Brief Descriptions of Selected Properties of the Land Preservation Society (LPS) of Norton
Link to land history and narrative. This is a more detailed description of land location, some photos and narratives by folks who recall the history of the land.
These selected properties can easily be reached; some have good paths. Numbers on the map match the descriptions below. Some trail maps are located on the web site at Links to maps of some of the properties.
Please stay on paths to spare plants such as Lady’s Slippers and Spotted Wintergreen.
Don’t pick plants, or capture wildlife such as butterflies or toads.
Please carry out all your trash, leaving these properties for generations to enjoy.
1. The Woodward Forest, our largest holding at 150 acres, is located between 4 and 5 Gateway Lane off Old Taunton Avenue. There is room for
several cars to park in the cul-de-sac. Go down the steps beside the sign. There are mixed woods, a small meadow, a branch path leading along the Three-Mile River, a large vernal pool on the orange trail, smaller wetlands, an old cart path on the blue and white trail that passes hemlocks and pines, and a variety of wetland and upland plants.
Link to 2016 presentation on the History of Woodward Forest
2. The L.A. Foster Wildlife Refuge is near 170 Taunton Avenue (Route 140) on both sides of the street at the bridge over the Wading River. Street parking is suggested. The sign is by the east entrance, a steep roadway leading to an old industrial site. The path leads into woodland with numerous birds, and sometimes borders the river. The west path is across the river, where cable and rocks mark
an old haul road. The road ends at a small gravel quarry. The path continues beside the copper works pond and eventually along the dike that borders a canal that used to carry water from the Wading River to the pond. Low wetlands are found to the south along the Wading River.
3. The Canoe River Land, including our original purchase, is on Red Mill Road, the extension of Newcomb Street, where it meets Newland St. (between 55 and 75 Newland St.) Park on the dirt road at the gate. Proceed down the dirt road. Before the bridge, there is a path to the north through woodland and into an old quarry. From the bridge you can see a former millpond, now eutropified. On the right after the bridge, there is a path (careful-poison ivy) along the river. There is a variety of plants and trees, and an esker (a glacial stream bed dropped onto the landscape) on the Easton side of the river.
4. The Henrich Woods and Johnson Woods are entered from North Washington Street (across from 107 N. Washington) at an old railroad crossing parking area. Signs for both Woods are there, and a path leads through the Johnson Woods, past a stone fence, and to a path to the left that leads through the Henrich Woods to the Rumford River. There are two vernal pools, a pine forest, high bush blueberries and many other plant and tree species. In spring please be careful of the toads that breed in the pools. In the late summer white Indian Pipes appear from beneath the pine needles.
5. The Lanky Reinhard Pasture Land near 17 North Washington Street (a short way from Route 123,) is an example of woods quickly reclaiming open land. A trail to the left of the sign meanders to the Canoe River. Mixed trees and shrubs, traces of a cart path, various birds, and a bridal path are found in a mix of wetland woods and upland.
6. The Blueberry Knoll Woodlands entrance is between 16 and 17 Stanley Road off South Washington Street in the Blueberry Knoll development. Parking is in front of the gate on the dirt road. The road leads through wet and dry woods, mixed trees, shrubs, mosses and other plants until it reaches a detention pond planted with native wetland plants. Cart paths lead from the pond into
7. Alice Clapp Smalley Wildlife Preserve is off Oak Street where it meets Walker Street near the Norton Country Club (located at188 Oak St.) Parking is streetside. The short path leads through beech and oak trees into red maple wetlands.
8. The Medeiros Preserve and Misty Meadows is on Richardson Avenue (near 100 and 101 Richardson Ave.) at the Attleboro line. The power line service roads lead through the preserve on the north side and beside it on the south. The Medeiros Preserve has more wetland, with orchids, lilies, many shrubs and pools with waterfowl nests. Misty Meadows is higher and drier. Both roads
have many birds (over 100 species) that like the mix of open area and woods.
9. King Philip’s Cave is off Stone Run Drive, a new road across from 271 Plain Street between Mulberry Brook and Bay Road. The“cave”, Norton’s geologic high spot, formed when huge boulders were dropped as the glacier melted. Here too are found varied flowers and mixed woods, including dogwood, blueberry, and evergreens. Remember that climbing the rocks can be dangerous. Paths lead out of the “cave” area to the north beyond the stone wall and into the old cranberry bogs (not Land Preservation property). Please park along Plain Street and take the short walk up Stone Run Drive. There is limited handicap parking at the end of Stone Run Drive.
10. The Winthrop Dahl Nature Preserve, near 198 North Washington Street shortly after the I-495 bridge heading north, has one of the largest vernal pools, surrounded by a variety of trees, shrubs, and the remains of meadow or pasturelands. The proximity to the Mansfield Airport and a large amount of goldenrod attract birds that like open meadows. In Massachusetts open meadows are growing scarce as woodlands take over old farms and abandoned roads.
11. The Crane Farm Preserve is located on Crane St. between Old Taunton Ave and Pine St. There is a parking lot near the bridge over the Three Mile River. It is a link between the 150 acres of the Woodward Forest and the 101.5 acres of conservation land on the eastern town boundary. It is open to the public for hiking, biking, walking, fishing and nature study. A new access area is to be developed allowing canoe and kayak access to the Three Mile River. The preserve includes habitat for wood turtles, extensive floodplain areas, sandy forested upland and existing equestrian trails.