633 Temple St, Duxbury, MA 02332, USA
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. 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. 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.
Prior to European contact, the Mattakeeset band of the Massachuseuk (or Massachusett) Native American tribe lived for thousands of years in the North River watershed. Their village included most of today’s Pembroke and Hanson as well as parts of Duxbury. Meanwhile the Patuxet band of the Wampanoag tribe inhabited the Jones River watershed, and the area now known as Kingston, Plymouth and Duxbury. This property lies within the upper portion of the South River watershed — right between those two territories. It’s possible that both tribes utilized the area.
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 provide another mile of walking trails. Please note that these are working cranberry bogs. Be mindful of private property, and give a wide berth when work is underway. This part of Cedar Crest backs right up to Route 3.
Habitats and Wildlife
There is an abundance of white pine on the property, as well as red and white oak, holly, yellow birch, 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.
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)