Tag Archives: West Hill Dam

West Hill Dam–What a Difference a Year Makes

Ice patterns along the trail

As often as we have visited nearby West Hill Dam in Uxbridge, I am still surprised by what we find. One visit offered views of a bedraggled Great horned owl, sitting in stunned silence in the daytime after having been ravaged by a fierce rainstorm the night before. Another visit revealed a large flock of nighthawks circling over the filed next to the dam. Several trips have led to new trails recently built, or else much better marked than in the past.

View of West River, below the spillway

This visit offered two new discoveries. One, a small trail accessed from the back, less traveled side of the dam, to a pretty spot alongside the West River, downstream from the spillway. Picnic tables and granite benches invite visitors to stay awhile alongside the river. Another spot on the far side of the open field opened up to a newly mowed field. There we found a small side trail, a hillside garden, and a cluster of milkweed pods.

Patch of milkweeds, ready for monarch butterflies next year

On our way back we encountered an old friend from the Army Corps, Ron Woodall, on the trail. He explained that he’s passionate about trails and has been focused on creating new trails, improving trail markings, and had the newly opened field mowed and removed invasives. We talked briefly about planning Easy Walks at West Hill dam in the spring. 

Food for birds alongside the trail

My photo filing system for outdoor photos includes the date when I visited each location. As I filed my most recent photos from our visit this past weekend, I realized it was just about a year ago when a group of us ventured out on icy, snow-covered trails in this same area. We have had snow this year, but right now the trails are mostly clear, with mere hints of ice in small areas. The cold is setting in for the winter, most of the leaves are gone, but we await real snow cover. Happy trails!

Snow covered field one year ago
Ice covered trail from one year ago–reminders of things to come

Marjorie

beech cliffs 2018

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

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Winter Walks-West Hill Dam, Stony Brook, and Riverbend Farm

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Ice alongside the trail

I’ve taken a few pictures recently, but truthfully, the outdoors has looked pretty dreary since rain washed all our snow away. There’s been ice on lots of trails, so getting out has been challenging. But we headed to West Hill Dam to get outside, and found some amazing ice, and thankfully, most of it was NOT on the trails! Continue reading

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Spring Visit to West Hill Dam, Uxbridge

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Walking along West Hill dam

Spring in New England is a strange time–we have sometimes experienced snow in May. I’ve seen folks out in bathing suits in 80 degree weather in April. Usually it’s pretty wet (like this year, thankfully) while other years the spring rains simply fail to arrive. Continue reading

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A Visit To The West Hill Dam

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By Marjorie Turner Hollman (courtesy of Bellingham Bulletin)

On a cold, bright, sunny day in February, snowshoes in hand, we ventured forth. I had many ideas of places to walk, but they were all under three feet of snow. However, West Hill Dam, in Uxbridge, is run by the Army Corps of Engineers, and I felt that if any trail was going to be accessible, it would be an Army Corps site. Thankfully, we arrived to a well-cleared parking lot. Continue reading

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