World's End, Martins Lane, Hingham, MA, USA
Owned By: The Trustees
The jewel in the crown of South Shore nature preserves, designed in part by Frederick Law Olmsted. Rolling hills bordered by Hingham Harbor and the Weir River with majestic views of the Boston skyline. Several miles of trails and cart paths. Part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area.
IMPORTANT: most days a parking pass, available online, is required.
Colonial-era farmers cleared of all the trees that grew at World’s End, and erected a dam so they could grow hay in the salt marsh. In the 1880s, John Brewer established a farming estate here. He made plans to build a 163-house residential subdivision (designed by Frederick Law Olmsted) in 1890, but fortunately that did not end up happening! The homes were never built, but some of the carriage roads are still in place. The property was also strongly considered as a location for the headquarters of the United Nations in 1945, as well as for a nuclear power plant (1965). In 1967, local residents worked with The Trustees to raise funds to purchase and preserve the property.
Don’t miss Planters Hill. It is crowned with three rings of trees and a circular path. A flat grassy area stands in the middle: a classic design for a sacred place. From the summit you can look down in four directions: south, across the sprawling fields of World’s End; west, to Hingham Harbor and the wooded, suburban town; east, beyond the rocky bayside cliffs to hundreds of cottages along the skinny arm of Hull; and north, to Boston, the Harbor Islands, and Massachusetts Bay.
Annual horseback riding permit available. Call for details.
Follow 4.5 miles of carriage paths and footpaths through the woods, along the shoreline, and up & down Planters Hill. Work your way around the perimeter or follow any of the numerous loop trails for a variety of habitats and landscapes.
Habitats and Wildlife
Woodlands, rocky shorelines, drumlin hills topped with majestic oaks, grassy open fields, glacial erratic boulders, plus marshland and granite ledges. Trees include: oak, red cedar, linden, pine, yellow birch, and pitch pine. Olmsted’s designed landscape is carefully maintained. Watch for tree swallows at the nesting boxes.
The Weir River forms the eastern boundary of World’s End. The river finds its source at the confluence of Crooked Meadow River and Fulling Mill Brook, and then flows north through Hingham, with Tower Brook and Accord Brook joining it in its first mile. It gradually turns northeast and flows for another 1.4 miles, through Weir River Farm and eventually into Foundry Pond. The Weir River Estuary, designated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as an Area of Critical Concern, begins just below the manmade dam at the pond. The mile-wide estuary forms the border between Hingham and Hull, and empties into Hingham Bay.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 251 acres
Hours: 8am to sunset
Parking: Limited on-site parking on Martin's Lane.
Cost: Trustees members and children: FREE. Nonmember adults: $8 weekend/holiday and $6 weekday
Trail Difficulty: Easy, Medium
Public restrooms (Porta-potties are in place. New facility to be constructed in 2021.) Ranger station. Informational kiosk. Benches. Drinking water fountain. Picnic tables. Geocache location.
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash and under control at all times. Scoop the poop and bring it with you.
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Weir River watershed