Ralph Hamlin Jr Blvd, Abington, MA 02351, USA
Owned By: Town of Abington
Large, recently-renovated (2022) playground adjacent to school properties, with swings, slides, climbing structures, and sections for younger and older children. Rubber and wood chips underfoot. A secluded woodland trail along the Shumatuscacant River leads from the playground to Mount Vernon Cemetery. There is also small fishing pond.
This land is within the region of the Massachuseuk (or Massachusett) Native American tribe. According to Martha Campbell’s Remembering Old Abington, the original town of Abington included today’s Abington and Rockland as well as most of Whitman. in the 1660s, European settlers from Weymouth began establishing homesteads within the town. While the settlers came from Massachusetts Bay Colony, the land was part of Plymouth Colony. All of the 18 original land grants were along the Satucket Path, a trail established by Native Americans that extended from Wessagusset Beach in North Weymouth to Robbins Pond in East Bridgewater.
Campbell also explains how the Native American name for the town was Manamooskeagin, translated from the Algonquin as “great green place of shaking grass.” The Abington town seal incorporates its Algonquian name.
Even though the school and playground on this property are named after Beaver Brook, it’s actually the Shumatuscacant River that flows through the property. Beaver Brook itself is located elsewhere in town!
The playground is situated at the rear of the property, behind the middle school, and across Ralph Hamlin Jr. Blvd. from Beaver Brook Elementary School. There is an additional, smaller playground directly behind the elementary school. Town-owned athletic fields are here as well — football, baseball, softball, plus some asphalt courts.
At the very end of Hamlin Blvd., go straight across the bridge. Trails extend in three directions — to the left, to the right and straight. The trail to the left extends for about 0.2 miles through the woods to the rear of the 61-acre Mount Vernon Cemetery, which is an excellent place to extend your walk. The trail that goes straight leads more quickly to the rear of the cemetery. The trail to the right continues through a quiet forest along the Shumatuscacant River, over some small rolling hills, to a gravel trail near the entrance to the cemetery. This is a lovely walk along a very pretty stretch of the river (approx. 0.3 miles). Don’t miss the concrete bridge and small cemetery plot on a knoll above the river near the end of the trail.
Habitats and Wildlife
The woods here are primarily oak, beech and maple, with some birch and sumac, plus grapevines. Deer have been spotted here. Due to the proximity of the MBTA train tracks, and also the ambient sound of a busy playground, they seem less skittish about noise.
Look beyond the name — it’s actually the Shumatuscacant River that flows through this property, not Beaver Brook. (Beaver Brook is part of the Matfield River watershed. Both streams are part of the Taunton River watershed.)
The Shumatuscacant River flows for 8.8 miles through Abington and Whitman. In Hanson’s Poor Meadow Brook Conservation Area, it joins with Poor Meadow Brook. The stream continues to Robbins Pond in East Bridgewater, where it empties into the Satucket River, part of the Taunton River watershed. The word “Schumatuscacant” has been translated from the Algonquin as “beaver stream with the stepping-over place.” It originally referred to a specific spot on the Satucket Path where the river could be crossed easily. A similar word, “Schumacastcacut,” has been translated as “beaver stream always dependable.”
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 12.5 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Limited on-site parking on Ralph Hamlin Jr. Blvd.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Playground, picnic tables, benches, trash receptacles.
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Shumatuscacant River (Taunton River watershed)