A Walk Through the Welwyn Preserve: A Photo Tour

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The Welwyn Preserve is a 204 acre estate that was once home to Harold Irving Pratt, an oil industrialist, and his wife that lies on the Gold Coast of Long Island in Glen Cove, NY.

Today visitors can walk the grounds of the preserve along the 2.4 mile loop trail, following the cobblestone paths through the estate, across small bridges and streams, and down to the once private beach of the estate on the Long Island sound.

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Getting There

Address:

100 Crescent Beach Rd
Glen Cove, New York
United States

The best way to reach the Welwyn Preserve is by car. There is a large parking area with free parking.

If you prefer you can arrive to nearby stations via train or bus. Be sure to check transit schedules to see when and where the bus/train will arrive. Bus lines N21 and N27 stop near the preserve.

The History

The Welwyn home was built in 1906 for Harold Irving Pratt and his wife. The landscaping of the estate was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The couple lived in the home until both had passed in 1939 and 1969. After their passing the home was left to Nassau County and was left to the elements.

In the 1990’s the cement basements below the greenhouses were used as a training site for the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department. In 1993 Boris Chartan, a holocaust survivor, turned the home into a Holocaust museum. The main home still houses the Holocaust museum, which is open to visitors. The rest of the estate lies in ruin and visitors are free to wander the grounds.

Activities

The Welwyn Preserve is more than just a walk through the woods and some old, decaying ruins. The Welwyn Preserve is a great spot for those looking to do some bird watching, wildlife viewing, fishing, hiking through a wooded area, visit the Holocaust Museum, walk along the beach, go shell hunting, or fly a kite along the beach.

On our visit we saw many people there fishing and walking the beach with their families.

What to Bring

Depending on when you visit, the grounds may be very overgrown with weeds and plants or be festering with insects. I would suggest bringing these items with you to be sure you are protected:

  • Long pants
  • Strong sneakers or boots
  • Bug Spray
  • A hoodie or sweater
  • A picnic lunch (if you want to sit on the beach and enjoy some lunch)

***Also be aware that once you enter the grounds service is back and forth, so you may not be able to use your phone***

Walking the Grounds

We began our walk at the Holocaust museum. It is a small museum, but is definitely worth the walk through if you are visiting the area. Entrance is free, but they do accept donations.

After visiting the museum, we headed out to the left of the home (if you are facing the front door of the home) down a paved road. There are a couple different trail options you can take near the home. The other option to the right of the main home takes you down the cobblestone path to the greenhouses.

The paved road that we chose to take led us straight down to the private beach. We spent a while walking on the sandy beach, admiring the jettys, and side stepping over the shells that horseshoe crabs left behind.

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One of the jettys along the private beach.
Welwyn Preserve
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The sidewalk along the beach.
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Some overgrown bush along the beach.

When visiting, be sure to pay attention to the signs marking protected areas and refrain from walking through them. You will find them scattered across the beach. This is to protect the wildlife and plants in the area.

The beach was full of horseshoe crabs and shells.

Welwyn Preserve, shell, beach
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A shell sitting on the shore.

Walking East along the beach we came upon the trail that leads back into the woods and to the ruins of the estate. The first thing we came upon was the salt marsh, followed by a small pond, and several small streams.

Once we started on the trail through the woods we also came upon many other forms of wildlife.

Caterpillar, Welwyn Preserve.
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A caterpillar enjoying the wooded trails.
Frog, Welwyn Preserve
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A frog along tone of the small streams.
Welwyn Preserve. pond
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The small pond on the property.

Along the path you will see trees marked with graffiti, leading the way to the abandoned buildings. The Welwyn Preserve is the location of Graffiti art workshops and you will find tons of Graffiti throughout the buildings.

The first thing we came upon was the greenhouses and some adjacent buildings. The greenhouses were overgrown with mostly weeds and some colorful flowers, but at least they still see plants, right?

Welwyn Preserve, flowers
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Some flowers inside one of the greenhouses.
Welwyn Preserve, greenhouse
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A greenhouse.
Welwyn Preserve, greenhouses
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The interior of a greenhouse.

The buildings adjacent to the greenhouses were covered with graffiti. Some of it I would describe as artwork and other sections are just scribble. The area is very colorful and entertaining to look at.

Welwyn Preserve, graffiti.
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The graffiti covered building near the greenhouses.
Entrance to the greenhouse
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An entrance into the greenhouses.
Welwyn Preserve
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Graffiti lining the walls.

After exploring the greenhouses we continued on along the cobblestone path to some more decaying buildings. The rock pictured below is found near the start of the path leading down to the greenhouses and will be one of the first things you see if you choose to go in the opposite direction than us.

Rock marking the path to the greenhouses.
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A rock that marks the entrance to the path leading to the greenhouses.

The start of the path is a nice walk along a cobblestone trail, but soon after the trail starts to become overgrown and will make for a little bit more difficult of a hike (but still very doable even for beginners).

There is a little bit of an incline while going through the woods and back to the main house, but nothing to strenuous.

Welwyn Preserve cobblestone path
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The cobblestone path leading down to the greenhouses.

After coming up the path we came across a few more graffiti covered buildings and log cabin that we were able to walk through and explore.

Graffiti covered building
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A graffiti covered building.
Welwyn Preserve
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A collapsing building.

Some of the buildings were in worse shape than the others, such as the one pictured above.

Log cabin
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A log cabin.

After exploring these buildings we followed the trail back up to the main home.

***The property is an enter at you own risk. When it comes to abandoned buildings there is always a risk and chance of floors collapsing or ceilings falling in. Although the structures seemed to be sound when we visited, there is always a risk. Find some safety tips here!***

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Take a relaxing walk through the woods of the Welwyn Preserve of Long Island while exploring a private beach, small streams, salt marsh, and abandoned ruins.
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6 Comments

  1. A walk around the 2.4 mile loop sounds like a lovely thing to do on a visit to the Welwyn Preserve. I appreciate knowing in advance that long pants are a good idea for a trek. I love the contrast between the dense forest and the wide open beaches. And so much to see along the way. Definitely would watch where I was walking in the abandoned buildings.

  2. It is definitely a nice way to be together as a family but more than that it is good to teach about the wildlife to the youngsters. Your photos are amazing and they give a description of the place itself. Great article.

  3. That’s awesome that they allow visitors to just wander and explore the property! It must have been very grand at is prime 🙂 Such a unique spot to visit!

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