Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary

Take a break from I-95 and walk on the wild side.

Boardwalk in Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary
A well-maintained boardwalk winds its way through the braided swamp.

There is a beautiful wildlife sanctuary located in the middle of the historic and picturesque city of Walterboro, SC.

Easily reached from I-95, the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place to leave the traffic behind, stretch your legs and enjoy nature. The sanctuary contains a network of boardwalks, hiking, biking and canoe trails that are perfect for viewing a diversity of a black water bottomland habitat.

Alligator by a creek
An alligator rests on the banks of the creek.

Wildlife is abundant in the sanctuary. Wild turkey, deer, raccoons, beaver, otter, mink, opossum, squirrels, fox, alligators and wildcats have been spotted here.

View of a braided creek in the sanctuary
There are excellent areas to view the braided creek.

History, culture, recreation and educational opportunities are waiting for you.  The 600-acre sanctuary features a “braided creek” swamp, which divides into an interlocking, or tangled network of several small branching and reuniting creeks, resembling a braid.

View of a path running alongside a pond
Part of the trail winds around a freshwater pond.

The 3.5-mile loop is paved and well maintained. The most historically significant path here follows the Colonial-era Charleston-to-Savannah Stagecoach Road. The former road still bears the remains of cypress built and long-fallen bridges.

Amphitheatre under construction on the grounds of the sanctuary
The amphitheater is under construction.
Photo by visitwalterboro Instagram page.

A Discovery Center is currently being constructed on the grounds. Upon completion, it will include a multi-purpose classroom, exhibit area and amphitheater.

View of swings alongside trails
Swings can be found along the trails.

From I-95, take Exit 53 and head into Walterboro. The first entrance is located to the left at the corner of S. Jefferies & Ivanhoe Roads.  There is also parking at 399 Detreville Street and Washington Street.

View of dog on trail
Bikes and dogs are welcome.
Photo by Brent Hughes.

Bikes and dogs on leashes are welcome on the pathways of the sanctuary, so load up the family and make your way to this nature-based tourism gem that Trip Advisor gives 4 ½ stars. See you soon.

Map of the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary
Read More

Historic Churches of Ridgeland and Its Surrounding Villages

Ridgeland and its surrounding villages are home to many beautiful and historic churches. They are close enough in proximity to make a day trip to visit these special houses of worship.

Located in the Grahamville area you will find both Church of the Holy Trinity Episcopal and its neighbor Euhaw Baptist Church.

Holy Trinity Church & Euhaw Baptist Church

exterior view of holy trinity church
Holy Trinity Church – Photo by Beth Yarborough

The current Holy Trinity Church was built in 1858. Two earlier versions dating as far back as 1824 were built as chapels of ease for planters using the Grahamville area as a summer retreat village. The live oaks that surround the building were planted by the women of the congregation in the 1800s.

interior view of holy trinity church
Interior of Holy Trinity – Photo by Dale Dunham

Most of the buildings of Ridgeland were burned during the Civil War, but this church was spared, having served as Union headquarters during Sherman’s famous March to the Sea. Rumor also has it that horses were stabled in the church. The antebellum church was ransacked of its possessions during its occupation. Years later, in 1928 a bible belonging to the church was discovered in the attic of a New York music publisher. He returned it to the church with a note stating, “How it came into possession of my family I do not know.” The bible’s endsheet bears the scribbled name of a Union officer. The church now protects the bible as a treasured keepsake.

window detail of holy trinity church
Window detail of Holy Trinity
Photo by Richard Horry

The church is a notable example of Carpenter Gothic style architecture. The asymmetrical composition, wheel windows and buttressed tower are great examples of this style. The bell tower serves as a stairway that leads to the old slave gallery. A pipe organ now sits in this gallery. The interior boasts an original hammer-beam timber ceiling.  If you would like to read more about this church, visit the Church of the Holy Trinity’s website.

