Ash Brook Reservation is one of 36 Union County parks that encompass 6,200 acres. This park is located in Scotch Plains, NJ and includes the following features.
- Hiking Trail
Historically significant Ash Brook Reservation is located on the Battle of Short Hills Historic Trail. The trail can be accessed from the UC Tech parking lot next to the Police Academy.
Ash Brook Reservation – North Trail Blog – gonehikin.blogspot.com/2017/05/ash-brook-reservation-north-trail.html
NJ dot Com article about volunteers helping to keep the trail usable. – www.nj.com/suburbannews/2016/11/volunteers_work_at_ash_brook_r.html
Ash Brook swamp, part of Union County’s Ash Brook Reservation, was but one of many locations where British and Colonial forces fought on a brutally hot June 26, 1777. This running battle dragged on over 12 miles, stretching from Metuchen to a pass through the Watchung Mountains that came to be called “Bloody Gap.”
The British hoped that if they feigned a departure from New Jersey, they would lure the Continental Forces down from the Watchung Mountains, defeat them, and finally end the Revolutionary War. The plan didn’t succeed, even though Washington’s troops of less than 6,000 were vastly outnumbered by a combined British and Hessian force numbering about 12,000.
After the initial confrontation in Metuchen, the Colonial militia dropped back across what is now Edison and Scotch Plains, and then retreated through the swamp in an effort to slow the British by causing their cannons to get bogged down in the soft earth. (Although portions of the swamp were drained decades ago, it is one of few locations along the battle route never fully developed.) From the swamp, the retreat continued north to the safety of the Watchung Mountains through a pass near Seeley’s Pond.
• A nature trail leads into the swamp, allowing hikers to see firsthand the conditions that troops faced. Some wet areas remain, giving visitors a sense of why American troops lured the British through this area to slow their advance. The trailhead is at the rear of UCVTS. For more information about the trail: www.ucnj.org/trails