I first visited the Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT) Walkup Reservation nearly five years ago when I was doing the field work for More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, a field guide I created to over fifty trails in the Upper Charles, Neponset, Assabet, and Sudbury river watersheds. Al Sanborn, who had lived in Westborough, was my guide for two of the sixteen towns I included in the book–Westborough and Grafton, and served as the caretaker for the Walkup Reservation for a number of years.
It was sweet to return to Walkup, hoping to find a quiet place to walk and #avoidcrowds even on a weekend. This turned out to be the case. While we found three or four cars in the parking lot just off Rt. 9, we were able to enjoy the trails, most of which are quite wide, and crossed the path of very few others while out on the trail during our visit.
The trails fit right into Easy Walk territory, with few rocks few roots, and relatively level. The ups and downs along the trail are manageable and add interest along the way. The old trolley line rail bed is very level, a reminder of how people used to get around our communities before we had cars.
Stone walls, and the “bossy crossing” underneath the old trolley line bed remind us that this area, now almost completely surrounded by large office parks, was at one time farmed.
The small stream that flows through the property add extra interest, and some nice bridges across the water.
It was odd, however, to watch the stream disappear into the open field, clearly heading underground. my guess is that field remains fairly saturated in springtime.
The bluebird boxes were a reminder of the work Al Sanborn did over the years, carefully tending not only the trails at Walkup, but the bluebird boxes, which he built and carefully cleaned out before birds started rebuilding their nests each spring.
I lost track of Al after he helped with the book, and treasure the time we spent on the trail together.
While quite close to Rt. 9, most of the trails on this property were surprisingly quiet. We look forward to exploring more SVT trails in the coming days. Happy trails!
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: Finding the Sacred in everyday (and some very strange) Places.
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.