View of the front of the euhaw baptist church
Front facade of Euhaw Baptist
Photo by Carie Robertson

Euhaw Baptist Church was first built on this site in 1860. This church is the second oldest Baptist organization in the South. Originally located on Edisto Island, the first structure was built in 1686. This church split, and relocated to the Grahamville village, which is now a part of Ridgeland. Euhaw means “Indian Lands.” The church was named in their honor. The original church at this location was burned during the Civil War. Luckily the congregation was able to restore it. Unfortunately, a forest fire destroyed the building in 1904, and the current structure was built in 1906.

Euhaw Baptist Church stained glass detail
Stained glass detail
Photo by Carie Robertson

This beautiful village church has gentle whispers of a late Victorian style. The asymmetrical arched and hooded windows, central round windows, towers and gingerbread draw homage to the period of architecture that was popular at the turn of the century. The 1906 Euhaw Baptist Church stands proudly as it was built, and no longer used for services. The congregation built a new more modern building next door in 1985. This structure is used only for special occasions. If you would like to read more, visit the SC Picture Project‘s page about the Euhaw Baptist Church or the EBC Faith Web.

Side view of Euhaw Baptist Church
Side view of Euhaw Baptist
Photo by Carie Robertson

Robertville Baptist Church

Robertville Baptist Church sits in the village of Robertville, just a few miles outside Ridgeland. The original 1824 church was burned during the Civil War. This beautiful structure was built in the 1840s and moved from Gillisonville to its current location in 1871. It was transported and moved piece-by-piece to the current site. Church members included Confederate Brigadier General Alexander Robert Lawton, who founded the American Bar Association, and his nephew, General Henry Martyn Robert, who wrote Robert’s Rules of Order.

Robertville Baptist Church exterior
Robertville Baptist Church
Photo by Carmen Pinckney

The unaltered church is a lovely blend of Greek and Gothic Revival styles. The interior pews date to 1867. According to the National Register, the church “Remains unaltered and designed with graceful simplicity, the little church gains its charm from an unusual but successful blending of styles: the Greek Revival with Gothic Revival details. The portico is supported by only two Doric columns (without capitals) on pedestals. The double front paneled door is crowned by a lancet arch. The Gothic detail is repeated in the gable ornament above and in the windows. All interior wood is said to be original.”

Interior of Robertville Baptist Church
Robertville Baptist interior
Photo by Carmen Pinckney

If you would like to read more about this historic church, visit the South Carolina Picture Project’s page on the Robertville Baptist Church.

Tombstone in Robertville Baptist Cemetery
Robertville Baptist Cemetery
Photo by Carmen Pinckney

Gillisonville Baptist Church

Gillisonville Baptist Church stands proudly in what was once the courthouse village of old Beaufort District. The courthouse, square and adjacent buildings of Gillisonville were burned by Sherman’s army in 1865.

Gillisonville Baptist Church Exterior
Gillisonville Baptist Church
Photo by Carie Robertson

Built in 1838, the antebellum church was spared during the Civil War because it was used as headquarters for a contingent of Union troops when they passed through the area. A Union soldier carved into the original antique silver communion set “War of 1861-2-3-4. Feb. 1865. As Union troops approached the Gillisonville village in 1865, a cannonball damaged the building’s steeple and bell tower. The tower has remained “steeple-free” as a reminder of its occupation. After the war the sanctuary served as a temporary courtroom until 1868, then the seat of government moved back to Beaufort.

Side view of Gillisonville Baptist Church
Side view of Gillisonville Baptist
Photo by Carie Robertson

The Greek Revival structure is covered in white clapboard and sits on a brick foundation. Constructed by local craftsmen, the church still possesses many of the original features. Boxed pews, random width flooring, and a former slave balcony can still be seen inside the sanctuary. The pulpit was repurposed and moved from the neighboring Coosawhatchie courthouse. It was formerly a judge’s seat. It is still in use today.

