677 Temple St, Duxbury, MA 02332, USA
Owned By: Town of Duxbury
Duxbury Conservation owns this wooded parcel. A network of intersecting cart paths and footpaths extends through pine forest, and along wetlands, ponds and vernal pools. Harlow Brook flows through the property and eventually into the South River.
Whiton Woods features old stone walls, bubbling streams, at least one wooden footbridge, large outcroppings of rocks, swampy lowlands, even a vernal pool or two.
Whiton Woods is located in North Duxbury, a village sometimes known as the Crooked Lane neighborhood, because of the winding road that once connected each of the homes there. Settlers – often the sons and grandsons of Duxbury’s original grantees – began to arrive in 1685. Samuel Delano received an early land grant at Temple Hill, between Enterprise and Temple Streets. Isaac Simmons built a home farther north on Temple, just before Laurel Street, and Joseph Peterson’s farm was even farther north.
Additional settlers arrived in North Duxbury around 1700, with a number of 30-acre grants at the intersections of Lincoln, Franklin and Temple Streets. But even though well-established paths led to other parts of Duxbury, settlers in this area tended to be more connected to Marshfield. They attended church there, and also did their milling, and patronized Marshfield’s stores. North Duxbury once petitioned the General Court to be annexed to Marshfield, but the petition failed.
North Duxbury was largely a farming community. While in other parts of town, dams were constructed on brooks to power mills and factories, the village’s primary waterway, Harlow Brook, remained a quiet stream flowing west through lowlands and eventually into the South River. Some of those swamps and shallow ponds produced bog iron ore, which could be raked up and forged into functional metal.
A large cedar tree marks trail head. There is no official trail map for Whiton Woods, so visiting this property requires a bit of guesswork. However the trails are well-established, and they are blazed either with paint or with plastic markers. Some private lands are marked, and one should respect those boundaries; otherwise, a simple guideline might be just to avoid anything that looks like a cranberry bog or a golf course. A short loop walk around the blue trail might take 20 minutes. One could easily spend an hour investigating various spur trails.
Habitats and Wildlife
There is an abundance of white pine on the property, as well as some oak and holly. Because of a brutal storm in 2019, many of the pines are now either snapped in half or lying flat on the forest floor. That alone made the walk worthwhile. It’s fascinating to see the impact a storm can have on a woodland. Harlow Brook flows through this property and eventually into the South River.
Historic Site: No
Size: 32 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Parking for two cars on Temple Street.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash or under control at all times. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes