Trails at Ashumet Holly

Ashumet Holly pond © Emerson Wheeler

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Explore 1.5 miles of trails at Ashumet Holly. Take the Mystery Trail to see the tallest holly on the property, along with a secluded natural vernal pool.

Ashumet Farm Trail

The trail leads away from Swallow Barn and meanders through the fields where crops including corn, strawberries and asparagus were once grown. Today the fields are mowed annually to maintain early successional habitat, fend off invasive plants, and encourage a diversity of wildlife. Northern Bobwhite are frequently heard here, especially in the spring. The northern stretch of the Ashumet Farm trail is a great place to look upward for Baltimore and orchard oriole nests hanging in the mature black locust trees.

English Holly Trail

Along this wooded trail you will notice an abandoned herring run stretching in a north to south direction. This was an unsuccessful attempt to bring herring (alewife) to nearby Ashumet Pond in the late 1800’s. This canal was hand-dug the entire distance to the shores of the Atlantic. Once completed, water entering from the pond simply seeped into the extremely porous substrate and never traveled the distance. The effort was abandoned and no other attempts were made to fill the canal.

Mystery Tree Trail

Here you will find a magnolia tree dotted with drill holes from the yellow bellied sapsucker. Close by, inhale the musky aroma of the Japanese cedar, the national tree of Japan. Next to the sanctuary’s tallest holly (labeled), stands a twin-trunked holly that is actually two trees growing together. Look closely at the leaf differences.

Wheeler Memorial

The first holly plantings on Wilfred Wheeler’s farm took place at this site. These trees were propagated or transplanted starting in 1925. Many of the trees here are over 100 years old. Look for #11 ‘Goldie’, which boasts unique yellow fruit. This is one of the first hollies to lose its fruit to the sanctuary’s wintering robins.

Look for Lichen

This interpretive route introduces you to the fascinating world of lichens. Lichens are symbiotic organisms comprised of both fungus and algae. They are abundant in environments with good air quality and common along forests and shorelines of Cape Cod, yet are often overlooked. Discover these subtle yet special elements of our landscape using the lichen trail guide available in the sanctuary kiosk.

For your safety and to avoid conflicts with wildlife, we ask that you please:

  • Leave everything as you find it, and do not pick or collect items
  • Remain on the trails at all times to protect plants, animals, and yourself
  • Leave pets at home
  • Refrain from running, bike riding, or driving motorized vehicles
  • Refrain from launching, operating, or retrieving drones or other remote-controlled aerial vehicles
  • Refrain from fishing, hunting, or trapping
  • Enjoy snacks or picnics in designated areas, and carry out all trash
  • Do not smoke 

Trail Safety

Please stay on the trails for your safety, and the safety of wildlife. Poison ivy and ticks are common in Massachusetts, so be sure to wear proper footwear, learn how to identify each, and be on the lookout. Also bring plenty of water, especially during the summer.