Cemetery surrounded by a brick wall
A brink fence surrounds the historic cemetery.
Photo by Carie Robertson

Holy Trinity Episcopal – 2718 Bees Creek Road, Grahamville
Euhaw Baptist Church – 2576 Bees Creek Road, Grahamville
Robertville Baptist Church – 26 Robertville Drive, Robertville
Gillisonville Baptist Church – 10158 Grays Highway, Gillisonville

Map showing locations of Robertville Baptist, Gillisonville Baptist, Holy Trinity Episcopal, and Euhaw Baptist churches

Information for this article can be found on the following websites:
South Carolina Picture Project
https://www.scpictureproject.org/
The National Register of Historic Places
https://www.nps.gov/subjects/nationalregister/index.htm
Moving Finger of Jasper Churches of the County, by Grace Fox Perry
http://genealogytrails.com/scar/jasper/churches.html




Read More

Old Sheldon Church Ruins Gain Protection

A black metal fence protects the Old Sheldon Church Ruins

One of the lowcountry’s most photographed sites recently gained several feet of protection. In an effort to preserve and protect the Old Sheldon Church, a locked fence has been placed around the ruins. Visitors can still visit the site but cannot pass through the iconic columns and brick arches.

A locked gate secures the ruins.

The church is owned by the Parish Church of St. Helena. They have been researching ways to preserve the ruins from rapid decay. The historic structure has fallen victim to vandalism by way of desecrating tombstones, graffiti, brick removal and destruction.

The Parish Church of St. Helena has plans to bring in docents on site to lead tours through the beautiful ruins. Restoration work will shortly begin first. Walking paths will be placed within the interior portion of the ruins. Walking through the brick archways will only be possible with professional supervision to ensure damage is not done to the structure.

The new fence is simulated to resemble iron.

This early example of Greek Revival stands as a testament to master craftsmanship and has had a very interesting life. The South Carolina Picture Project wrote a great article about its storied past.  A tablet located on the grounds reads: “Church of Prince William’s Parish, known as Sheldon, built between 1745-1755. Burned by the British Army 1779. Rebuilt 1826. Burned by the Federal Army 1865. Another sign states: “Old Sheldon is not a recreational area or playground.”

As visitors to this site we must respect this sacred and historically significant lowcountry gem. We must also understand, and not be offended by the fence. Protecting this structure for future generations is critical. The efforts of St. Helena should be applauded and appreciated.

Read More

St. Helena’s Lands End Road

History abounds from start to finish. Take a day trip to visit the historic sites on this scenic island road.

Tabby walls of St. Helena Chapel of Ease Ruins.

St. Helena is home to many beautiful roads. A turn onto Lands End Road puts you right in the heart of the Penn Center. This historically significant landmark is the site of the former Penn School, one of the first educational sites for formally enslaved individuals. Their website says it best, “Opened in 1862 the Penn School tutored freedmen out of slavery and into freedom. After the school closed in 1948, Penn became the first African American site in the state whose primary purpose was to safeguard the heritage of the Gullah Geechie community.

Later, in the 1960’s, Penn Center took up the mantle of social justice by ushering in the Civil Rights Movement and serving as the only location in South Carolina where interracial groups, such as Dr. Martin L. King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Peace Corps could have safe sanctuary in an era of mandated segregation.

Penn Center continues to thrive as a national monument promoting historic preservation, as well as a catalyst for economic sustainability throughout the Sea Islands. Its far-reaching impact on local, national and international communities has been the greatest legacy of the Penn Center’s history.”

Brick Church – Photo Credit: Bill Fitzpatrick

The oldest building on the site is the Brick Church. Built in 1855, Brick Church was an early location of the first school.

When visiting the Penn Center your first stop should be the Courtney P. Siceloff Welcome Center and Gift Shop in the York W. Bailey Museum. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you would like to read more about the historically significant Penn Center, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has a great ARTICLE, or visit the PENN CENTER WEBSITE.

St. Helena Chapel of Ease.

As you travel further down Lands End Road you will find the St. Helena Parish Chapel of Ease Ruins. This tabby house of worship was built in the mid-1700s for the plantation families that lived on the sea island. Because the island was occupied by Union troops during the Civil War, the plantation families abandoned their homes and the church was used by the abandoned slaves of the island. It was used by Northerners who came south to educate and train freemen. It was also used as a sanctuary by Methodist freemen as early as 1868. A forest fire destroyed the structure in 1886 and it was left in disrepair.

