Last month, Joel and I took a field trip to Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in Westport, MA to see what we could see. We’d never been before (in fact, we didn’t even know it existed until we started Googling for something outdoors to do).
Here’s how MassAudubon, who manages the sanctuary, describes it, “Spanning hundreds of acres of protected beach, fields, woodlands, pond, and marsh, Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary was created by generous families who opted to conserve their land. Extensive trail systems offer ocean and pond views from many vantage points and afford visitors a full day of walking and birding.”
It definitely lived up to its billing. The property is quite beautiful and I wanted to share it with you. Right around the corner from Horseneck Beach, if you’re ever in the area, Allens Pond is well worth the visit! (Just be sure to come equipped with insect repellent! The deer flies were pretty fierce in the woods and it’s tick country, too.)
Field and Pond Views
From the main address on Horseneck Road, you start into the sanctuary through fields graced by lovely views of Buzzards Bay.
Below, an arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum) in fruit, growing next to the path.
Coming up, the combination of mown and unmown grass is the very definition of charm, at least to my eye. That’s a look you’ll see sometimes in English country gardens. I’ve never understood why more people don’t do it here.
The stone walls criss-crossing the sanctuary are quintessential New England.
Continuing on, as you head down the Quansett Trail, you get to enjoy views out over the salt marsh.
Hiking back as the afternoon waned, I snapped this great egret flying in to land near a snowy egret. It’s one thing to know from a field guide that the great egret is a bigger bird than the snowy. It’s quite another to see them side by side!
Texture in the Woods
I was struck by how much texture there was in the woods as we hiked further down the Quansett Trail.
Here is a warty-barked red maple tree.
Below is a picture of the upended roots of a tree that must have fallen years ago, judging by the amount of moss. I find the combination of velvety moss and scratchy stone very satisfying, visually.
Below: The pale, smooth stone in front, the dark, striated boulder behind. The almost muscle-like quality of the tree on the left, the twisted knobbiness of the shrub on the right. This section of trail is full of texture.
To the Shore
If you look closely at the photo below, you can see a big crab and a small one.
The beach at Allens Pond is a nesting ground for piping plovers, along with other protected shorebirds. Their eggs are almost perfectly camouflaged in gravel. (Check out this photo, taken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. If you didn’t know the eggs were there, they’d be very easy to miss – and to step on.)
Below, some sanderlings make their living on the ever-shifting edge.
Last but not least, here’s a picture of my sweetie and spotting partner, Joel.
After a good, long, summertime hike, you might enjoy stopping at Handy Hill Creamery (around the corner from the sanctuary on Hixbridge Road) for an ice cream or some fish and chips, like we did. 🍦
What are some spots in your neck of the woods where you like to get out and enjoy nature?