Pierpont Meadow, Dudley, MA

New fallen snow at Pierpont Meadow, Dudley, MA

Ice can be a huge barrier to getting out in winter. For those of us with mobility challenges (and others) it can keep us inside, missing out on the beauty that is found in colder weather. In general, newly fallen snow is pleasant to walk through. With little snow so far this winter in New England (at least southern New England) we have been able to get out fairly often without the concern of ice. A beautiful spot we revisited recently after a light snow is a Mass Audubon property, Pierpont Meadow in Dudley, MA.

Pierpont meadow

We have been there before, but only in warmer weather. This visit offered pines dusted with snow. The cart paths on this former farm are wide, relatively smooth and offer Easy Walks.

The meadow in summer

On our earlier visits this Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary was easy to miss. A small sign and room for two cars kept crowds down. On this visit we found new signage, a gate at the entrance to the footpath, and a newly built parking area with space for about six cars.

Old cart path

The cart path is a straight shot down to the meadow and beyond that shores of Pierpont Meadow Pond. On this wintery day we tromped along the edge of the meadow to the far side, where boggy ground featured ice in the woods beyond where we walked.

I love spotting stone walls wherever we go, but New England farms typically have some good examples of these iconic features of the landscape. Winter is a great time to see stone walls and contours of the land after the fall leaves have dropped and the shrubs have been pushed aside by snow. One wall at the edge of the meadow was difficult to see as dense vines nearly encased the rock remnant. Another wall, however, was in clear sight. A rushing stream next to the path added an enticing soundscape as we walked.

Pond view

Once at the water’s edge, the thumping waves along the shoreline added a bass drum to the symphony of the rushing stream emptying into the pond. Steep paths lead down to the water so we had a great view of the area.

We met only one or two people in the time we walked. As we prepared to leave we noticed across the street from the entrance another sign. Yet more of the sanctuary was on the opposite side of the road. A private residence is across the street from the parking, presumably the original farm house. The sign pointing us to the beaver pond assured us that it was fine to pass along the edge of the grass to get down to the water.

Perhaps not too surprising, in the pond was a small beaver lodge, with a much larger one off to our left. Sadly for us, no beavers showed themselves while we were there.

Dudley is a relatively small town in south central MA, south of Worcester. This was our third visit, but certainly will not be our last. Other places nearby offer some delightful outdoor walking opportunities. Here are a few:

River Walk, Webster, MA

Quinebaug rail trail

Exploring Central MA

Happy trails!


Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionEasy 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.

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