Fripp Tomb at St. Helena Chapel of Ease.

The church ruins are surrounded by ancient oaks, dripping in Spanish moss. It also has a cemetery, containing a tomb containing Fripp family members. This is a great spot to take pictures and reflect on the splendor of this historic site. The SC Picture Project has a great ARTICLE about the chapel of ease ruins with many beautiful pictures.

Fort Fremont Historical Preserve

Standing sentry at the end of Lands End Road is the Fort Fremont Historical Park. Built in 1889, this fort was one of six fortifications designed to protect the coast during the Spanish American War. Long abandoned, the site now sits in beautiful ruins. Surrounded by live oaks, the fort looks out over Port Royal Sound with 900 feet of beach access.

One of the spots where a breech-loaded disappearing cannon was positioned.

Visible now are the recessed spots where disappearing cannons were positioned. Fort Fremont was officially deactivated in 1912 when the Port Royal Naval Station moved from Parris Island to Charleston. The property went into private hands for several years. While the hospital was transformed into a hunting and fishing lodge, the fort fell into disrepair. They were both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2004 the fort and 15 acres were purchased transform the ruins into a public park.

The ancient walls of Fort Fremont.

Visitors can roam through the preserve and view the fort from all angles. According to the Fort Fremont Historical Preserve, “Ft. Fremont serves as a historical remnant of military defense technology at the dawn of the 20th century as the U.S. became a major world power.”

Staircase leading to the top of the fort.

Fort Fremont is open for touring during daylight hours. You can also access and walk along the beach through the fort property. The full history of Fort Fremont can be found HERE.

Read More

Lake Warren State Park

Lake Warren fishing pier.

Lake Warren State Park is located just outside Hampton. The park provides many opportunities for outdoor recreation. A wide variety of wildlife can be found in the floodplain forest, wetlands and woodlands of the park. While walking in the park look for deer, armadillo, turtles, raccoons, squirrels… Be on the lookout for alligators, snakes and birds along the shores of the lake.

Photo Credit: South Carolina Parks Website.

 The 200-acre lake is perfect for freshwater fishing and boating. The park also has a 2-acre fishing pond. There are two boat ramps that provide access to the lake. Motors are limited to 10-horsepower. Jon boats are also available for rent.

There are many spots to fish or view wildlife.

If you enjoy hiking, the park has three nature trails. Trail locations can be found on the park MAP. The Nature Trail is a 1.25-mile loop that travels through the woods and ends at the fishing pond. Interpretive signs are placed along this trail to increase your knowledge of local wildlife. The Fit Trail has 10 exercise stations. This .0-mile loop is located among the wildlife in a mixed pine forest. The Yemassee Trail skirts along the bank of Lake Warren. Watch for birds and other wildlife including snakes and alligators.

Photo credit: South Carolina Parks Website

Pets are welcome at the park. The trails are a great place to walk your dog. Dogs must always be kept under physical restraint or on a leash.

The park also has picnic shelters and a playground. It’s a great place to spend a sunny day. If you’re looking to fish, hike, play or relax, Lake Warren State Park is the perfect destination for you.

Photo credit: Zadok Moss

For more information visit their WEBSITE or view their BROCHURE.

Lake Warren State Park
1079 Lake Warren Road
Hampton, SC


Read More

Fripp Island

A Dog-Friendly Week in Paradise!

If you are looking for a dog-friendly beach adventure that aims to please, look to Fripp Island. This easternmost barrier island in South Carolina is located at the end of Highway 21 in Beaufort County. Just a stone’s throw from Hunting Island State Park, Fripp provides private island vacationing (and living) at its finest. Amenities abound and nature delights. If your furry friend is a part of your vacation plans, this is the destination for you.

Vacation rentals range from tennis villas and golf cottages to beachfront homes. My party included two and a dog, so the tennis villas were perfect for us. Positioned between the canal and the courts, with the Beach Club across the street, everything we needed was in sight.

