About Brewster's Woods

View of the Concord River from Davis Hill in autumn at Brewster Woods Wildlife Sanctuary

Brewster's Woods Wildlife Sanctuary is a 130-acre property along the banks of the Concord River.

This historic site was formerly part of the country homestead of William Brewster (1851-1919), an early leader in American ornithology and curator at Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology—and the first President of Mass Audubon.


In the early 1890s, William Brewster purchased the 300-acre October Farm in Concord as a respite from his city life in Cambridge. Here he embarked on extensive field work taking full advantage of the forest, meadows, and extensive wetlands on the banks of the Concord River. Learn more >

The sanctuary is predominantly forested with extensive wetlands on the eastern side and smaller wetlands throughout. Two sizeable meadows provide some open habitat, while the floodplain forest along the Concord River hosts the most abundant natural diversity found on the property. A large riverside marsh was apparently created by William Brewster to provide habitat for ducks and other water birds.

Mass Audubon is in the process of developing a master plan that will establish our goals for interpretation and education at Brewster's Woods. Please check back in early 2022 for details on our plans.


Balls Hill Road, Concord, MA
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Trails: Open every day, dawn to dusk (no restrooms)
Visitors must be off the trails before sunset

→ For your safety and to avoid conflicts with wildlife, please follow our sanctuary guidelines during your visit and leave dogs and other pets at home.


Free, donations appreciated


Parking (very limited)



Trail Mileage

1.6 miles
Details & map >

Sanctuary Highlights

  • Wetland impoundment created by William Brewster to attract waterfowl, with plentiful ducks, herons, and other breeding and migrating water birds.
  • Notable wildlife frequently found on the property include fisher, beaver, Eastern Bluebirds, and Pileated Woodpeckers.
  • Part of a conservation area spanning more than 1,700 acres—October Farm Riverfront to the south (jointly managed by the Concord Land Conservation Trust and the Town of Concord), Estabrook Woods to the west, and Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge across the river.