Even though it’s located in the heart of Rochester’s town center, Rounseville II Preserve feels hidden in plain sight. It’s an easy place for Rochester residents to make a quick escape to nature just minutes from work, church, and the kids’ baseball games.
Rounseville II Preserve is named in honor of the Rounseville family, which owned this woodlot as part of the family’s sawmill operations on the Mattapoisett River in the 1800s. In addition to this property, the Rounseville family has worked with the Coalition and others to protect hundreds of acres of land in Rochester.
Rounseville II Preserve has a wide, looping trail that offers explorers an easy half-hour walk through the woods. The trail begins behind the ball fields at Raynor Gifford Park – look for the Wildlands Trust sign at the forest edge. (Download trail map)
From the ballfields, follow the trail to the right until you see a fork in the path. Follow either of these two routes to start on the loop. On this circling journey through the woods, the trail passes an old cranberry bog, climbs a gentle hill, and skirts the edge of wetlands along Sherman Brook.
Habitats & Wildlife
Rounseville II Preserve’s pine-oak forest hides some treasures for the careful explorer. With so many wetlands nearby, this is an ideal place to look for frogs and salamanders. In early spring, listen for the characteristic call of spring peepers singing through the woods near dusk.
Sherman Brook traces the northernmost edge of the property before it flows into Doggett’s Brook, which eventually goes to the Sippican River. In July and August, the scent of flowering sweet pepperbush fills the air along the stream’s edge, where these small white flowers bloom.
The Wildlands Trust is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving land and preserving the natural heritage of Southeastern Massachusetts. Since 1973, The Wildlands Trust has helped protect nearly 10,000 acres of natural and agricultural lands.