Want to explore an assortment of different environments in a short amount of time? Carvalho Farm is the place to go! Your adventure starts in former farmland, now maintained as a natural meadow, which is a great place to spot birds year-round. Continue into a sun-dappled forest that seems straight out of a fairy tale, where you’ll hike beside a gently flowing stream and over rich wetlands. Keep an eye out beside the trail for wildflowers, and frogs and salamanders hiding amongst the wetlands.
At the end of the trail, you will enter a clearing where a tall oak tree grows atop a massive rock, locally called the “Indian Rock.” The flat top of this rock offers scenic views of marshes to your east and west, making it a great spot for an after-walk picnic.
This property was purchased by the Buzzards Bay Coalition in 2017 with the support of private donors, Fairhaven Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds, the EEA Conservation Partnership Grant program, and the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program. Carvalho Farm is part of the growing complex of protected lands around Nasketucket Bay, helping to protect one of Buzzards Bay’s healthiest waterways.
Carvalho Farm’s flat, easy-to-navigate Indian Rock Trail is just under a mile long, providing an invigorating walk that hikers of all levels can take on. Beginning on the south side of Shaw Road, the trail first passes through the tall grasses of an old farm field. After about a quarter-mile, the trail enters the woods. (Download trail map)
After entering the trees you’ll soon find yourself passing a winding forest stream, and will cross over a series of bog boards that bridge rich freshwater wetlands. Though these boards elevate you above the wettest parts of the marsh, we recommend wearing shoes you don’t mind getting dirty, as this trail can be muddy in places.
After about half a mile, you’ll see your surroundings change as you pass through scrubby coastal pine trees and a marsh full of tall, waving grasses. The trail ends with a small loop around Indian Rock, where you can view the salt marshes on both sides of the clearing.
Habitats & Wildlife
Carvalho Farm’s mix of several different habitats is part of what makes it such a unique place to explore. Its open field and bordering salt marshes are both superb habitats for birds. Look out for red-winged blackbirds, singing black and white warblers, and hunting hawks and osprey. In the warm months, you may even see the orange and black flash of a migratory Baltimore oriole! The field’s mix of native wildflowers also attract numerous bees and butterflies.
Once in the woods, slow down and look to the forest floor to spot a world of fascinating life. In the spring, delicate wildflowers, unfurling ferns, and unusual plants like Jack-in-the-pulpit form a carpet over the undergrowth. Winter snows make the woodland stream stand out starkly against the white snow, making a stunning subject for nature photography.
The Buzzards Bay Coalition is a membership-supported nonprofit organization dedicated to the restoration, protection, and sustainable use and enjoyment of our irreplaceable Bay and its watershed.