By Marjorie Turner Hollman (courtesy of Bellingham Bulletin)
The Stall Brook Trail head is located directly behind Stall Brook Elementary School, in the north end of Bellingham, MA, just north of Maple Street on Rt. 126. The broad, somewhat level trail is accessible to families with children of all ages.
There is designated trail parking directly to the right of the school, around the back, next to the bridge that spans the Stall Brook. This old, sturdy, Army surplus bridge was placed there back in the 1970s when people at Stall Brook School wanted to create a walking trail for the students’ use. Department of Public Works employee Roland Arcand recalled recently that then Highway Superintendent Gerry Daigle (father of our present-day Police Chief) had located the Army surplus bridge in Taunton. Arcand chuckled as he retold the story and noted that he was the one who drove the trailer that brought the bridge to Bellingham.
One disadvantage is that parking and access are on school property; thus, public use of the trail is limited to days when school is not in session and after 4 pm on school days. There are no public bathroom facilities available in the area. Please keep dogs on a leash and, of course, clean up after your pets.
After crossing the bridge you walk along the edge of wetlands for a short distance near the brook. The path soon turns to the left and follows an old stone wall for much of the approximately half-mile trail. The main path is wide and easy to follow, with mostly some roots in the walkway to watch out for. My granddaughter enjoyed a bouncy ride in her stroller because of the roots that criss-crossed the path. Her mother may have wished for the path to have been a little smoother, but we were all still smiling at the end of our walk.
We walked only as far as the power lines, but there are more trails beyond the power lines for the more adventurous. A caution to those tempted to pick blueberries along the power lines: power companies are known to spray herbicides along their power lines to keep the brush down. The berries are there, and are tempting, but you take a risk picking berries along these rights of way. Better to pick berries in places that have no power lines overhead.
Thanks to the numerous town officials who have worked together recently to get designated parking signs posted at several of the walking trails in town. Thanks also to Roland Arcand and others who placed a bridge across the Stall Brook all those years ago. The fact that Bellingham has trails such as this is a testament to the hard work and vision of many over the years who have arranged the purchase and conservation of open space in Bellingham. And of course, deserving of thanks are the taxpayers, who have approved funding for land acquisitions in Bellingham over the years. It’s wonderful to be able to enjoy and share with others the lovely outdoor spaces we have right here in Bellingham, and take advantage of this free and accessible form of exercise.
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.