by Kezia Bacon, Correspondent
When you go for a walk, do you have a favorite terrain? Do you like to be near the water? Do you prefer to be in the woods? Do you gravitate toward open areas such as meadows and hilltops? Do you prefer manicured trails? This month’s column discusses various types of terrain available to us here on the South Shore, and highlights some favorites. Consider branching out to explore something new!
Also, be sure to keep up with our 2022 Explore South Shore Challenge. Each week, we suggest a different outdoor activity. This month’s themes are all about “Different Landscapes,” including “Explore an Agricultural Landscape,” or a Wetland via Boardwalk, or a Forest Trail, or a Salt Marsh Trail, and “Check Out Some Glacial Erratics!” To help you meet these challenges, every day in November we’ll feature a relevant property on Instagram and Facebook. Post photos from your adventures to Instagram with the hashtag #ExploreSouthShore. Each month we randomly select a winner from the posts to receive a prize package.
Trails with River Views
For multiple views of a river on a single walk, don’t miss Norwell’s Norris Reservation, which features both the North River and Second Herring Brook. Or check out the trails along the Indian Head River, both in Hanover, and in the Tucker Preserve in Pembroke. Get to know the Back River at Osprey Overlook Park in Weymouth. Plus there’s a lot to see along Town Brook Trail in Plymouth.
Trails Through Agricultural Landscapes
Enjoy the open spaces of farmlands while walking at such spots as the Crosbie Family Preserve in Scituate, Donovan-Wildcat Conservation Area in Norwell, and the Lehner Conservation Area in Hingham, plus two locations in Duxbury — O’Neil Farm and Berrybrook Fields. And don’t miss Weir River Farm in Hingham, which in addition to numerous walking trails, offers a monthly Open Barnyard.
Trails with Pond Views
Large ponds offer a certain serenity, plus they attract a variety of wildlife. Enjoy this inviting combination while exploring the trails at Norwell’s Jacobs Pond Conservation Area, or Cohasset’s Pape Reservation. Or consider Triphammer Pond Conservation Area in Hingham, or Kingston’s Stewart/Person Preserve. Beaver Dam Conservation Area in Plymouth features two different ponds (but no beaver dams).
Exploring Freshwater Wetlands
Pembroke is home to one of the region’s most diverse inland natural areas. Explore the freshwater wetlands of the Herring Brook valley at both Willow Brook Farm Preserve and Canoe Club Preserve. Or check out Marshfield’s Hoyt Hall Preserve or North Hill Marsh in Duxbury. Miller Woods in Norwell features a series of boardwalks through captivating woodland swamps.
Pine Forest Trails
We have so many pine forests on the South Shore! Some favorites include the Colby-Phillips Trails in Hanover, the Ellis Estate Trails in Scituate, and Veterans Commemorative Town Forest in Pembroke. In addition, check out Russell & Sawmill Ponds Conservation Area in Plymouth, Carolina Hill Reservation in Marshfield, George Washington Forest in Hingham, and Whiton Woods in Duxbury.
Salt Marsh Trails
Salt marshes line many of our coastal rivers. While they’re easier to explore from the water than from the land, a few local trails offer access as well as spectacular views. Start with Scituate’s Driftway Conservation Park, or stroll through the dunes along the South River, at Rexhame Beach in Marshfield. Weymouth’s Great Esker Park features trails at the edge of the Back River. And the Preble Property in Scituate explores the salt marshes near the North River mouth.
Trails Through Rocky Terrain
In search of rocky terrain? Especially in Cohasset, there’s plenty to enjoy. Great Brewster Woods features a pleasant valley strewn with moss-covered outcroppings. Nearby, Barnes Wildlife Sanctuary has an entirely different (but still rocky) feel. And then there’s Ode’s Den, a boulder-filled section of Whitney & Thayer Woods. Also check out the Hubbell Preserve in Scituate, and Cavern Rock Park in Weymouth.
Trails Through Hardwood Forests
Is your aim to enjoy colorful fall foliage? Look for a forest containing beech, oak, maple or birch trees. Consider the Shingle Mill Brook Trail in Hanover, as well as the Melzar Hatch Preserve… or perhaps Cuffee Hill Conservation Area in Norwell. The Bradford Torrey Bird Sanctuary in Weymouth and Webster’s Wilderness in Marshfield offer pleasant loop trails. Or check out Burns Memorial Park in Hingham.
Trails with Ocean Breezes
There’s nothing quite like a walk on the beach – the sand, the surf, the expansive views and refreshing breezes. But beaches can be difficult to access without a resident parking permit. For variety, consider Ellisville Harbor State Park in Plymouth, with its trail along a ridge above the water. For adventure, check out Bouve Conservation Area in Hingham, which traverses both woodlands and rocky shoreline. Take an easy walk on the Hingham Shipyard Waterfront Walkway. And don’t miss Duxbury’s Powder Point Bridge.
Do you prefer wide open spaces? The South Shore has those as well. Drive to the top of Turkey Hill in Hingham, and enjoy the grassy loop around the summit. Across town, check out More-Brewer Park, with another hilltop loop. Amble around a verdant meadow at Griffin Dairy Farm in Abington, or Bay Farm in Duxbury. And don’t miss the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield.
Some folks prefer their nature more controlled. If manicured parks are what make you happy, your first stop might be World’s End in Hingham. It’s simply wonderful! Other well-maintained locales to consider: Pond Meadow Park in Braintree, Forge Pond Park in Hanover, and — in the winter when it’s open to the public — Widow’s Walk Golf Course in Scituate. Also check out three spots on Weymouth’s Back River: Webb Memorial State Park, Abigail Adams State Park, and the Kibby Property.
Kezia Bacon’s articles appear courtesy of the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, a local non-profit organization devoted to protecting our waters. For membership information and a copy of their latest newsletter, contact NSRWA at (781) 659-8168 or visit www.nsrwa.org. You will also find 25+ years of Kezia’s Nature columns there. Click here for more information about the 2022 Explore South Shore Challenge. This article is Powered by Planet Subaru.