Wilderness Preserve

Bramhall Wilderness Preserve is an exceptional forest nearing old-growth status in Bridgewater, Vermont. The towering hemlocks and hardwoods shelter cool, clear headwater streams of the Ottauquechee River, which provide habitat to native brook trout.

This 359-acre mature forest is located within an intact, forested core of Vermont’s Southern Green Mountains. It offers excellent habitat for moose, bobcat, black bear, songbirds, wildflowers, and brook trout.

This Preserve protects:

  • 1.74 miles of river/brook frontage, including picturesque Bridgewater Hollow Brook with cascades and waterfalls
  • The lower half of Bridgewater Hollow, a regionally significant landscape
  • Core wilderness habitat to the 50,000-acre Chateauguay forest block
  • Mature forest ranging in age from 75-100 years, well on its way to old-growth status
  • Pristine brook trout habitat and a red spruce-cinnamon fern swamp – a State Significant Natural Community
  • Land within the Ottauquechee River Conservation Focus Area

I believe we can never truly own land, we can live on it. We can be the caretakers and stewards of the land.

Paedra Bramhall

The Bramhall Wilderness Preserve is a mix of upland and riparian forest types that captures a significant portion of Bridgewater Hollow in Bridgewater, Vermont. It is situated in a >50,000-acre forest block that includes the Green Mountain National Forest, the Les Newell Wildlife Management Area of the VT Agency of Natural Resources, Vermont Land Trust easement lands, and the Appalachian Trail corridor of the National Park Service. The land lies within the Ottauquechee River Conservation Focus Area of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge as proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2016.

There are over 3,000 acres of permanently protected lands within a two mile radius of the Bramhall parcel. Core Forest and Connecting Forest zones intersect on the property, which has above-average rankings in climate resiliency, landscape diversity, and local connectedness.

While the property has a forest of impressive age and complexity, it is the Bramhall Preserve’s water features that rank among its most ecologically important attributes. There are extensive riparian habitats arrayed in a mosaic of ravine, valley bottom, gorge, and river-confluence features, with a total of 1.74 miles of river/brook features between the North Branch of the Ottauquechee River and two smaller tributaries.

There are about 88 acres of riparian buffer zones on the property. This dense and undisturbed forest helps to provide cool, clean water to the ecosystem. These streams also provide habitat for brook trout, a species highly threatened by climate change.

In this place defined by its rugged topography, diverse mosaic of forest types, and clear streams, forever-wild protection is allowing this mature forest to return to old growth, and ensures that the streams and rivers remain clean and clear into the future.

Bramhall Wilderness Preserve is open to quiet, on-foot recreation like hiking, nature study and photography, birdwatching, dipping in the river, fishing, and hunting by permission. If you are interested in hunting permission for Bramhall Wilderness Preserve, please visit our Hunting Program page.

Forest and brook by David Middleton | Winter waterfall by Zack Porter | Newts in vernal pool ©Susan C. Morse | Summer waterfall by Shelby Perry | Mature forest by Daryl Burtnett