To continue on from my previous little article about the Hawley State Forest (Kenneth M. Dubuque), we will go to the other side of the forest to another of my favorite places, Hallockville Pond, which is right off of Route 8A near the Plainfield/Hawley town line.
The pond once fed an extensive mill site that can be reached off the Mill Site Trail. Park by the big buildings that you will see as you enter. A lot of people think the Hallockville Pond is a private camp because of the camp buildings there. It was once a camp but recently has housed Americorps volunteers and other similar conservation groups.
The Pond is lovely and it is a wonderful place to have a picnic on the lawn or on the dam. It is fun to look down the first sluice way. If you walk back towards the drive behind the small cabin, you will find the beginning of the trail. Remember what I said about seeing myrtle or periwinkle in the woods? It is also an indication there was a house or human activity here.
Very soon you will come to the much older dam which may just look like a stone wall at first but you will see the sluice gate there is actually more than one but the other is much smaller.
As you go down the trail you will see the foundations of the big mill and where the water wheel that turned the gearing for the mill was.
Many old early mills were for cutting timber but some milled grain etc. There is some great stone work here. You will also see an enormous metal drum. Some of the old water wheel mills later converted to steam power and I wonder if this dates from that time period in the late 1800s verses the early 1800s when water wheel power was king.This area is fun to explore, but please use caution and don’t climb around on the stone work; A lot of it is not very stable.
If you continue down the trail (headed down stream), you will come to a lovely wooden bridge. If you look up from the bridge, you can see there was yet another mill site with at least one water wheel between the stone walls.
The mill sites end after this and the trail ahead crosses Route 8A. If you want to keep walking at this point, I suggest that you go back up to the pond and take the lovely pond loop trail.