The best way to move around Fripp is by golf cart. Check when picking a rental to see if you have a golf cart and amenities cards included. If not, you can rent one at Island Excursions (located at the marina). Bikes and scooters are also available. Most beach access points have golf cart parking. You simply load your beach supplies and cooler onto your cart and head out for a day on the ocean.

Unpack, pick up your golf cart and head to the beach. If taking your dog, you might want to start off at a more isolated beach. Follow Tarpon Blvd (the main road) to the end to find the perfect spot to introduce your furry friend to the ocean. This beach overlooks Pritchard’s Island which is only accessible by boat. Kayak trips across are a fun way to explore this island. Keep in mind, the sand gets very hot, so limit dog access to the beach to morning and evening excursions.

Another thing to consider is introducing your dog to the presence of deer. They are everywhere! They roam the island freely and have grown accustomed to visitors. Keep in mind, they are wild animals and should not be fed or bothered. To round out the end of the day, have a drink and enjoy the music at the Sandbar (located at the Beach Club).

If your trip includes amenities cards, you can enjoy the restaurants and pools at the Marina, Beach Club and Cabana Club. The restaurant at the Cabana Club offers great fish tacos and pina coladas. The Bonito Boathouse is a great choice for dinner.  The staff is pleasant, the views are breath-taking, and the food is very tasty.

Resort amenities offer a an unmatched variety of sports and leisure activities on Fripp. Amenities include: activity center and programs, pools, racquet club, dining & restaurants, shopping, island excursions, marina and Camp Fripp. For the golfers, you have two spectacular courses to chose from. There are also fun things to do in the Beaufort area. Click HERE for more ideas.

Fripp features 3.5 miles of spectacular, uncrowded white sandy beaches flanked by towering Palmetto trees, just waiting for you to enjoy. Check out the FRIPP ISLAND MAP to find great access points to the beautiful beach. All beach access points are numbered, so if you plan on an evening stroll on the beach, pay attention to your access point number so you can find your way back at the end of the walk.

The island is covered in miles of walking trails along the roadways and through the forest and marsh.  Designated as a wildlife sanctuary, Fripp hosts many species of birds, along with wildlife including deer, turtles, alligators and raccoons. There is an Audubon Trail located on Porpoise Drive. The trail goes through the maritime forest and ends at the marsh of the Fripp Inlet. Educational signs and benches are placed along the trail.

For a relaxing and fun beach week, consider planning a trip to Fripp Island. For more information click on the following websites: FRIPPISLANDRESORT.COM or FRIPPISLANDLIVING.COM.

Read More

Experience a Driving Detour Through Yemassee

Step back in time to visit the historic wonders of this small town.

Old Sheldon Church Road is just past the turn to Beaufort on SC Hwy. 17.

Many travelers enjoy driving Highway 17, between Charleston and Savannah. The naturally beautiful landscape of Yemassee is located between the two cities. A simple turn off Hwy 17 onto Old Sheldon Church Road is like stepping back in time. Travel up the road for about two miles and see the church ruins on the right. Parking is located across the street. This church was burned during the Revolutionary War, rebuilt and then destroyed again during the Civil War. There is a debate as to whether the church was burned or disassembled during the Civil War.

Old Sheldon Church Ruins stand proud.

The following is from an article in the April 1969 Sandlapper Magazine by Charles E. Thomas, “The Picturesque Ruins of Old Sheldon Church”. “The official South Carolina report on the ‘Destruction of Churches and Church Property,’ after the War Between the States, described Sheldon’s second burning: All that was combustible was consumed…, its massive walls survive the last as they did the former conflagration, Bishop Thomas wrote, Exactly as it happened a hundred years before in 1779, when General Prevost, marching from Savannah into South Carolina burned the Church, so now in February 1865, General Sherman marching from Georgia into South Carolina, burned it a second time.”

However, another account found more recently states that the church was not burnt at all.

Old Sheldon Church interior

In a letter dated February 3, 1866, Beaufort’s Miton Leverett wrote, “Sheldon Church not burnt. Just torn up in the inside but can be repaired.” The inside of the church was apparently gutted to reuse materials in rebuilding the area homes that were burnt by Sherman’s army.

