Trail Guides
Chestnut Branch Park

401 Main Street/CR 553 Alternate, Mantua, NJ
Phone: (856) 415-9999

OWNER:  Township of Mantua

DIRECTIONS:  From Hayes Avenue, turn Right on Mantua Ave/ Route 632. After 0.6 miles turn slight Left onto Norris Avenue, and then Left onto Main Street. After 1.3 miles turn Left into the entrance for Chestnut Branch Park.

DIRECTIONS FROM NEAREST HIGHWAY:  From the intersection of Route 553 Alternate/Main Street and Route 45 in Mantua, travel South 1.5 miles. The park entrance is on the Left. An illuminated sign marks the entrance on Main Street.   Map

ACCESS AND PARKING:  Open daily from dawn to 10 p.m. with ample parking

NEAREST PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION:  New Jersey Transit Bus Lines No. 412 Sewell/Glassboro/Philadelphia stops at Main Street & Mantua Boulevard. Walk a short distance on Main Street. New Jersey Transit Bus Lines No. 410 Bridgeton/Philadelphia stops at Route 45 & 1st Avenue. Walk a short distance on Main Street. Turn Right on Bridgeton Pike and walk 1 block on Bridgeton Pike. Walk straight on Broadway a short distance. Turn Right on Cove Road and walk a short distance. Walking distance is less than 1 mile.

SPECIAL FEATURES:  Follow the path to the right from the parking lot to get to the Butterfly Garden. The best time for viewing is mid day in the summer. Continue on the path and you arrive at the 9/11 Memorial Place of Reflection with benches within a landscaped grove.

A CLOSER LOOK:  Follow the dirt road trail at the back of the fields to newly acquired part of the park. Go Right when the trail approaches the field. The trail leads across the field to the tree line and into an upland forest area, a beautiful grove of mature poplars and oaks on a hill.

ChipmunkMarvin Hyett
SITE DESCRIPTION:  Named for the Chestnut Branch of the Mantua Creek, Chestnut Branch Park is more than 109 acres and includes athletic fields and facilities and two wooded areas of rolling hills with scenic trails and diverse wildlife. Along the edge of the fields, there are some wetlands that attract grassland birds as well as woodland species. A paved path circles the athletic fields, and bicyclists and walkers make use of this pathway. A dirt trail decends a hill through an upland hardwood area and some marshy swamps. Another trail leads to a more recently acquired part of the park with a large grassland and a hilly mature forest.

DON'T MISS:  The upland forest beyond the old farm field has a beautiful hillside grove of mature poplars and oaks.

Winter:  Either of the woodland trails allows for quiet winter solitude as the trails are often nestled between ridges or in low wetlands. Owls nest in the area and can be heard in the evenings. Wintering birds such as Northern Cardinal and Downy Woodpecker are easily spotted within the bare trees. Sledding is popular when snow is present. Purplish green stalks of skunk cabbage are already emerging in late February.
Spring:  Grassland birds feed on the lawns and along the wooded borders. Killdeer nest in open areas in the field, and Indigo Buntings sing along edges. Frogs and toads can be heard near the wetland areas in the early evenings. The woodland trails have a nice blooming wildflower population including violets, woodland anemone, jack-in-the-pulpit, mayapple and pink lady’s slipper.
Summer:  The butterfly garden attracts several species of butterflies, which are best viewed at mid day. A good population of woodland birds is present on the trails, including raucus Gray Catbird, Ovenbird and Wood Thrush.The mammal population is more active and viewable. Highbush blueberry, mountain laurel, and pink azalea bloom in the understory, among other shrubs. A nice variety of ferns can be found in the lowlands.
Fall:  Autumn migrants stop in the wooded areas on their journeys South. Raptors hunt over the open fields and perch on snags along the wooden borders. Mornings are a good time to see red-winged blackbirds, White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows feeding along the edge habitat around the athletic fields. The hardwoods exhibit colorful autumn leaf displays.

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