Rich natural beauty and local history are on display at Paskamansett Woods, a DNRT-owned reserve, and neighboring Gidley Woods, which is part of an active private farm whose owners allow visitors to explore its wooded trails. These dense forests are a great place for a refreshing hike, with numerous opportunities to spot wildlife hiding among trees and wetlands.
The Paskamansett River gently flows through Gidley Woods, and features an antique granite bridge that was once an important part of the “King’s Road” that followed a Native American path linking Plymouth to Newport, Rhode Island. The bridge was restored in 2004, but still features the original stone used to build it in the early 1800s.
Roughly 1.5 miles of wide, packed-down trails weave through the trees at Paskamansett Woods and Gidley Woods. These well-maintained paths begin on DNRT land before entering private property at Gidley Woods; please stay on the trail and respect posted rules on these lands. (Download trail map)
Start your walk on the Paskamansett Woods trail off the parking area on Chase Road. This trail first traverses gentle pine-covered hills that lead you behind a residential neighborhood. As you enter Gidley Woods and leave any trace of houses behind, watch the surrounding woodlands change into mature forest of oak, beech, and maple trees. About a half-mile in, you’ll reach the granite bridge, where you can pause to take in lovely views of the Paskamansett River.
After the bridge, the path forks. To the right, the orange trail leads through the trees and ends at Tucker Road. To the left, the green trail loops through a mix of hardwood and pine forest and to a small pond. This is another lovely spot to stop and watch the peaceful water from waterside benches. The open area beyond the pond is private farmland; please be respectful and do not enter these fields.
Habitats & Wildlife
The Paskamansett River is the freshwater portion of the Slocums River. Starting at its headwaters in the Acushnet Cedar Swamp in New Bedford, the Paskamansett flows south through Gidley Woods to the Slocums River and all the way to Buzzards Bay. Protected properties like Paskamansett Woods help to buffer the river from pollution.
The river, pond, and wetlands at Paskamansett Woods and Gidley Woods create excellent habitats for water-loving wildlife. Dragonflies dance over the water’s edge, while hungry birds hunt in pursuit of fish and insects. Keep an eye out for bright white egrets silently stalking the shallows and belted kingfishers, which are distinctive for their crest of head feathers and acrobatic dives.
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.