Aiken Gopher Tortoise Heritage Preserve

Aiken Gopher Tortoise Heritage Preserve

Overview

Area name

Aiken Gopher Tortoise Heritage Preserve

Area Location

From Aiken, drive south on US 78 for 12 miles to Windsor. Approximately 0.5 mile beyond the sign for Aiken State Park turn left onto Spring Branch Road (Aiken County S-2-212). Spring Branch becomes Windsor Road and dirt after approximately 1.4 miles. To the south parking area: Continue on Windsor Road for another 2.0 miles and turn right onto Centerwood Road. Drive 1.4 miles and turn left onto Long Cane Road (Just past Spring Branch Church). The parking area will be on your left. To the north parking area: Continue on Windsor Road for another 4.0 miles and turn right onto Oakridge Club Road. Drive 0.9 mile and the parking area is on the left.

Area Map

Access

Hours of Operation: dawn to dusk.

Facilities

Background

Located outside of Windsor in Aiken County, the Aiken Gopher Tortoise HP is actively managed to support the Gopher Tortoise. This is the northernmost population of this declining animal. There are over 16 miles of trails on the property. Much of the preserve is classic Sandhills Pine/Wire Grass habitat and hosts the birds commonly found in such places. Grassland birds such as Painted and Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeaks, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Brown-headed Nuthatch and Red-headed Woodpeckers are also abundant in the correct seasons. Northern Bobwhite and Bachman’s Sparrows can be easily found in the correct seasons. The area also hosts many wildflowers and a diverse butterfly and dragonfly population. On the south end of the property below the Long Cane parking area is a shallow, narrow stream/pond that hosts a stand of American White Cedar. It can be very hot in mid-summer so be prepared with plenty of water.

Key Birds

Resident

Painted Bunting, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Red-headed Woodpecker, Northern Bobwhite, Bachman’s Sparrow.