(Lancaster County). Forty-Acre Rock harbors one of the most diverse plant habitats in the Piedmont of South Carolina. Actually a fourteen-acre slab of granite (called a monadnock by geologists), the exposed rock was once a magma flow far beneath the earth that cooled and hardened and was revealed only through millennia of erosion. The popular destination is protected under the state’s Heritage Trust Program and, with its surrounding area along nearby Flat Creek, offers 1,587 acres of preserve for the benefits of wildlife—both plant and animal—and visitors. The area is registered as a National Natural Landmark.
Nearly a dozen rare, threatened, or endangered species are protected at Forty-Acre Rock, most notably the endangered pool sprite, which flourishes in vernal pools on the rock’s surface during early spring months. The tiny pool sprite is one of the most endangered plants in the world and, along with the other plant communities on and around the rock, should be left undisturbed. Lichens, mosses, and some scrubby eastern red cedars also populate the rock face.
Visitors to the rock can enjoy both the expanse of the rock face and the trails winding through distinct habitat types, including a waterfall and cave, additional granite outcroppings, a beaver pond, and upland hardwood and pine forests, where each season brings a different floral display.
Foster, Caroline. “Field Trip: Forty-Acre Rock.” South Carolina Wildlife 45 (March–April 1998): 44–47.
Jerman, Patricia L. The South Carolina Nature Viewing Guide. Columbia: South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, 1998.