge are filed with a mosaic of wildflowers, shrubs, ferns and grasses. The most prominent shrub is bayberry, which was used in earlier times as a source of medicine. Its berries famously are used to make an aromatic wax for candles, but they are also an important winter food source for yellow-rumped warblers, who return the favor by spreading the seeds. Its leaves are also host to the larvae of several moth species. Goldenrod makes a showy display in early fall, accompanied as always by swarms of butterflies and bees. Milkweed flowers host monarch butterflies—first by providing food for the larvae, then nectar for the adult insect. The presence of sensitive fern in patches throughout the meadows reveals the pattern of wet ground. Red tailed hawks are often seen patrolling these meadows in search of voles and moles and an occasional American kestrel can be seen hovering over the fields. The bluebird boxes are filled every year with nesting bluebirds.
In 2009 eight vernal ponds were built along the hedgerows of the meadows. These ponds fill with water in winter and early spring and then become hosts for the eggs of salamanders and frogs. Visiting great blue herons have discovered these ponds and are sometimes seen stalking their edges. The cedar groves host owls and the deciduous forest provides food and shelter for scores of neo-tropical songbirds like Baltimore oriole, titmice, Carolina wrens, woodpeckers and sapsuckers and many different species of warblers.