After visiting the ruins, continue up Old Sheldon Church Road and head into Yemassee.  Cross the railroad tracks and keep left. Cross Hwy 17A and turn left onto Hwy 68. Head out of town and to the other side of I-95. Take a left at Davidson Tower Road and another left at the end onto Pocotaligo Road. Travel about two miles to find two more hidden gems.                       

Sheldon Chapel Episcopal

Sheldon Chapel Episcopal, formerly of Prince William Parish sits proudly on the left at 25481 Pocotaligo Road. Dated to 1745, the church was dismantled and used to build bridges by Gen. Sherman during the Civil War then rebuilt in 1898.

Forrest Gump’s Stoney Creek Chapel

If you turn left directly after the church, you will come upon another historic structure. Fans of the movie Forest Gump will recognize this church. Forrest went to church here to pray that he and Lieutenant Dan would find shrimp. Built in 1833 this chapel was used for seasonal worship. It is the only pre-Civil War structure in this area. During the war the chapel was used as a hospital and campsite by Union troops.

Retrace your path and come back to Old Sheldon Road. Turn right onto Cotton Hall. This will lead you back to highway 17 and past the gates and oak avenues of two beautiful plantations. While the homes aren’t visible to passersby, the entrances are photo worthy.

Driveway on Cotton Hall Road

A drive into Yemassee is a fun way to add a historical detour into your drive down Highway 17. We hope you enjoy the scenery. For more interesting pitstops in the South Carolina Lowcountry visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/category/blog/.

Another driveway on Cotton Hall Road
Read More

Spending the Day in Old Town Bluffton

Heyward House

A drive to Old Town Bluffton is always a good idea. The historic architecture and river views are spectacular. There is also a hidden gem worked into the landscape. Today’s outing started at the Heyward House, located at 70 Boundary St. This property has been in Bluffton since 1841. The house serves as Bluffton’s official Welcome Center and museum. The house is decorated in period furnishings and is complete with artifacts that tell the story of Bluffton, and the people that once lived there. There are also outbuildings located behind the house that represent a cook house and slave quarters.

For more information on the Heyward House  https://www.heywardhouse.org/ .

Church of the Cross

Another historic treasure is located just a few streets away at 110 Calhoun Street. The Church of the Cross has stood on the bluff of the May River since 1854.  This Gothic structure celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2004.

Additional history on the church can be found here  http://www.thechurchofthecross.net/history

Campbell AME Church

The oldest church in Old Town Bluffton dates to 1853. The Bluffton Methodist Church building was purchased by nine former slaves in 1874. Campbell Chapel AME Church was formed by these visionary founding fathers. While the structure has been altered and renovated over the years, the original structure still stands strong and proud.

For more information https://www.campbellchapelame.com/our-sanctuary/

Bluffton Oyster Company

The Bluffton Oyster Company has been a part of Old Town Bluffton since 1899. It sits on is reclaimed land at the end of Warf Street. This land built up by more than a hundred years’ worth of discarded shells. Situated directly adjacent is the Oyster Factory Park. The park has a nature trail which is unique for the Old Town area. There is also a firepit area, a playground and plenty of picnic spots. Restrooms are conveniently located here also. 

For more information http://blufftonoyster.com/

Garvin-Garvey House

The Garvin-Garvey Freeman’s Cottage is located inside the park. This historically significant house has recently undergone extensive renovations. It is believed that former slave Cyrus Garvin built the house on the property of his former owner.

Views of the May River are spectacular from the front porch. Tours are available through the Heyward House.

To see photos of the rehabilitation click https://www.townofbluffton.sc.gov/garvin-garvey/rehabilitation-gallery

Pritchard Pocket Garden

Another fun stop in Old Town is the Pritchard Pocket Garden. Located where the street meets the river, this little hidden gem was worth the trouble of finding it. Parking is along the road. Entrance is through a small gate and down a short path. Benches are set up on the bluff that overlooks the May River. It is a calm and relaxing spot to breath in the SC Lowcountry at its finest, and a great way to end the day exploring Old Town Bluffton.

