Grassy Pond Life Course and Trail

Grassy Pond is a lovely little wooded conservation area, owned by the Town since 1971 and managed by the Westford Conservation Commission. This nearly round, shallow pond may be a glacial kettle hole. It has no inlet or outlet, is fed by ground water, and occasionally dries up in late summer or fall. [In 2016, it did indeed dry up, for the first time in decades.] Because of this drying pattern, it often does not support fish and is termed a vernal pool. Wood frogs, which only lay their eggs in vernal pools which have no fish to eat their eggs, breed here in years when the pond is fish-free. Sometimes fish are introduced to the pond, however, and they live until the next dry spell. When this happens, hooded mergansers and other fish-eating birds will visit. Emily Fletcher, an amateur botonist, who lived and worked in Westford in the late 1800’s, found many rare plants in Westford which she collected and donated to Harvard University herbarium. One of those plants was a grass, Juncus pelocarpus, which she found growing on the bed of Grassy Pond, when it was dry. It has not been found since, but we still have hope that we may see it in a dry year.
This conservation area is located on the north side of Plain Rd., between Depot St. and Stony Brook Rd. There is a large, well-maintained gravel parking lot. There are two picnic tables, one at the parking area, and one about 1/4 way around the pond (walking clockwise), which was constructed by an Eagle Scout to be wheelchair accessible. The whole trail from the parking lot to the picnic table was designed to be wheelchair accessible, but the trail has deteriorated to the extent that this is no longer an accessible trail. The area has a 1/2 mile walking trail around the pond, with a 1/2 mile jogging trail as an extension. Twenty exercise stations are placed around the pond as a “Life Course”. The short trail, access to the pond, and the life course makes this a great trail for families with young children. This fairly level short trail is also a great place to take a walk when recovering from illness or surgery. This is also a restful place for an evening walk, when green frogs, bull frogs, tree frogs, cicadas, and crickets can be heard. Dogs on leash are welcome here.
At Grassy Pond, you will enjoy walking on wide trails in an oak/pine forest. There is much high-bush blueberry, and a small stand of mountain laurel can be seen half-way around. In May, many pink ladies slippers are scattered under the pines. In fall, the foliage around the pond is lovely. Bring your binoculars and you can enjoy the many woodpeckers, including pileated woodpecker, song birds, great blue heron, mallards and merganser ducks, and in the evening you are apt to hear the resident barred owl calling, “Who cooks for you?”

Location

Parking is available off Plain Road near Villanova Drive,

Parking: Ample

Parking, trailheads and trails for Grassy Pond Life Course and Trail

 

Topographic Map


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Difficulty

Easy

Activities

  • Hiking



Properties