If you want to explore a classic Wareham landscape, Westgate Conservation Area is an ideal spot. This property was acquired by the town of Wareham in 2014 with assistance from the Buzzards Bay Coalition. Near its entrance on Papermill Road, discover several cranberry bogs that have been retired from commercial production. The nearby woods are ripe with ferns and moss that grow along trickling streams.
Just beyond the bogs lies the Weweantic River, Buzzards Bay’s largest freshwater river. From here, this water flows south past Horseshoe Mill all the way to the Bay. The remains of mill operations still exist along the river, offering a peek at Wareham’s industrial past.
Visitors to Westgate Conservation Area can plan to spend an hour or more exploring the trails. It can get muddy in spots, so boots are a good choice to wear when hiking here. (Download trail map)
From the trailhead at the parking area on Papermill Road, follow a wide, flat trail to enter the forest. This will lead you to the Bog Loop Trail, a network of grassy paths that encircle the cranberry bogs.
Keep walking southeast into the forest, and you’ll find the River Walk. Stop at the footbridge to take in a quiet view of rocky streambanks, or continue further along the loop that leads past the Weweantic River.
Habitats & Wildlife
With so many different types of habitats, Westgate Conservation Area is a great place for wildlife watching. Look for frogs, turtles, ducks, and water birds in the old cranberry bogs – especially in the easternmost cell, which is the wettest. While walking in the woods, look for signs of deer and turkey.