Williams Preserve and Wright Reservoir

Owned By: Town of Duxbury

Three miles of trails through 200 acres of woods and wetlands, with views of the Wright Reservoir. Extend your exploration by also visiting Gifford Bog, immediately adjacent.


The property is named for Jack Williams, who built a homestead here c. 1911 and inhabited it for 92 years. There was a cranberry bog and a Christmas tree farm on the property, both of which Williams worked. He was also a wildlife enthusiast.

Prior to European contact, the Mattakeeset band of the Massachuseuk (or Massachusett) Native American tribe lived for thousands of years in the North River watershed. Their village included most of today’s Pembroke and Hanson. Meanwhile the Patuxet band of the Wampanoag tribe inhabited the Jones River watershed, and the area now known as Kingston, Plymouth and Duxbury. This property lies within the upper portion of the Green Harbor River watershed — right between those two territories. It’s possible that both tribes utilized the area.

Trail Description

Look for the parking area on Frontage Road, and the sign for Williams Preserve. There is a short trail that leads to a power easement. Turn left there (look for a green marker) and then find the blue blazes, which you can follow for the entirety of your visit. The trail leads first into a pine-oak forest. There is a red shortcut trail, or you can continue on the blue trail for additional wetland views. The blue trail continues across a dirt roadway and along two sides of a cranberry bog. At an old pump house, the trail heads back into the woods. Soon you will see the Wright Reservoir on your right. The trail leads through upland and wetland, with double-plank boardwalks in the damper areas. It eventually leads to another dirt road. Turn right here to access Wright Reservoir. The trail also continues a short distance past the reservoir, but then ends at the boundaries of private property and a power easement.

Heading back to Wright Reservoir, you can continue up the dirt road (south), which leads to a different power easement. The blue blazes eventually yield to green blazes, signaling the end of the trail, near 149 Temple Street. (To extend your walk farther, cross Temple Street to access the trail at Gifford Bog.) You can follow this power easement all the way back to the Frontage Road trailhead. Or you can backtrack toward the reservoir and take an additional blue-blazed trail through woods and wetlands. This forms a loop with the other blue-blazed trail in this area. Altogether there are about 3 miles of trails on the property. In general, they are well-marked and well-maintained.

Habitats and Wildlife

There are several habitats here. Pine-oak forest, swampy wetlands, grassy power easements, cranberry bogs, freshwater marsh, and the pond/reservoir. Other trees include cedars, birch, maple, tupelo, and sassafras, plus some viburnum and sweet pepper bush.

The Wright Reservoir is one of the major sources of the Green Harbor River. The river twists and turns through Marshfield via a large cranberry bog complex, the Green Harbor Golf Club, the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary, property owned by the Marshfield Municipal Airport, and Peter Igo Park. Just downstream of the Dyke Road bridge (and dike) it flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Green Harbor.

42.060254, -70.695992

Historic Site: No

Park: No

Beach: No

Boat Launch: No

Lifeguards: No

Size: 200 acres

Hours: Dawn to Dusk

Parking: Small parking area on Frontage Road, Duxbury, a short crescent street off Church Street (Route 139) near the intersection with Route 3A. Additional trail access near 149 Temple Street with parking for 1 car.

Cost: Free

Trail Difficulty: Easy


Simple boardwalks, one bench.

Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash.

Boat Ramp: No

ADA Access: No

Scenic Views: Yes

Waterbody/Watershed: Green Harbor River watershed

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