720 State St, Hanson, MA 02341, USA
Owned By: Town of Hanson
Four contiguous parcels totaling 13 acres, adjacent to the Indian Head River and Rocky Run Brook. Owned by Hanson Conservation Commission and Plymouth County Conservation Commission.
The Rocky Run Conservation Area is small, but it’s a really beautiful spot, and well worth the visit. There are captivating views of both the Indian Head River and Rocky Run Brook. Narrow footpaths extend up and down ridges along the water’s edge. Wider cart paths explore the property’s interior. Deep within the parcel are the remains of a stone/earthen dam, revealing the brook’s industrial past.
The brook itself flows from Hanson into the Indian Head River, a little bit downstream of Cross Street (Hanover) / State Street (Hanson). One of Jesse Reed’s tack factories was located on this brook, and before that a mill operated by Isaac Buck that produced wooden ware such as bowls, trays and skimmers.
Together with the Tucker Preserve, the Indian Head River Trails, and Luddam’s Ford in both Pembroke and Hanover, the Rocky Run Conservation Area is part of a network of trails that leads up one side and down the other side of the Indian Head River. The 4-mile hike can be physically demanding — some of the ridges are steep! It can also be confusing, as some of the trails are not well-marked. However, once you know the route, it is a fascinating place to explore. Walking in the lowlands, it’s easy to imagine how the once-dammed river flowed through this valley.
Habitats and Wildlife
Rocky Run provides refuge for forest species typical to the South Shore. Otters, mink, and fisher cats like to be in or near water like the Indian Head River, where they can scavenge for food like herring and freshwater mussels. Animals like deer, opossums and coyotes make their homes in the rocky outcrops and crevices.
The Indian Head River rises from the Drinkwater River and Factory Pond in West Hanover. Rocky Run is one of its many small tributaries. Farther downstream is Luddam’s Ford, and beyond that is a spot called The Crotch, where the Indian Head joins Pembroke’s Herring Brook to create the North River.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 13 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Limited on-site parking-site parking. Small lot immediately adjacent to the bridge over the Indian Head River on State Street at Hanover/Hanson town line.
Trail Difficulty: Medium
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes