Sherborn does not make it easy to locate their public spaces. Information is not posted on line about their public spaces. A booklet, Sherborn Walks, is available for purchase at Sherborn’s town hall. Written in 1992, it has been frequently republished, but does not appear to have been updated since 1992.
My book, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, includes the town of Sherborn, MA, but presently only includes Rocky Narrows in Sherborn. I am in the process of updating the entire book, probably adding at least another 15 Easy Walks, and Sherborn was on the list of places I wanted to revisit.
My friend Sue agreed to join me as I headed to Sherborn. Last year she walked the entire length of the Bay Circuit Trail from Ipswich to Duxbury (in sections). As we came into Sherborn she spotted locations that looked familiar, and sure enough, throughout our explore,
she found one after another Bay Circuit Trail emblem posted on trees, signposts, and where ever they could be posted. I would have missed most of them.
Prior to Sue’s arrival I looked through my booklet and picked out a couple of kettle ponds in Sherborn I hoped to locate and view. Little Farm Pond sounded like a promising walk, and Farm Pond is the town’s swimming area in the summer. I hoped to be able to walk in the swimming area “off-season” since I am not a Sherborn resident, and the pond is mostly open to residents only in the summer.
We found Little Farm Pond on Farm Road, between house numbers 101 and 105. Space for three cars is designated clearly, and the narrow access path to the pond is just to the right of the parking area.
We found a large expanse of water with no houses along its shoreline. The fall leaves were gone along the waterline,
but beech trees, leaves still clinging to branches,
glowed in the November sunlight as we explored the shoreline.
The property is part of Mass Audubon Society’s Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary, but travel between this section and the rest of the sanctuary is not possible because of extensive wetlands.
We spotted a trail along the western shoreline that offered an option for more walking, but since this was our first visit, and we had other locations to check out, more exploring will have to wait for another visit. According to the booklet’s information, a trail goes part of the way around the pond, but water will prevent travelers from getting all the way around. The eastern side of the pond has private property issues that will limit travel as well.
We headed on to find Farm Pond, another kettle pond quite near Little Farm Pond, on Lake Street. There we found locked gates, and No Parking signs posted on both sides of the road. After reading the restrictions and seeing the lack of public access, I dropped Farm Pond from my list of Easy Walks in Sherborn, since these books are designed to help people find spaces that are open to all. Farm Pond, while beautiful from a distance, is not accessible unless one has the financial means to live in Sherborn, or is able to obtain one of the limited permits awarded in a spring lottery, for a fee.
Onward! We stopped at Grandfather’s field, a place I had walked before, but until I obtained the Sherborn Walks booklet, had not known its name. Just south of Forest Street where it intersects with Farm Road is a pull off within view of the Charles River.
The open field abuts the Charles, and by following the well-worn path across the field,
you will find a carriage road alongside the Charles River that eventually connects with Rocky Narrows.
The caveat for this walk is that at times of high water in the river, water floods this area, as we discovered after having walked about a half mile along the path.
Next time I will wear my farm boots! The river was quite high–we have had a very wet fall, and the night before our visit we had had yet more rain. For now, our trip was cut short, but in drier weather this is a wonderful, flat, easy walk for at least a mile along the Charles, with no houses on either side of the river in view. (Private homes are uphill on the Sherborn side of the river, but are at a distance. Access along the path is allowed, but visitors are urged to keep to the path.) The path eventually connects with the trails of Rocky Narrows.
While we did not find all we hoped on this visit, part of the work of compiling the Easy Walks book series is discovering places that are not workable for those looking for easy walks. It’s all part of the process, and keeps me going back for more, looking to see what is out there, and inviting others to get outside and take in the wonders of nature, right around the corner from where we live. 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.