January 2014: Ridley Creek State Park

Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

Settlement in this area dates back to the 1600s when villages grew around the mills sprinkled along the creeks and streams. Much of the park’s 2,606 acres were consolidated in the Jefford family - their Hunting Hill mansion, built in 1914 around a 1789 stone farmhouse, now serves as the park office. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania purchased the property in the 1960s - including 35 historic residences - and the park was dedicated in 1972. 

Ridley Creek features 12 miles of hiking on four main trails. The White Trail visits most of the areas of the park and the others intersect this lengthy loop at many points. A 5-mile multi-use loop is shared with bicyclists and joggers. Also, an unmarked trailhead just east of Ridley Creek on Gradyville Road offers one of the longest creekside walks in Delaware County. In addition, a 4.7-mile equestrian trail makes two large loops in the isolated western section of the park. These heavily wooded trails are narrow in many places and you and the dog will be prime targets for hitchhiking ticks. Most of the trails wind through rolling woodland and meadows. You’ll be moving up and down often but only an occasional hardy climb is necessary.  

A handful of historic 18th century structures stand intact within park boundaries and are leased as highly coveted private residences. A group of these stone buildings include a miller’s house, office and library, and several small millworkers’ houses that have been designated as the “Ridley Creek Historic District” on the National Register of Historic Places.

Ridley Creek can be accessed from Route 3, 2.5 miles west of Newtown Square, past the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation. The park may also be entered from Gradyville Road - east from Route 352 or west from Route 252.