Hainesport and Westhampton townships (Burlington County)

1,100 acres


Take NJ 38 west to Mount Holly. Go 3.8 miles and turn right onto the Mount Holly Bypass, indicated by signs to County Route 541, Burlington, the Burlington Bristol Bridge, and the NJ Turnpike. Travel .5 mile and turn left at the light on Marne Highway, also County Road 537. The first right turn off Marne Highway, only .1 mile ahead, is Deacon Road. Take Deacon Road 1.3 miles to its terminus at a sand road, blocked by two wooden posts, that enters the woods.

From Interstate 295, take Exit 44A and go east on Rancocas Road about 1 1/2 miles to the Rancocas Nature Center entrance situated on the right hand side of the road. A sign clearly marks the entrance.

Mixed Oak and Beech Oak Forest of the South Jersey Mesic Uplands

A very interesting example of the South Jersey Uplands Mixed Oak forest occurs in the upland area of Rancocas State Park. After entering the park, take the first road to the right and along this road the forest has as its tree components: black oak and white oak with a few chestnut oak, red maple, tulip tree, sweetgum and some American holly trees -- the last more typically found in sand dune woodlands and in Mixed Oak forests along the coast. Sprouts of the chestnut tree are abundant and the heaths, particularly blueberry, huckleberry, and laurel form the shrub cover.

(Robichaud Collins and Anderson)

The forest is mostly of oak with a rather sparse understory of sassafras and laurel. The park allowed the public to remove the trees killed by gypsy moths a few years ago, which accounts for the openness of this forest.

North and South branches of Rancocas Creek merge. Great stands of arrowroot and other fresh-water marsh plants. The Rancocas, which empties into the Delaware River, is the only major west-flowing river draining the Pine Barrens. Notice that while the banks of the North Branch are muddy and slick, the banks of the South Branch are of sand. The orange color of the sand is from the iron present in the Pine Barrens, the source of the river.

Also here. Pitch pine forest typical of those in Wharton and Lebanon State forests.

During wet periods you'll have to navigate some huge puddles. Watch your footing for the banks of the sand road contain clay and may be slippery.

Swampy area and occasional wet area. You'll pass a few catalpa trees with their long seed pods and another sand road.

Here a growth of wild rice can be seen from a road that crosses Rancocas Creek just west of Rancocas State Park. The road, runs between Timbucton and Willingboro. Driving west from Timbucton to Willingboro, one passes the entrance to Rancocas State Park, and shortly thereafter the road becomes a four-lane dual highway passing over the NJ Turnpike and Highway 295. The first left after crossing Highway 295 is Bridge Street marked as the road to Centerton. Adjacent to the left side of this road just before the bridge that spans Rancocas Creek is a stand of wild rice. Crossing the bridge and looking back from the other side of the Creek, stands of wild rice can be seen both to the east and west of the bridge.

To observe the wild rice more closely one map park in Rancocas State Park and walk to the Creek. At mid-1972, the park had not yet been developed for recreational use; however, a map of the roads and the site of the natural area in the park has been prepared and may be requested from the NJ Dept of Forests and Parks, Box 1420, Trenton, NJ 08625.


The name Rancocas is from the sub-tribe, Ancocus.

1857  --  "the old Ferris Place" built.  The Rancocas Nature Center is situated on its first floor. Charles Mather and his wife, Naomi McIlvain Mather, were the original owners of this Westampton farmstead that is partially bounded by the Rancocas Creek.

The New Jersey Audubon Society leases the center and surrounding land from the state of New Jersey.


Dr. Patrick L. Cooney and others

June 20, 1993

Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer rubrum var. (trident maple)
Acer saccharinum (silver maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula nigra (river birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Castanea dentata (American chestnut)
Catalpa sp. (catalpa)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Diospyros virginiana (persimmon)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Ilex opaca (American holly)
Juglans cinera (butternut walnut)
Juglans nigra (black walnut)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Larix decidua (European larch)
Liquidambar styraciflua sweetgum)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Magnolia tripetala (umbrella magnolia)
Morus sp. (mulberry)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Pinus nigra (Austrian pine)
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Pinus virginiana (Virginia pine)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus phellos (willow oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Salix sp. (willow)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush)
Cornus amomum * (swamp dogwood)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Itea virginica * (sweetspire)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Lindera benzoin (spice bush)
Lonicera sp. * (honeysuckle)
Mitchella repens * (partridgeberry)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose), waning
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus sp. * (blackberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Humulus lupulus (hops)
Ipomoea pandurata (wild potato vine)?
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax sp. (greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)
Vitis vulpina (frost grape)

Achillea millefolium * (yarrow)
Apocynum cannabinum * (Indian hemp)
Asclepias syriaca * (common milkweed)
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum * (ox-eye daisy)
Cirsium sp. (thistle)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Erigeron annuus * (daisy fleabane)
Galium tinctorium (bedstraw)
Hibiscus moscheutos * (swamp rose mallow)
Hypericum perforatum (common St. Johnswort)
Impatiens capensis (jewelweed)
Iris versicolor * (blue flag)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Osmorhiza claytonii (sweet cicely?)
Pilea pumila (clearweed)
Podophyllum peltatum (mayapple)
Polygonum arifolium (halberd-leaved tearthumb)
Polygonum sp. (smartweed)
Rhexia mariana (meadow beauty)
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Sanicula sp. (sanicle)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Triadenum virginicum (marsh St. Johnswort)
Trifolium repens * (white clover)
Utricularia gibba (bladderwort)

Juncus acuminatus (rush)
Juncus effusus (soft rush)

Rhynchospora capitellata (beakrush)

Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Dactylis glomeratus (orchard grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Phleum pratense * (timothy grass)
Poa pratensis (Kentucky blue grass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)
Zizania aquatica (wild rice)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Leersia oryzoides (rice cut grass)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)