When I first started doing research for what became what is now a trail guide series, Easy Walks in Massachusetts, I could not have imagined how far the project would take me. I’ve experienced the joy of encountering Easy Walks in Massachusetts towns near and far, in different states, as far away as California, and even overseas to Ireland. But it is the places nearby, close to home, that I continue to return to and get great pleasure from. Even though we bemoan the continued loss of habitat in this heavily populated area of New England, I am humbled by the efforts of local folks to open up trails, work to make pathways more accessible, and even create trails where there were none. That’s what we found when we visited Attleboro recently.
My latest project is,with the help of the TenMIle River Watershed council, to help document and put into a book the Easy Walks and river access points for the Ten Mile River Watershed. While much of this area is not far from home for me, these are not towns I’ve ever had reason to visit much. With each outing, I’m gaining a better understanding of the geography or the area, where rivers and streams flow, and where pieces of open space are tucked away, waiting for visitors to come and enjoy.
The River Walk in Attleboro is directly across the street from the commuter rail station, between Wall and Olive Street, just south of Attleboro center, and just off Rt. 152. Prior to construction of this walkway, the former Attleboro DPW and former Police Station were located here, blocking most access to the Ten Mile River.
Plenty of parking lines the edge of the park, making this a magnet for local walkers. But the real draw for this walk is the river views.
The Ten Mile River flows freely alongside the entire length of the walkway,
and a canoe launch has been installed here as well.
Old-fashioned street lamps line the walkway, dispensing with the unsightly wires and telephone poles that fill our landscapes. Benches are placed all along the walk, making this an inviting spot to come have lunch beside the river. My guess is that when trains come in the area’s noise level goes up, but it was amazingly quiet when we visited mid- day.
With each visit, I gain a better “big picture” idea of what this area has to offer. This view, of course, is skewed, since I would be hard put to tell you about opportunities for shopping, dining, or even what cultural offerings these towns feature. No, my focus is the outdoors, and even in the midst of well-populated areas, there are green spaces waiting to be enjoyed. And when I learn that others have used the books I’ve put together to discover these places for themselves, well… words fail me. Happy trails!
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.