The Ellington Agricultural Center is the home of the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Center and houses an iris garden from the Middle Tennessee Iris Society. It is also where the metro police stable the departments horses. It is looped by 1.6 mile Rogers walk, named for Rogers Clark Caldwell, who once owned the estate that has become the Ag Center. The trail ranges from field and meadow, to forest and streamside. As an added bonus, it isn’t as well known or heavily trafficked as some of Nashville’s other urban escapes like Radnor Lake and the Warner parks.
What Makes It Great
Rogers’ walk around Ellington Ag Center provides a little of many habitats in quick succession, making it not only a great place to exercise, but also a great place to get some nature therapy, and spot a diversity of birds. You can begin with the Iris Garden. A wide green lawn, backed by tree covered hills and sporting a white gazebo surrounded by a multitude of irises of every kind, the garden is at its best when in full bloom in May. Following the trail up a small hill through the woods will bring you out between some log cabins at the Tennessee Agricultural Museum.
You can follow the edge of the parking lot to the right, cross a street, and head down past some concrete restrooms to pick up the trail on the left. It slopes down through more forest, and then along a wide lane which leads through a young forest and across an open field where you will likely see some horses grazing on the hillside. If you look up, you may see red tailed hawks cruising overhead. You will then come to an intersection of roads and trail. The ag connector trail leads up a hill along a fence row, while the main loop continues across the road to the right, plunging back into the trees, and following the babbling Seven Mile Creek. Rogers’ walk continues beneath power lines with wildflower meadows below, a great spot to watch for blue birds. The trail runs through more field, forest, and lawn, before returning full circle to the Iris gardens
Who is Going to Love It
With so many unique spots along the way, picnickers and birders both will love this trail. The changing scenery makes for a great walk, and the trails are popular with dog owners, as it’s a good place for them to exercise their furry friends. Since the trails are gently rolling, and usually wide with good footing, it’s a good place to bring kids as well, but for the same reasons, hard core trainers won’t find much challenge here.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Since the trails bisect the campus and circle past several roads, there are many places to park. For first time visitors, the Iris Garden is easy to find, and makes a good starting point.
Take Nolensville Road south. Just past the Harding Road intersection, turn Right on Edmonson Pike. The main entrance to the Ag Center is 1.5 miles on the right. To reach the Iris Garden turn left after entering the main entrance, then follow the road around to the back, where it intersects with Hogan Road, and turn right through the brick gate, then right again. A small gravel lot for the garden is straight ahead.