Marie McAden



Learn secrets of the Lowcountry in guided Great Swamp tour

Posted 4/16/2013 1:44:00 PM

Suffering from spring fever? I’ve got just the cure. Enjoy a free guided tour of Walterboro’s Great Swamp Sanctuary, an 800-acre preserve featuring what may be the only braided creek swamp accessible to the public.

Master Gardener Genia Floyd will take guests on a slow-paced, fact-filled walk through the sanctuary from 9 to 11 a.m. April 20. She’ll offer fascinating tidbits of information on the flora and fauna found along the preserve’s nature trail.

The tour will start at the De Treville Road entrance to the sanctuary, located just three minutes from Interstate 95 off the Walterboro Exit 53. Not far from the entrance is a wildflower meadow, butterfly garden and duck pond.

From there, you’ll follow a network of boardwalks and trails that winds through the pristine hardwood forest and black water bottomland leading to the beaver pond, created by the industrious nocturnal rodents who fabricated the dam that created the large watering hole.

Along with beaver, the Great Swamp Sanctuary is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, raccoons, otter, mink, opossum, squirrels, fox, wildcats and wild turkey.

Within the preserve are three creeks that join together to form the headwaters of the Ashepoo River, one of three rivers that make up the ACE Basin — the East Coast’s largest estuarine preserve. Approximately 1.5 miles of Ireland Creek are navigable by canoe or kayak.

The park also features miles of leisure trails for biking and hiking. The most historically significant of these paths follows the Colonial-era Charleston-to-Savannah Stagecoach Road still bearing the cypress remnants of long-fallen bridges. Originally constructed by Indian tribes and later used by colonists, the old Stagecoach Road was instrumental in the development of the coastal region.

The Great Swamp Sanctuary is open from dawn to dusk every day. Admission is free. To learn more about the preserve, click here.