Fresh Pond Park, 220 Bartlett Rd, Plymouth, MA 02360, USA
Owned By: Town of Plymouth
Large pond in woodland setting in Manomet with a public beach, seasonal lifeguards, and a launch area for non-motorized boats. Also features a small playground area and some short forest trails.
The park features a bathhouse with restrooms, open seasonally from 8:30am to 4:45pm. Lifeguards and parking attendants are on site on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, in season.
This land is within the region of the Wampanoag tribe, who in earlier times, maintained a fishing weir at the mouth of Bartlett’s Pond, nearby. To learn more about our local tribes, we encourage you to interact with their members. The Mashpee Wampanoag and the Herring Pond Wampanoag both share information on their websites.
The name Manomet has been interpreted to mean “bearing of a burden,” possibly referring to the baskets used by the Wampanoag on trails between their settlements at Patuxet (Plymouth) and Cape Cod. Learn more about the Herring Pond Wampanoag and the Mashpee Wampanoag via their websites.
According to interpretive signage at St. Catherine’s Chapel Park, in 1705, 200 acres of woodland near Fresh Pond were given by the Plymouth Proprietors (heirs of the Pilgrims) “for the benefit of the Indians,” who lived nearby and had established a burial site on the western shore of the pond. By 1956, only one of eight known gravestones had survived. Half the Fresh Pond acreage was sold away in 1810, and another 12 acres were sold in 1891. The remaining land grant was taken by the town in 1913, resulting in a lawsuit settled two years later. In the 1920’s, the Town of Plymouth established an “auto camp park” on site, as well as a public beach.
European settlement of what was then known as the Manomet Ponds began as early as 1639. From then until about 1880, the area was home to a sparse network of farms and fishermen’s homes. Summer visitors began building cottages on Manomet Point in the 1850s, coming to the area to enjoy extended vacations on the shore. Lodging houses, inns and shops soon followed. Shooting and fishing were popular pastimes. In 1899, trolley service became available, making the area much more accessible. Trolleys continued to run until 1928. There was a trolley station at the intersection of White Horse Beach Road and Rocky Hill Road, just south of where St. Catherine’s Chapel Park stands today.
Short trails lead uphill into the woods and to various points on Bartlett Road.
Habitats and Wildlife
Fresh Pond is a 62-acre natural kettle hole pond with an average depth of 10 feet (30 feet maximum). It is fed by groundwater, as well as a small inlet from Warner Pond. It has an outlet to cranberry bogs and to Beaver Dam Brook.
Beaver Dam Brook originates in the Manomet section of Plymouth, flows through the Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary, and empties into the Atlantic near White Horse Beach. It is part of the Cape Cod Bay watershed.
According to Mass Wildlife, the following fish have been observed in Fresh Pond: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch, white perch, black crappie, pumpkin seed, bluegill, brown bullhead, American eel, and banded killifish. Each spring, the pond is stocked with rainbow, brook, or brown trout.
The park itself is grassy, with a sandy beach. It also includes some forest, with pitch pine, oak, and white pine.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: Yes
Lifeguards: Seasonal lifeguards on Fri/Sat/Sun.
Size: 13 acres
Hours: 9am to 5pm
Parking: Limited on-site parking.
Cost: Free with Plymouth Beach sticker, or $20/day in season
Trail Difficulty: Medium
Seasonal restrooms, trash receptacles, small playground, picnic tables, undeveloped launch area suitable for non-motorized boats such as canoes and kayaks. Geocache location.
Dogs: Dogs must be on a 6ft leash (or less) and under control at all times. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: Yes
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Beaver Dam Brook (Cape Cod Bay watershed)