600 Franklin St, Hanson, MA 02341, USA
Owned By: Whitman-Hanson Regional High School
A loose network of roads, paved pathways, and trails through meadow and forest provides a pleasant 1-mile loop for pedestrians and nature enthusiasts.
Look closely around the perimeter of this school and athletic complex and you’ll find a few short trails through meadow, woods and wetlands, with the occasional footbridge, plus a paved promenade.
This land is within the region of the Massachusett (or Massachuseuk) Native American tribe. Prior to European contact, the Mattakeeset band of the Massachusett lived for thousands of years in the North River watershed. Their village included most of today’s Pembroke and Hanson. The word “Mattakeeset” means “place of many fish.”
I recommend this approx. 1-mile loop. As you enter the property, look for the tennis courts on the left. Park there, and then backtrack to the entrance road, where you’ll find a granite “Whitman Hanson High School” marker to the left. Continue up the hill and after about a tenth of a mile, look for an unpaved trail to the right. It follows a utility easement for about a third of a mile before arcing back toward one of the school’s rear parking areas. You may notice additional trails in the other direction, but they are posted as Private Property and should be respected as such. From the rear parking area, look for a narrow trail in the far left corner. A footbridge leads over a culvert and continues through a wooded area. The trail forks, with a narrow passageway to the right, bordered by young pine trees. This is a short dead end trail, but nevertheless an inviting one. If you go left at the fork, you will soon cross another, wider, footbridge. Again, you may notice a woodland trail to the right. It’s another dead end, but this very short trail does boast a gorgeous grove of beech trees. Continue along the edge of the woods, all the way around the back of the school. As you emerge at the other side, near the Performing Arts sign, look to the right for a wide paved trail, with curved lampposts. This “promenade” continues downhill past the football field and track, and ends at an intersection where you’ll see the tennis courts just ahead of you, completing your loop.
Habitats and Wildlife
The woodlands that border the school property are primarily pine, beech and oak. The streams here drain to Poor Meadow Brook and the Shumatuscacant River.
Poor Meadow Brook rises from wetlands in North Hanson and joins with the Shumatuscacant River within Hanson’s Poor Meadow Brook Conservation Area. The stream continues to Robbins Pond in East Bridgewater, where it empties into the Satucket River, part of the Taunton River watershed.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 70 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Ample on-site parking. Restricted during school hours.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: Paved trail is wheelchair accessible.
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Poor Meadow Brook (Taunton River watershed)