Hiking

Round Pond Conservation Area

480 Mayflower St, Duxbury, MA 02332, USA

781-934-1100

Owned By: Town of Duxbury

A kettle hole pond surrounded by forest with numerous trails.

Features

Round Pond is much more than just a pond. The property’s namesake – a 10,000-year old kettle hole — lies at its center. Pine and oak woods surround the pond, and contain a number of intersecting, well-marked trails, some of which traverse wetlands via boardwalk. There are other surface waters nearby too – active cranberry bogs and reservoirs, other ponds, and even a small lake.

In the 1880s, Round Pond was known as Cole’s Pond, and was the site of the Merry Family’s ice house. During the winter, ice from the pond was cut into blocks and stored nearby, with sawdust for insulation. Amazingly, this kept the ice intact into the spring and summer, when it was delivered to private homes. The ice operation continued into the 1940s, after which refrigerators rendered it obsolete.

The property’s “icy” history goes much farther back, though. Kettle hole ponds are formed by melting glaciers, and this one dates back to about 10,000 BCE. Natural ponds such as this are unusual in our area. Most of the South Shore’s ponds were formed as a result of the industrial damming of our rivers, first to run saw and grist mills . . . and then (later) for factories.

As far back as the 1890s, the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society (DRHS) began protecting and preserving the area around the pond, purchasing a total of almost 50 acres. The current trails were opened decades later, in 1986, the result of a joint effort by the Rural and Historical Society and Mass Audubon, which maintains the adjacent wildlife sanctuary at North Hill Marsh. Today, the DRHS holdings are partnered with those owned by the Town of Duxbury, creating more than 170 acres of conservation land between Round Pond, Pine Lake, and Island Creek Pond.

Trail Description

Round Pond features an extensive network of color-blazed, intersecting trails. Some lead through the woods, others encircle cranberry bogs. Many are wide enough to accommodate two or more people. This is a popular place for dog walkers. Download a property map to help you find your way around.

A portion of the Bay Circuit Trail runs through this property. It is marked with white blazes. Another conservation area, known as the Cherry Lane Bogs, directly abuts the Round Pond Conservation Area. Across Mayflower Street is an even larger greenspace, comprised of the Knapp Town Forest, North Hill Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, and Waiting Hill Preserve.

Habitats and Wildlife

Round Pond is a kettle pond — a shallow, sediment-filled body of fresh water formed by retreating glaciers or draining floodwaters. It is also one of the sources of the South River. The South River springs from wetlands bordering Round Pond, and flows through Duxbury, into Marshfield, and eventually into the North River at Fourth Cliff in Humarock. Island Creek Pond, which is situated at the southwest portion of the Round Pond property is an entirely different watershed. Island Creek flows through it, and continues south through Duxbury to Kingston Bay.

This property is diverse. The upland forest is composed primarily of white pine and red oak, with an ample understory of blueberry, fern, and teaberry. In mid-spring, look for lady slippers. The wetland portions of the property are primarily red maple swamp, with alder, sagebrush, and native azalea. The cranberry bogs provide even more variety, attracting wildlife and helping to maintain the town’s water supply.

Wildlife commonly found here include white-tailed deer, fox, raccoons and opossums. Look for birds such as osprey, red-tailed hawks, egrets, and great blue herons, plus chickadees, tufted titmice, bluebirds, cardinals and cedar waxwings.

480 Mayflower St, Duxbury, MA 02332, USA

Historic Site: No

Park: No

Beach: No

Boat Launch: No

Lifeguards: No

Size: 170 acres

Hours: Dawn to Dusk

Parking: Limited on-site parking on Mayflower Street. Pedestrian access from East Street and Cherry Lane.

Cost: Free

Trail Difficulty: Easy

Facilities:

Occasional benches and boardwalks.

Dogs: Dogs are welcome, but must remain under control at all times. Please clean up after your dog.

Boat Ramp: No

ADA Access: No

Scenic Views: Yes

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