Now that the cooler weather appears to have returned in earnest, I am anxious to get out and better understand the towns that host the Ten Mile River. The Ten Mile River Watershed Council has been working with me since last spring to pull together the latest Easy Walks book. Watershed Council members have been providing me with information about the trails and paddles available in the host towns of the watershed. But I’m the one who needs to draw the maps, and it really helps to get out on the roads, and start understanding where the river flows, and where open space has been preserved and is available for people to come visit and enjoy.
We visited another Mass Audubon property in Attleboro this morning, Oak Knoll, just about a half mile from Attleboro Springs. Both properties are on Park Street, (Rt. 118). I was relieved to find the parking gate open when we arrived. Most MA Audubon properties are closed on Mondays. It turns out that the hiking trails remain open for visitors. And while the visitor’s center was not officially open, staff member Michelle was kind enough to make me welcome (and allow me to use the bathroom–whew!)
Keith, a member of the Watershed Council, joined me for this walk. We knew there was a lake, but weren’t quite sure which direction to head. Turns out there are not many choices–most all of the trails lead out to the lake on this 51 acre property.
Stone walls are evident in several areas, reminders of previous agricultural activity in the area.
The trail out to the lake traverses some rather wet areas, and my guess is the boardwalks along the trail will allow for dryer feet for spring and early summer visitors.
A trail completely encircles the lake. Only a few small pools of water remained in the lakebed when we visited.
A great blue heron hunted through the puddles remaining in the lake, looking for any frogs or fish it might find. The phrase “shooting fish in a barrel” came to mind–any remaining fish had little chance against the sharp-eyed heron.
We enjoyed some spots of bright color near the water, as well as along the trail, where the witch hazel understory is turning bright yellow.
The gardens at the entry to the sanctuary are still blooming, and leaves were not only raked into a pile–there was a sign inviting all who wished to feel free to jump in! The trail around the pond offered a variety of elevations and multiple water views.
A separate stream, apparently unconnected to the pond, offered additional water views.
There is a lot to like in this small property–while there were a few roots and rocks on the trail, there was nothing to stop us from having a wonderful stroll. We were impressed as well by how quiet this property is. Busy Rt. 118 is not far off, but as soon as we left the clearing by the visitor’s center, the trails were quiet. We noticed a few trails leading off the property to nearby homes that abut the property, but the homes were barely visible. The paths leading off the property are well-worn, indicating that neighbors seem grateful to have conservation land so readily available.
Plenty of parking is available at Oak Knoll–MA Audubon requests a $2 donation for non-members. Enjoy!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress. She is a co-author of the recent community history, Bellingham Now and Then.