107 Circuit St, Norwell, MA 02061, USA
Owned By: Town of Norwell
This centrally-located green space is still being developed. Ultimately, it will feature wildflower meadows, a raised-bed community garden, and the Nancy Hemingway Memorial Garden. Directly adjacent to the Donovan-Wildcat Conservation Area and the Norwell Pathway.
The development of this community space began in 2022 as a collaboration amongst Norwell’s Conservation Commission and Beautification Committee, along with Norwell Farms and the Norwell Garden Club. Community Preservation funds were provided by the town.
It features the Nancy Hemingway Memorial Garden, a perennial garden honoring a Norwell Conservation Agent who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2020. The garden and surrounding wildflower meadows were her vision for this once-fallow field. Benches and pink flowering trees provide shade and places for reflection. The garden was dedicated in September 2023.
Other future plans include a raised-bed Community Garden, coordinated by Norwell Farms, for education and recreation. Sculptures and a walking labyrinth are planned for the wildflower area.
This land is within the region of the Massachusett (or Massachuseuk) Native American tribe. For thousands of years, the land that today is known as Norwell was inhabited by indigenous people who grew crops, foraged, hunted, and fished in the Assinippi and North River areas. Circa 1617, a major outbreak of disease decimated an estimated 90% of the native population in New England, including the Massachusett and Wampanoag tribes that inhabited the South Shore. There are still descendants of these original inhabitants living here today. They are known as the Mattakeesett Tribe of the Massachusett Indian Nation , the Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag, and the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe.
A short gravel path leads from the parking area, past the garden space, and connects with the Norwell Pathway.
Habitats and Wildlife
This large grassy field is bordered on two sides by forest, and features some cedar and maple trees. It is located within the watershed of Wildcat Brook, which originates a short distance away, near Main Street. Wildcat Brook and Wildcat Creek (aka Margaret’s Brook) merge on the other side of Donovan Fields and flow into Third Herring Brook a short distance downstream.
Third Herring Brook is a major tributary to the North River. Its headwaters are located north of Jacobs Pond in Norwell, in the southern portion of Valley Swamp. Third Herring Brook exits the pond from the southern side, at the dam. (Watch for a fish ladder here in 2024!) The brook forms the border between Norwell and Hanover, and flows past Historic Sylvester Field, and into the North River downstream of the old stone bridge on Washington Street.
The North River rises from marshes and springs in Weymouth, Rockland and Hanson. It is approximately 10 miles in length, with its source at the confluence of the Indian Head River (Hanover) and Herring Brook (Pembroke). From there it flows through the towns of Hanover, Pembroke, Marshfield, Norwell, and Scituate to the Atlantic Ocean between Third and Fourth Cliffs, draining approximately 59,000 acres along the way.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 2.5 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: On-site parking lot on Circuit Street, at the intersection with Pleasant Street.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Swing, informational kiosk.
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: Yes
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Wildcat Brook (North River)