The trail at Doggett’s Brook Recreational Area opened in 2014 to link the Dexter Lane ball fields with the Wildlands Trust’s Lincoln P. Holmes Memorial Woods, which had been cut off from public access. Today, you can walk from the ball fields through the woods to discover mossy forests, a quiet reservoir, and the sandy-bottomed waters of Doggett’s Brook.
A log road called “The Long Bridge” used to pass through this land, connecting Sippican Harbor with the church in Rochester center as part of the cranberry industry. You can still see evidence of these historic uses here and there: abandoned cranberry bogs border the banks of Doggett’s Brook, and cranberry plants still flourish in wet places throughout the woods.
The 1.5-mile trail through Doggett’s Brook Recreational Area begins at Dexter Lane Field. Walk straight past the restrooms and between the ball fields to the trail sign at the edge of the woods. Then follow the road to a field, where you’ll see a kiosk welcoming you to the conservation area. The loop trail begins here. (Download trail map)
Walk left from the kiosk to travel the trail clockwise (marked with white arrows). You’ll soon see a secondary trail to the right, which leads to a vernal pool that’s fascinating to explore in spring and early summer. Or walk right from the kiosk to travel the trail counter-clockwise (marked with blue arrows) and follow the course of Doggett’s Brook as it journeys toward the Sippican River. The far end of the trail passes uninterrupted through the Wildlands Trust property.
Habitats & Wildlife
Doggett’s Brook Recreational Area protects several special habitats and species. The area’s namesake stream, Doggett’s Brook, is one of the few places in Rochester where you can find native sea-run brown trout. You can catch them if you have a valid recreational freshwater fishing license.
Also hidden in the forest is a large vernal pool. Amphibians such as wood frogs and spotted salamanders lay their eggs in these temporary ponds, which usually dry up by mid-summer. Look carefully along the edge of the vernal pool in springtime for their white, jelly-like egg masses floating near the surface.