Old Aucoot District’s more than 300 acres are actually a patchwork of nine linked Mattapoisett Land Trust preserves, each with its own distinctive features. Read a book on the bench next to Grace Pond, or head to Buckley Bridge to listen to the quiet trickle of Pine Island Brook as it flows to Mattapoisett Harbor. In the warm months, enjoy a picnic in the wildflower-filled meadows of Grace Preserve, or check out the blueberry patch in the restored community garden.
In the winter, these woods become a great place to look and listen for the many species of woodpeckers that live here, and which stand out among the bare branches with their red crest feathers.
Old Aucoot District offers four miles of trail for you to discover. Two paths lead from the main parking lot on Bowman Road: the northeastern path is a short loop through forested wetlands, while the southern crosses wildflower-dotted fields, passing a pumpkin patch and an old bus covered in vines. This trail circles the peaceful waters of Grace Pond before reaching a fork, where it connects with a larger trail network. (Download trail map)
At the fork, the trail branches south and west. The south trail offers a short, pleasant stroll in the woods before ending near Angelica Avenue. For a longer hike, choose the west trail, which passes through wetland-patched woods. After crossing the bridge over Pine Island Brook, the landscape changes to upland forest filled with pine trees and carpeted with ferns.
At the next intersection, you’ll enter the Hiller Trail loop. This loop begins at the blueberry field, which is being restored into a community garden. This trail offers two cross-paths through the loop that allow you to choose when you’d like to circle back. However, if you’re hiking during the spring, we recommend continuing to the vernal pool, just off the main trail on the loop’s far side.
Habitats & Wildlife
Old Aucoot District’s array of habitats support a wide variety of coastal wildlife. Spring and summer blooms in the meadows nurture important pollinators like bees, birds, and butterflies that flit through the tall grasses. In the spring, Brownell Preserve’s vernal pool is an excellent place to investigate the life cycle of frogs and salamanders. These amphibians lay their clumps of eggs in these temporary ponds.
This dense area of preserved land helps protect the waters of Pine Island Brook, which ultimately flow to Buzzards Bay. A walk here at dawn may reveal shy woodland mammals like deer, foxes, and coyotes emerging from the woods for a drink. You may also spot small fish swimming in the stream or turtles sunning themselves along the water’s edge.
The Mattapoisett Land Trust is a nonprofit organization that works to preserve land to enrich the quality of life for Mattapoisett residents and visitors. Founded in 1974, the land trust now holds properties totaling more than 650 acres.