Together, Hamlin Crossing and nearby protected public properties like LaPalme Farm, The Sawmill, P.J. Keating Woods, and White’s Factory create a developing “greenbelt” along the Acushnet River. This corridor of conservation and recreation lands helps protect clean water and endangered habitats like wetlands.
After Acushnet residents voted to preserve Hamlin Crossing in 2016, the Coalition and numerous volunteers worked to transform this former orchard and farm into a space fit for outdoor recreation. The result is a destination that everyone can enjoy – from picnickers seeking a serene spot for an outdoor meal to walkers and hikers who want a new place to explore.
Hamlin Crossing’s trail is about 0.3 miles long, over uneven terrain that’s mostly covered by leaves and pine needles. Watch your step for protruding tree roots as well as muddy patches, especially around the wetlands. (Download trail map)
The short trail begins with a loop through the wildflower meadow beside the barn. Take your time in the meadow to look for native species like Indian grass, red fescue, and black-eyed Susans that have been encouraged to return to this space, which was formerly overgrown with invasive plants and vines. On the far right side of the meadow, you’ll find a small wetland where tall grasses and cattails grow. Follow the bog boards to your left to enter the main trail through the woods.
Habitats & Wildlife
Hamlin Crossing may be small, but it’s an important habitat that protects clean water and provides a home for a wide diversity of species. The Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program classifies much of the property as Critical Natural Landscape and Core Habitat.
Bird watchers will want to sit for hours to watch the myriad species that flit about Hamlin Crossing’s wildflower meadow. A colony of frolicking robins are the standout here, but a patient observer may also spot blue jays, assorted finches, and even hunting hawks, which take advantage of the open meadow to spot lunch scurrying by. In the woods, you might be lucky enough to spot deer or foxes making their quiet way through the trees. Keep an ear open for numerous songbirds that call these woods home, particularly as springtime blossoms.
Hamlin Crossing’s standout natural feature is the freshwater Acushnet River, which flows along the western border of the property on its way south to New Bedford Harbor and Buzzards Bay. Waterfowl stop over on the river and neighboring wetlands to rest their wings, while migratory fish like river herring and American eels swim beneath the surface. These species use the nature-like fishway here to migrate upstream – all the way from the Bay to the river’s headwaters at the New Bedford Reservoir.
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.