Pritchard Pocket Garden view

There are many other fun and interesting attractions in Old Town Bluffton. For more information visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/bluffton-day-trips/.

Read More

Colleton County’s Donnelley Wildlife Management Area

     Donnelley is a favorite spot for tourists and locals alike. It is located on Hwy 17 in Green Pond (between Yemassee and Jacksonboro) in the heart of the ACE Basin. Open from dawn to dusk, this is a great place to glimpse Lowcountry nature at its finest. The property features a historic rice field system, which is now managed to attract waterfowl and migratory birds. The drive is pleasantly lined with beautiful old live oaks.

Donnelley has walking trails and a driving tour. Navigating is best done using a map. Pick one up at the office or download one HERE. This map gives great details of all aspects of the property. The map also shows the locations of restrooms.

Wood Stork. Photo Credit: Ira Runyan

The first trail takes you to a dike across an old rice field reserve. This is a great spot to see endangered Wood Storks. Driving further in, you cross an ancient rice field dike that was constructed in the 18th century. The Boynton Nature Trail is next. This 2.2-mile walking trail circles another part of the old rice field complex. All types of waterfowl can be viewed here and throughout the property.

Driving further onto the property brings you to the historic rice trunk, which features floodgates that can be raised or lowered to control water levels in the rice fields.

Look for alligators. They can be found sunning on the banks or floating lazily by in the water.

Further onto the property brings you to fields and meadows, where several types of birds and mammals can be found.

An alligators basks in the sun.

The driving tour covers about 11 miles and should take from an hour to half a day, depending on how many stops you make. The marked stops on the map serve simply as suggestions; feel free to stop anywhere along the way (although please park on the shoulder) and walk off the road at any point to get a closer look at wildlife or native plants. Take extra precautions when viewing alligators, especially during the spring mating season.



Donnelley Wildlife Management Area
585 Donnelley Dr.
Green Pond, SC
TRAILMAP

For more information visit the DNR website HERE.


Read More

Touring Pinckney Island

Pinckney Island Wildlife Management Area
by Carmen Pinckney

The view at high tide.


This 4,053-acre national refuge consists of salt marsh and tidal creeks, forests, grasslands, and freshwater ponds. In combination, these habitats support a diversity of wildlife species.

All trips begin and end at the parking area half a mile from the refuge entrance. Touring this beautiful island is fun on foot or by bicycle. There are over 14 miles of trails to enjoy. Coastal Discovery Museum offers walking tours of Pinckney Island, enlisting the expertise of an experienced bird watcher.

Wildlife biologist and Pinckney descendant Charles Pinckney .

For this this trip I took bicycles and my wildlife biologist husband, who happens to be a descendant of the Pinckney family. With his extensive knowledge of the area flora and fauna, we never know what we’re going to find.

Pinckney Island is named for Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, a South Carolina founding father and previous owner of the island. The island, a once prosperous sea island cotton plantation, was donated to the United States in 1975 to be used as a wildlife refuge and a nature and forest preserve.

The main gravel roads are very bicycle friendly.

Pinckney Island is a great place to view, study, and photograph wildlife. The views are breath-taking. Bring lunch and picnic on the shores. Maps are available in the parking lot. I highly recommend taking one on your hike so you can judge distances and where paths connect and intersect.

The main gravel roads are very bicycle friendly. The grassy trails are a little more challenging, but well worth it.

There are many ponds and marshy areas along the way to stop and look for wildlife. Look for egrets and alligators to make an appearance. There is also a butterfly garden for your enjoyment.

Nature is at its finest on Pinckney Island.

Keep in mind, while hiking or biking there are no bathroom facilities. Also, visitors must also bring their own drinking water. Furry friends are not allowed on the island. Antique and artifact hunting is not allowed.

Pinckney Island is located on Hwy 278, between Bluffton & Hilton Head Island

Guided tours are available through the Coastal Discovery Museum
(843)689-6767, ext. 223.

TRAILMAP

Read More