30 Water St, Plymouth, MA 02360, USA
Owned By: Town of Plymouth
This pleasant grassy 2.9-acre park in the Plymouth Harbor commercial district features benches, memorials, and bridges over Town Brook. Stop by in the spring to see alewife herring swimming upstream to their spawning grounds.
Across the street, check out Pilgrim Memorial State Park, which features harbor views and the famed Plymouth Rock. Or climb the granite steps to the top of Cole’s Hill, to see additional historic markers and enjoy the spectacular view. Or take a walk on the 1.5-mile Town Brook Trail, which begins at Brewster Gardens, and continues past the Plimoth Grist Mill, through Town Brook Park, Holmes Playground, Billington Street Park, and along a quiet section of the brook to the Town Brook Patuxet Preserve.
Established in 1920 and 1921 as a restoration project to honor the 300th anniversary of the arrival of the English in Plymouth. Named for Elder William Brewster, a Mayflower passenger and Pilgrim to whom a garden plot was granted on site in 1620. Memorials within the park honor Brewster, English Pilgrim women, and Plymouth’s immigrant settlers from 1700-2000.
Prior to European settlement, the Wampanoag established a pathway along Town Brook, known now as the Namassakeeset Trail. When the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth in 1620, they built their homes close to this brook, to make use of its fresh water supply, as well as the grasses in the nearby marshes which they used for livestock feed, roof thatch and insulation.
There was a Patuxet Wampanoag settlement and/or burial ground on Watson’s Hill, on the southeast side of Jenney Pond near today’s Town Brook Park. It was known as Cantaugheantiest, meaning “planted fields.” The Treaty of Cantaugheanta, a verbal agreement, was made by 60 Wampanoag tribe members and 30 Pilgrims in April 1621, and is considered to be the first treaty between Europeans and Native Americans in the New World.
A half-mile, mostly paved walkway extends from the entrance on Water Street, through Brewster Gardens, and alongside Town Brook to the Plimoth Grist Mill and Town Brook Park. It’s a lovely route that bypasses the busy roads nearby.
To continue your walk beyond Town Brook Park, follow the Town Brook Trail. Cross the wooden bridge at the foot of Jenney Pond to Willard Place. Look for the short path that leads to Newfield Street and the Holmes Playground. Continue past the playground, to the left, to find a trail that runs along the edge of Town Brook for another 1/3 mile, past Billington Street Park. This trail was originally part of the Native American pathway known as the Namassakeeset Trail.
In the opposite direction, you can also continue your walk by crossing Water Street and proceeding through Pilgrim Memorial State Park, along the waterfront, to the Plymouth Harbor Jetty. Or climb the stone steps to the top of Cole’s Hill, right next door, and enjoy the spectacular view of the harbor.
Habitats and Wildlife
This is a grassy, manicured, municipal park with Town Brook as its centerpiece. Town Brook finds its source in the 269-acre freshwater pond known as the Billington Sea, and flows for 1.5 miles through several small ponds before emptying into Plymouth Harbor.
Town Brook is home to a herring run on the rebound! Every spring, thousands of alewife herring swim upstream, en route to their spawning grounds in the Billington Sea. In 2003, about 7,000 herring were counted here. In 2016, there were nearly 200,000! This is thanks largely to the removal of five local dams that impeded fish passage.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 2.9 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: On-site parking at Town Brook Park. Parking lots and on-street metered parking are available throughout the Plymouth Harbor commercial area.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash.
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: Yes
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Town Brook