Little Compton

Little Compton is a nice place for a drive — broad views, historic houses, stone walls, a lighthouse, a classic New England town common, etc.

One of the best places to walk in Little Compton is Simmons Mill Pond. It’s so well-maintained that it might be called “curated.” There are signs everywhere, explaining nature and history. The trails are wide since many were once cart roads. There are several ponds (fishing is permitted). If you go in the fall, during hunting season, you should wear orange. The route below is 2.5 miles; it can be extended to the southeast. A description of Simmons can be found in Ken Weber’s Walks and Rambles in Rhode Island, 3rd edition.

A mile or two southeast of Simmons is a refuge called Wilbour Woods. Like Simmons, Wilbour is an oak-holly woodland. This unusual woodland is made possible by Little Compton’s warmer climate, which is caused by its proximity to the sea. But Wilbour isn’t as large and interesting as Simmons; Ken Weber skips Wilbour in his books on RhodeIsland trails.

Near Little Compton’s town center is a NatureConservancy refuge called The Whitehead Preserve at Dundery Brook. This refuge has long boardwalks, small ponds, and lots of holly trees. There are at least two miles of trails, but the trails don’t form a circle, so you’d need to walk on the road to make a circle. Dogs are prohibited. You can park on West Main Road, or on Meetinghouse Lane.

If you park on Meetinghouse Lane, near the tennis courts, you can circle through Little Compton’s charming downtown area. The trail starting at Meetinghouse Lane is a boardwalk. The trail starting at West Main Road has charming ponds, but is often wet — waterproof shoes recommended. Below is a map showing the two parking options.

Below is a map of Lloyd’s Beach, which is in the southwestern corner of Little Compton, near Sakonnet Lighthouse. The beach has a good view of the lighthouse, islands near the lighthouse, and in the distance, Aquidneck Island. The beach has a few patches of sand, but it’s mostly pink-granite outcroppings, which have withstood eons of pounding surf, and masses of small stones, which were doubtless trucked in to prevent erosion. Alongside the pink granite is a dark rock (basalt?), and occasionally a white/grey rock. A spit of sand leads out toward the islands; this spit shrinks at high tide.

I recommend visiting off-season, not summer. I marked two parking options, but these options won’t work in the summer. In the winter, the afternoon sun is behind the lighthouse, making the lighthouse somewhat difficult to see. You may want to visit in the morning, when the sun hits the front of the lighthouse.