Judge and Mrs. Benjamin Dintenfass were WVWA’s first nature preserve benefactors, donating 17.5 acres of land on both sides of the Wissahickon Creek in 1962. This wooded land is located in Whitpain Township and is adjacent to Penllyn Woods, a seventy-seven acre community park that the community protected from development in 1994.
Moses and Susan Feldman donated additional acreage bringing the total to 19.59 acres. In 2000, WVWA augmented this preserve with the addition of 5.8 acres on the northern end of the Penllyn Natural Area.
Penllyn Natural Area is made up of 25.6 acres of varied, mostly wooded and riparian habitat, inundated with pockets of vernal ponds and wetland pools. The Wissahickon Creek flows through the preserve, and is joined by Willow Run and two unnamed tributaries. It is part of the Wissahickon’s floodplain, and red maples, box-elders, sycamores, silver maples, pin oaks, and American elm constitute the preserve’s canopy, while skunk-cabbage and sedges denote the wetter areas. In the spring, vernal pools dot the landscape’s lower elevations while acting as breeding grounds for a variety of species.
Two-lined salamanders, pickerel frogs, and Eastern garter snakes love the varied environments of this preserve. Common snapping turtles have been seen resting in the deeper parts of the Wissahickon Creek.
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Access: Entrance is on Lantern Lane, off Penllyn Pike.
Size: 19 acres
Parking: Park on shoulder of Penllyn Pike, walk up Lantern Lane to Preserve entrance.
Habitat: Woodland. Spring wildflowers are abundant.
Trails: There is a 0.6 mile loop trail on the western part of the Natural Area. What is not as well known is that WVWA also has the east side of the Creek, where a 0.4 mile section of the Green Ribbon Trail winds its way north to Penllyn Woods Park. The Green Ribbon Trail continues, uninterrupted by water or roads, all the way upstream to Plymouth Road.
Amenities: Interpretive signs, resting bench.
Dogs must be kept on leashes.