Lyman Reserve

Lyman Reserve, Head of the Bay Road, Plymouth, MA, USA

The Trustees: 508-636-4693

Owned By: The Trustees

Owned by The Trustees, the 210-acre Theodore Lyman Reserve extends into three towns — Bourne, Plymouth and Wareham. The property features over 1.75 miles of trails through freshwater wetlands, forest and pine barrens, plus close-up views of Buttermilk Bay and Red Brook.

Catch-and-release fishing (with a license) is permitted; mountain biking is not. Paddling requires a 0.25-mile carry to the beach. Hunting is permitted on this property, subject to all state and town laws. Wear brightly colored clothing (orange vest or hat) during the hunting season. Hunting is not permitted on Sundays. Photographers, please consult the property’s photography guidelines on its website.

It’s important to know that some of our freshwater fisheries are contaminated with mercury, PFAS and/or other concerning substances. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health maintains an online database with up-to-date advisories regarding fish consumption, sorted by location. We recommend you consult this valuable resource when planning a fishing excursion.


This land is within the region of the Wampanoag. To learn more about local Native American tribes, we encourage you to interact with their members. The Mashpee Wampanoag and the Herring Pond Wampanoag share information on their websites.

In the late 1800’s, Theodore Lyman and his family purchased hundreds of acres around Red Brook to conserve habitat for brook trout. This land is part of the family’s legacy.

Trail Description

From the parking area, there are trails both to the right and to the left. To the right, a short network of intersecting trails offers views of Red Brook. To the left, a much-longer trail extends for 1.5 miles through woodlands, wetlands and pine barrens, with a bridge over Red Brook. There is a large loop, and also an out-and-back spur trail that leads to (but not into) Water Department land owned by the Town of Onset. Or cross Red Brook Road, continue past the Lyman Cottage, and follow the 0.25-mile trail to a salt marsh and sandy beach on Buttermilk Bay.

Habitats and Wildlife

Red Brook is the centerpiece of this property. A spring-fed coldwater stream, it is home to a thriving native sea-run brook trout fishery. The forests here are mostly white pine and oak, with the occasional cedar and black walnut. There is also a section of pine barrens, plus freshwater wetlands, and red maple swamp. There are salt marshes on the Buttermilk Bay side of the property.

Red Brook flows for 4.5 miles through Plymouth and Wareham, from White Island Pond to Buttermilk Bay. It is part of the Buzzards Bay watershed. Since 2006, dikes and dams have been removed along the course of the brook to improve accessibility for migratory fish such as eel, herring and sea-run brook trout, to their spawning grounds. Fishing is permitted here (with a license), but only catch-and-release.

In addition, listen for such birds as belted kingfisher and red-wing blackbird. Look for osprey, herons and egrets in the marsh on Buttermilk Bay.

  • A photograph of a large property sign on grass with a forest in the background.
  • A photograph of a brook flowing through forest and wetlands.
  • A photograph of two picnic tables on grass with forest in the background.
  • A photograph of a trail through a grassy area with scattered trees.
  • A photograph of a brook flowing through wetlands.
  • A photograph of a trail through a pine barrens with an interpretive sign.
  • A photograph of a bridge over a stream.
  • A photograph of a brook flowing through wetlands with the sun peeking through the trees.
  • A photograph of a trail extending between two wetlands.
  • A photograph of a Fishing Access sign beside a stream.
  • A photograph of a stream flowing through a freshwater wetland.
  • A photograph of a trail through a forest.
  • A photograph of a trail alongside a marsh, beach and bay.
  • A photograph of a stony beach on a bay.
Lyman Reserve, Head of the Bay Road, Plymouth, MA, USA

Historic Site: No

Park: No

Beach: No

Boat Launch: Follow a 0.25-mile trail to launch small watercraft on Buttermilk Bay.

Lifeguards: No

Size: 210 acres

Hours: Dawn to Dusk

Parking: Medium-sized gravel parking lot where Red Brook Road and Head of the Bay Road come together. In season, after-hours “off-street” fisherman’s parking is available for surf casting for stripers.

Cost: Free

Trail Difficulty: Easy


Interpretive signage, bridge, fishing area, picnic tables.

Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash at all times. Please clean up after your pet.

Boat Ramp: No

ADA Access: No

Scenic Views: Yes

Waterbody/Watershed: Red Brook (Buttermilk Bay / Buzzards Bay watershed)