Location (Throne Hill GCT 9, West Throne Hill GCT 22, Lawrence Land GCT 23)
In West Groton with parking and trail access from Castle Drive, Kemp Street, and Rockwood lane.
Trails open dawn to dusk
Throne Hill Given by L&S Builders in 1984.
West Throne Hill The Town of Groton exercised its right of first refusal on the original 71-acre parcel, which was in Chapter 61, as it was about to be extensively developed. As is permitted by law, the Town passed that right on to the Groton Land Foundation, which purchased the property from the Wheatley family in 1998.
The legality of this was challenged and the law was upheld in a landmark case. Conservation limited development of 16 acres of the original parcel allowed the Groton Land Foundation to recoup purchase expenses while protecting the remaining 55 acres.
Lawrence Land 43 acres of woodland, partly purchased and partly a gift of William A. Lawrence II in 1999, includes the highest land on the Throne.
The Throne complex provides access to a broad variety of forest types. There is an extensive set of trails. In late spring and early summer, the Mountain Laurel blooms are remarkable.
An extensive trail network is present on the Groton Conservation Trust and adjacent properties.
The Throne Hill Complex is a vast over two hundred acre group of Groton Conservation Trust properties. It consists of Throne Hill with 121 acres, West Throne Hill Conservation Land with 55 acres and Lawrence Land with 43 acres. Throne Hill and Lawrence Land have a Conservation Restriction held by the Groton Conservation Commission and the Division of Conservation and Recreation.
At a regional level, the Throne Hill Properties provide critical connectivity among the large protected open areas associated with the Squannacook River to the west and the Nashua River to the East.
The presence of an extensive network of vernal pools throughout the property lends particular ecological significance to the area. These pools provide habitat to several state-listed rare species dependent on this resource type which has been devastated by development in the region. These pools provide breeding habitats for many species and provide stepping stones which allow movement of others through the landscape.
All three parcels are designated as Priority Habitats by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program and have been mapped as Estimated Habitats of Rare Wildlife by that agency.
There are five certified vernal pools on the properties and 16 potential vernal pools as mapped by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
A proposed development of lands adjacent to these conservation areas led to field studies to document the occurrence of rare species in the area and confirmed the site’s importance to the persistence of regional populations of state-listed rare species.
The Massachusetts Natural Heritage Programs BioMap2 program (MNHESP, 2011a) suggests that complex is also contained within an area designated by MNHESP as both an “Estimated Habitat of Rare Species” and as “Priority Habitat of Rare Species” (MNHESP, 2011b).
The property serves as a sanctuary for plants and animals and contains a variety of important habitats. Maintenance of these habitats and refuges is a critical goal.
A full range of non-motorized activities is allowed including Horse-back riding; Mountain biking; Hiking; Trail running; Snowshoeing; Nordic skiing; Nature study; and Photography.