709 Country Way, Scituate, MA 02066, USA
Owned By: Town of Scituate
Scituate’s Ellis Estate features an extensive trail network through the woodlands surrounding the historic Bailey-Ellis House and Deke’s Pond. The property boundaries extend eastward behind the Scituate Public Safety Building between Mann Lot Road and Booth Hill Road, to Country Way.
The Bailey-Ellis House was originally called Elm Heights. It was built in 1830 by John Wade Bailey, and named for an American elm tree on the property that was “so large and so tall that Mariners at sea took their positions from it.” Walter Bailey, a descendent of John, and his wife Harrier Kimball Ellis, renamed the house Ellsberg, combining “Ells” for “Ellis,” and “berg” for “hill or mountain” (Latin). The property remained in the Bailey and Ellis families until 1969, when the Ellis family sold it to the town.
The house is now the home base for the Scituate Arts Association. At least two horror movies were filmed here: The House By The Cemetery (1981) and Ghosthouse (1988). The property is managed by the Scituate Conservation Commission.
Along the trails, there are a variety of old stone walls. Most curious are the ones near Trail Junction #2, which are only about 10 feet apart! It is likely that these were used to direct cattle to a nearby spring.
This land is within the region of the Massachusett (or Massachuseuk). To learn more about our local tribes, we encourage you to interact with their members. The Mattakeeset band of the Massachusett, and the Massachusett tribe at Ponkapoag, both share information on their websites.
This property features 2 miles of well-marked, intersecting trails through the woods and around Deke’s Pond. There are additional, unmarked “social trails” on the property as well, which are not officially maintained. The Ellsberg Trail traverses wetlands and has some steep sections. The Seaview Loop is mostly level. The Bailey-Ellis Loop is mostly dry, but also occasionally steep.
Habitats and Wildlife
The property slopes down the side of Booth Hill, which is a glacial formation known as a drumlin. Many of the trails feature glacial erratic boulders, especially along the Bailey-Ellis Loop. Many of the trees on the property are more than 100 years old. There are large pines and oaks as well as beech, birch and plenty of holly. The understory is sparse, due to an active deer population.
Some avian species commonly found here include hawks, owls, nuthatches, chickadees, woodpeckers and warblers. Look for small mammals and amphibians in the stone walls, and large mammals (deer) at dawn and dusk.
The property is located within the watershed of the Gulf River. The Gulf River originates in North Scituate. Joined by Musquashcut Brook and Bound Brook, it empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Cohasset Harbor.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 89 acres
Hours: Dawn To Dusk
Parking: Main parking lot with bike rack at 709 Country Way. Additional parking along driveway to Scituate Arts Association (Bailey-Ellis House), and on Mann Lot Road behind the Public Safety Building.
Trail Difficulty: Easy, Medium
Bike rack, geocache location.
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Gulf River watershed