Sherwood Island State Park covers just over 235 acres in the Greens Farms section of Westport. It is bounded on the west by the Mill Pond and on the east by New Creek. Centuries ago, another creek (Gallup’s Gap Creek) ran roughly down the middle, with an island to its west (Fox Island) and marshland to its east.
The Land and Sea
Although there are few actual rock outcrops, coastal geology is an important aspect of the park’s distinctiveness.
At the end of the Sherwood Point in the Sound, you can see several large boulders that may have been glacially deposited when ice covered Connecticut from 26,000 to 12,000 years ago.
Stroll the beaches and you may notice the sand alternating in colors from tan to red to black. The red layers are comprised of garnet (the CT state mineral) and the black layers contain magnetite. The tan layers are mostly quartz.
There are two large jetties at the park. Near the West Beach is a dark black jetty comprised mainly of basalt, which is a dark, fine-grained igneous rock that forms when lava cools quickly on the surface of the earth. Basalt is common in Connecticut, but these boulders were brought into the park from an alternate location. The jetty near the bay is lighter in color and comprised mainly of schist and gneiss. Schist is a metamorphic rock formed under high temperatures and pressures. The schist boulders in this jetty contain mostly mica and quartz. Like schist, gneiss (pronounced “nice”) is a metamorphic rock that formed at great depth where pressures and temperatures were very high. The gneiss boulders in the jetty have distinct dark and light layers, which are sometimes folded into intricate curves and swirls.
The highest topography in the park is a partially eroded drumlin; an elongated hill comprised of till formed by glacial deposition.
Visible to your left as you arrive at the park is a large, tidally dominated salt marsh. It is home to a variety of birds and vegetation.
Sherwood Island State Park’s diverse ecosystem supports hundreds of species of amphibians, mammals, birds, fish, mollusks, and insects. Some are year-round residents. Some are found at the park seasonally. Some are extremely rare or like to hide while others have overpopulated and almost can’t be avoided.
You can enjoy sharing the park with wildlife year round, but be sure to drop by the Nature Center if you visit during the summer. Our staff of interns can introduce you to some live animals and answer questions about the species that share the island with us. Be sure to check our Events for upcoming nature walks and featured speakers.