85 Willow St, Marshfield, MA 02050, USA
Owned By: Town of Marshfield
37 acres of Marshfield Conservation land along Zena’s Brook, a tributary to the South River. Trails through woods and wetlands with small sections of boardwalk.
Pratt Farm was originally owned by one of Marshfield’s early settlers, Timothy Williamson, who operated the town “ordinary.” He purchased the land in 1663, and it stayed in his family until the mid-1800s. The house itself was constructed in 1700. Williamson’s descendants eventually sold the land to the Pratts, who kept it for another 120 years. The town purchased the land in 2012 with Community Preservation funds.
Pratt Farm is part of a longer-term plan for the Town of Marshfield -- connecting all of the green spaces along the South River in the downtown area to create a South River Greenway. This would pull together Veterans Memorial Park, South River Park, Pratt Farm, the Keville Footbridge, Dandelion Park and the Rail Trail/Bridle Trail.
Trails are well-marked and easy to follow. From the entrance on Willow Street, the trail heads into the woods, then traverses a small bridge, over a brook, and past two concrete floodgates. They are no longer in use, and appear to be vestiges of the property's agricultural history. Continue along the edge of the marsh and into the woods. There is another bridge/brook crossing, and then the trail continues through forest. At the eastern end of the property, a tall set of stairs leads up to the Rail Trail & Bridle Trail.
Habitats and Wildlife
Zena's Brook flows into the South River.
The South River originates deep in Duxbury. Its source is in the Round Pond area, and from there it winds unobtrusively through the woods for several miles. Although one can view it from Route 3, and also from both the South River Bogs and the Camp Wing Conservation Area, it remains a narrow and mostly un-navigable stream until just below Veterans Memorial Park in Marshfield. From there it flows through South River Park, behind the playground of South River School, and under the Willow Street and Francis Keville Bridges. Wider here, and navigable at most tides, its course winds through the marshes as it runs parallel to Route 139, all the way to Rexhame. From there the river turns northward. It flows for 3 miles between Humarock and the mainland to Fourth Cliff, where it joins the North River at its outlet to the sea.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 37 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: On-site parking on Willow Street.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Facilities: Picnic area, informational kiosk.
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes