633 Temple St, Duxbury, MA 02332, USA
Duxbury Conservation: (781) 934-1100 ext. 5471
Owned By: Town of Duxbury
Over 100 acres of cranberry bogs, woodlands and wetlands, with a 2.2-mile trail network and views of Harlow Brook. Directly adjacent to Whiton Woods.
Acquired by the Town of Duxbury as conservation land in 2015, the property is located on both sides of Temple Street, directly adjacent to Whiton Woods. (Only the eastern portion is open to the public.) It is part of the village of North Duxbury, sometimes known as the Crooked Lane neighborhood, because of the winding road that once connected each of the homes there.
According to Dorothy Wentworth’s Settlement and Growth of Duxbury 1628-1870, settlers – often the sons and grandsons of Duxbury’s original grantees – began to arrive in 1685. Samuel Delano received an early land grant at Temple Hill, between Enterprise and Temple Streets. Isaac Simmons built a home farther north on Temple, just before Laurel Street, and Joseph Peterson’s farm was even farther north.
Additional settlers arrived in North Duxbury around 1700, with a number of 30-acre grants at the intersections of Lincoln, Franklin and Temple Streets. But even though well-established paths led to other parts of Duxbury, settlers in this area tended to be more connected to Marshfield. They attended church there, and also did their milling, and patronized Marshfield’s stores. North Duxbury once petitioned the General Court to be annexed to Marshfield, but the petition failed.
North Duxbury was largely a farming community. While in other parts of town, dams were constructed on brooks to power mills and factories, the village’s primary waterway, Harlow Brook, remained a quiet stream flowing west through lowlands and eventually into the South River. Some of those swamps and shallow ponds produced bog iron ore, which could be raked up and forged into functional metal.
This land is within the region of the Massachuseuk (or Massachusett) Native American tribe.
A large cedar tree marks the entrance trail to both Whiton Woods and Cedar Crest. Follow the wide, red-blazed entrance trail 0.14 miles. If you turn left at the first intersection, you’ll find yourself on the 1.2-mile loop trail through Whiton Woods, marked in blue. Continue a little farther on the entrance trail, and turn right at either of the 2 remaining intersections. Both of these lead into Cedar Crest, where there is another 1.2 mile loop trail around Harlow Brook Pond and a small cranberry bog (also marked in blue). A few shorter trails within the loop provide some variety. Altogether the trails on this property vary. Some are narrower woodland paths. Others are wide cart paths and bog access roads.
Across Temple Street, additional bogs are part of the property, but they are not open to the public. These working cranberry bogs back right up to Route 3. Dogs are prohibited.
Habitats and Wildlife
There is an abundance of white pine on the property, as well as red and white oak, holly, yellow birch, maple, hickory, tupelo and high bush blueberry. Amusingly, there are very few cedars on the property! Look for wetlands such as white cedar and red maple swamps. And of course, the cranberry bogs! This is also a nesting area for turtles. You may see traces of iron in the shallow waters alongside the trail.
Harlow Brook Pond lies at the center of the eastern side of Cedar Crest. Harlow Brook flows through this property and eventually into the South River.
The South River originates deep in Duxbury. Its source is in the Round Pond area, and from there it winds unobtrusively through the woods for several miles. Although one can view it from Route 3, and also from both the South River Bog and the Camp Wing Conservation Area, it remains a narrow and mostly un-navigable stream until just below Veterans Memorial Park. From there it flows through South River Park, behind the playground of South River School, and under the Willow Street and Francis Keville Bridges. Wider at that point, and navigable at most tides, its course winds through the marshes as it runs parallel to Route 139, all the way to Rexhame. From there the river turns northward. It flows for 3 miles between Humarock and the mainland to Fourth Cliff, where it joins the North River at its outlet to the sea.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 117 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Roadside pull-off for 4 vehicles on Temple Street.
Trail Difficulty: Easy, Medium
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Harlow Brook (South River watershed)