773 Ship Pond Rd, Plymouth, MA 02360, USA
Owned By: Wildlands Trust
A 1-mile out-and-back woodland trail with a challenging hill and lovely views of Cotton Pond. This narrow strip of land also features an impressive glacial erratic boulder. Part of the Davis-Douglas Conservation Area. Other related properties nearby include: Emery Preserve West, Six Ponds East Conservation Area, and Davis-Douglas Farm, along with conservation land in Plymouth.
According to the website of the Wildlands Trust, this part of Plymouth was protected thanks in large part to the local Six Ponds Community. In 1973, the preserves known as Emery East and Emery West were donated to the Wildlands Trust by Mary B. Emery, Arthur H. Emery, Edward S. Emery, III, Richard B. Emery, Mary Charlotte (Emery) Russell, H. Shippen, and Lydia Goodhue. These were the first-ever lands protected by the Wildlands Trust. Then, in 2001, Six Ponds East Preserve was acquired. In 2010, the Town of Plymouth acquired a parcel of land in between Six Ponds East Preserve and Emery West Preserve with the assistance of Wildlands Trust. And then in 2012, the Wildlands Trust purchased Davis-Douglas Farm, with funding from public and private sources. It became the organization’s headquarters in 2014.
Long before European settlers arrived in 1620, this land was part of Pokanoket, a Wampanoag village governed by Massasoit.
Look for the property sign at approx. 773 Ship Pond Road, where there is room to park 1-2 vehicles. You’ll find the trailhead just beyond the sign, with blue blazes marking the way. The trail leads into the woods, through an open area with a very large glacial erratic, and then back into the woods. The trail then heads uphill. There’s a bench at the top for resting, which you may appreciate more on the return trip! A staircase has been built into the far side of the ridge, to assist hikers with the descent. After that, you’ll soon reach the loop trail, which offers views of Cotton Pond and its wetlands. This is an out-and-back trail, so after you complete the loop, head back to your starting point. Approx. 1 mile total.
Habitats and Wildlife
Interpretive signage at Davis-Douglas Farm nearby offers fascinating detail about this property’s geography. It is situated on an outwash plain — thick layers of sand and gravel deposited by retreating glaciers 14,000 years ago. Kettle ponds, esker ridges, and kames (steep-sided mounds of sand and gravel) — common characteristic features of outwash plains — are all present here. The soil is sandy, acidic, and well-drained, which is why Pine Barrens have flourished here. Part of the Cape Cod Bay watershed, the streams here flow east and empty into the Atlantic Ocean near Ship Pond.
The woodlands here are primarily pitch pine and scrub oak, along with some white pine, red maple, gray birch and aspen. The understory is made up of ferns, sweet pepperbush, huckleberry, inkberry, high bush blueberry and viburnum. The ridge you’ll encounter along the trail is known as the Ellisville Moraine.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Very limited roadside parking at approx. 773 Ship Pond Road.
Trail Difficulty: Easy, Medium, Hard
Bench, informational kiosk.
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Cape Cod Bay / Atlantic Ocean