We are planning to offer guided visits on Saturday, May 14, and May 21, through the Parks Mill Shoals Spiderlily Preserve during the peak bloom period. This spectacular native lily thrives in fast running water in shoaly areas of lower piedmont streams. The Preserve is near the town of Plum Branch, and consists of 15 acres of woodland, a large population of shoal’s spider lilies in Stevens Creek, and a reasonably intact turbine-powered grist mill. This site was protected through the joint efforts of the SC Native Plant Society, Naturaland Trust in Greenville, and the Upper Savannah Land Trust in Greenwood.
About the site:
The creek-bed is home to a large and prosperous population of rocky shoals spiderlily (Hymenocallis coronaria), a 2.5-foot-tall lily with large (4-inch diameter) white flowers that appear in profusion in early May thru mid-June every year, with peak bloom during the middle 2 weeks of May. The shoals spiderlily is the major reason for protecting the site. There is also an active aquatic animal community in the creek, including American gar and other fish species, with an accompanying predator community, including ospreys, herons, kingfishers, raccoons, and river otters.
The mill building and machinery are largely intact but non-functional. In working to restore the mill building, we have uncovered evidence that, in addition to a grain grinding facility, there was a sawmill and a cotton gin on the site. There is a dam and millpond on the neighboring upstream property, with a millrace canal that conveyed water about 200 yards to a penstock and two turbines that generated the torque that operated the mill machinery. We are actively working (and fund-raising) to restore the mill building to a sustainable condition.
This site is protected, and access is available only by appointment, and with a responsible member of the Preserve Protection team present. We ask that you register in advance to visit the site during a morning or afternoon period on May 14 or May 21. We may have to assign you to a time slot to maintain safe social distancing, but we will try to accommodate your wishes. So, save the dates in your calendar!
Questions or concerns, e-mail Bill Stringer at [email protected].
To register, complete and submit the online form below:
Directions and Precautions:
Directions to the site:
- Plum Branch, SC is at the intersection of SC Hwy 28 and SC Hwy 283.
- On your cellphone Map app find Plum Branch, then follow SC 283 eastward to where William Self Rd (S-33-202) joins SC 283 (it is just before you reach Stevens Creek). This is the location of the entrance to the Parks Mill site. Then touch your screen for a couple of seconds at that intersection on the map. That will “drop a pin” on the map at that location, as denoted by the appearance of a key or arrow symbol. When you touch that pin and select Directions, your Map app will navigate you from your location to that pin, with video and audio instructions. If you need them, the GPS coordinates for the entrance are: 33.8533 degrees by -82.2301 degrees
- Do not park in the entrance road, as we need to maintain open access to the Mill and the lilies. There is limited parking at the site in the small grassy area alongside William Self Road (S-33-202). If there is no parking left there, drive to downtown Plum Branch and park in the parking lot between the railroad and the Bracknell’s Store Building. Do not park in front of the Post Office.
- We will have a van shuttling between Plum Branch and the site entrance. Call on the event days to request a shuttle ride to the Site (phone # available at the site entrance on event days). The van will be shuttling as needed (every 30 minutes at peak times).
Precautions: This is a rustic site with limited amenities beyond a bathroom with lavatory and toilet. There will be litter barrels present and littering of the site may discourage future open house opportunities.
- Wear sturdy footwear and consider bringing a hiking stick or walker because the edge of the Creek is a bit rough.
- May is well into the tick (ugh!) season, so wear long pants, and be prepared to cuff your pants into sturdy socks. Wear a cap and treat it with insect repellent. Likewise for your shirt collar and sleeves. And avoid walking in areas of tall vegetation.
- Do not wade into the Creek for two reasons: 1. The rocks are very slick, and we are not responsible for “butt plants” and, 2. The lilies are protected, and we don’t want them to experience human foot traffic. Please ensure any children in your group honor this precaution.
- The mill building is a construction site and will probably be off-limits to exploration.
By registering and attending, each person agrees to complete and sign a waiver of liability agreement upon arrival on the Parks Mill Rocky Shoals Spiderlily Preserve site. (A copy of the form will be emailed to you upon receipt of your registration so you can complete it in advance to bring with you. This will save you time at the site entrance.
Parks Mill Rocky Shoals Spiderlily Preserve Team