Star of the Sea Reserve

Nestled between town-owned conservation land and the waters of inner Apponagansett Bay, Star of the Sea Reserve shines as a quiet place to explore forests and coastal wetlands. This Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust property has a network of easy trails through the woods that lead to a fascinating old stone bridge across the salt marsh.

Discover Buzzards Bay Sponsored By primary sponsor logo
Discover Buzzards Bay Sponsored By

Features

man walking on the trail at Star of the Sea Reserve in Dartmouth

The trails at Star of the Sea Reserve are clearly marked with red and blue blazes, making for an easy nature walk.

Once a sand and gravel mining area, Star of the Sea Reserve today is an intimate wooded preserve located down a private residential road. The trails here are open to the public to explore this small slice of Dartmouth’s coastal habitats. It’s an easy, uncrowded place to walk with small children or an outdoors-loving dog. At the trail’s end, you’ll be rewarded with a scenic view of Apponagansett Bay from an old stone causeway and bridge.

Trails

The trail network at Star of the Sea Reserve loops for roughly 1.25 miles through the woods and into the neighboring 60-acre town-owned conservation land. This peaceful, interesting walk that will take you under an hour to explore. (Download trail map)

Begin on the red trail, which is clearly marked by boulders on the road. After starting down the path, take a right to walk the longer loop, or go left to head toward the blue trail. This trail can be very wet in spring, but a boardwalk crosses the wettest section to keep your feet dry.

From the red trail, turn right onto the blue trail, which circles through the town-owned property. As you walk, you’ll see how the upland forest gives way to forested wetlands as you get closer to the coastline. (Hunting, shooting, and trapping are permitted on the town property, so make sure to stay on the marked trails and wear blaze orange during hunting season.)

The blue trail – which follows an old bridle path – crosses over a few small stone bridges before coming to a fork. Take a right at the fork, and you’ll find the old stone causeway and bridge (accessible only at low tide) with a beautiful view of the Apponagansett Bay salt marsh.

Habitats & Wildlife

Star of the Sea Reserve and the adjoining town-owned conservation land showcase the gentle transition of the land as it reaches the coast: from forested upland habitats to wet wooded wetlands to salt marshes along the shore.

You can see this natural habitat transition in the plants and animals on your walk. Look for birch and scrubby oaks growing in dry, sandy soils, while rushes and Joe Pye weed sprout in wetter areas. Keep an eye out for frogs, salamanders, and turtles in the wetlands and around the pond. Meanwhile, over at the old stone causeway, fiddler crabs scurry through the marsh and ospreys soar overhead in summer.

Property Owned By

Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust (DNRT) is a nonprofit, accredited land trust. Since 1971, DNRT has helped protect more than 5,000 acres of land and maintain more than 35 miles of hiking trails in Dartmouth.

Details
Size: 43.75 acres
Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Parking: Roadside parking by trailhead (marked with boulders)
Trail Difficulty: Easy/Intermediate
Dogs: Yes (under voice control)
Facilities: None
ADA Accessible: No

Please follow all posted rules and regulations at this property.

Address & Contact Information
Star of the Sea Drive
Dartmouth, MA 02748
41.595718, -70.965313
Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust: (508) 991-2289
Email: info@dnrt.org

Please follow all posted rules and regulations at this property.

Star of the Sea Reserve
Dartmouth, MA
View larger map

Related Stories

State Appeals Court: Mattapoisett homeowner must restore damaged wetlands on Eel Pond

Court decision upholds the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission’s 2015 enforcement order requiring that a Seabreeze Lane homeowner restore filled wetlands and buffer zone along Eel Pond, one of Buzzards Bay’s most delicate coastal salt ponds.

Full Story ›
10 Buzzards Bay herring runs to visit this spring

With spring comes the sound of songbirds, the sight of colorful flowers, the feeling of warm sunshine – and migratory river herring returning to Buzzards Bay’s waters. Catch a glimpse of river herring at one of these 10 herring runs around the region.

Full Story ›
Decision Makers Workshops demonstrate real-world solutions to nitrogen pollution from septic systems

Local decision makers from around the region came together at two free workshops in April to learn about the results of the Coalition’s on-the-ground pilot projects to reduce nitrogen pollution from septic systems.

Full Story ›

Upcoming Events Near Here

StoryWalk
Tue, May 01 -
Fri, June 01
Dartmouth
Puddle Jumpers
Mon, May 21
10:00AM - 10:50AM
Ridge Hill Reserve,
Dartmouth
Buzzards Bay Swim
Sat, June 30
6:30AM - 10:30AM
Fort Phoenix State Reservation,
Fairhaven

Nearby Places To Go

Knowles Reserve

Take a short but fascinating walk through a salt marsh and red cedar forest at the Knowles Reserve in Dartmouth.

Destruction Brook Woods

Don’t let its name fool you: Destruction Brook Woods in Dartmouth is packed with unparalleled beauty.

Cornell Farm

The idyllic pastures and sweeping salt marsh views at Cornell Farm in Dartmouth will captivate nature lovers of every age.

Current Issues

Nitrogen Pollution

Nitrogen pollution is the greatest long-term threat to the health of Buzzards Bay. We all contribute nitrogen pollution to our local waterways. Fortunately, we can all do our part to stop it.

Read More ›
31
out of 100

Bay Health: Inner Apponagansett Bay

Find your water quality score in Bay Health ›