A Walk Through Saddler’s Woods


It’s Photo Friday!

Just a few miles from Philadelphia and Camden, nestled within South Jersey is 25 acre urban forest containing a remnant of an old growth forest called Saddler’s Woods.

Joshua Saddler was a fugitive slave that found his way to New Jersey. After securing his freedom with the help of a local Quaker farmer, he bought this land and built his home. Other African-Americans came and built homes around the land that became Saddlertown.

After his death in 1880, Saddler’s will stipulated that none of his heirs could cut the timber on the property. This stood for 90 years until the 1970’s, when the woods were slated for sale and development. After a high school student did an ecological study of the area, the current owner changed his mind and spared the woods. Two other attempts in the 80’s and 90’s were made to develop the land. Both times, opposition to the development won to preserve the area.

In 2002, experts determined that many of the trees were 100 to 400 years old and that the surrounding younger forest provides a protection buffer to the older ecosystem. In 2003, the township adopted a conservation easement preserving the land in perpetuity.

These photos are from our various walks though the woods this spring. All photos by my husband, buzz.

Saddler's Run is the spring head of of Newton's Creek, a tributary of the Delaware River.

Saddler’s Run is the spring head of Newton’s Creek, a tributary of the Delaware River.

Tulip Poplar

One of the younger Tulip Poplars in early March. The oldest poplar is over 200  years.

Fallen Tree

Fallen trees are left in place to return to the earth

Our state flower, the Common Violet blooms in early spring.

New Jersey state flower, the Common Blue Violet blooms in April.

Details of bark

Gnarly old tree textures.

Mushrooms on wood

Mushrooms sprouting from the rich forest floor in May.

Since I have limited walking ability, this is a great place to take a nice stroll without too much time and energy commitment. The soft trails are so much easier than walking on pavement. We try to get there about once a month to see the developing seasons. We’re planning to go this weekend. Maybe there will be cicadas!

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Elaine on June 15, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Very nice! Love Buzz’s pictures, as always.

    Reply

  2. Posted by meower on June 15, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I love this post! How come we never went there with you guys???

    Reply

  3. Posted by Dana on June 15, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Thank you for this post! I have put this on my list of places to visit. Soon!!!

    Reply

  4. Posted by bhd on June 15, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    You’ll have to take me there next time I’m in New Joy Sea.

    Reply

  5. What beautiful photos! This is te type of place I love to visit!

    Reply

  6. I live about 2 blocks from Saddler Woods. I remember in the 80’s when kids would ride their bikes/4 wheelers in there or we would just walk the trails. I am glad it is taken care of the way it is now.

    Reply

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