Whether you bring your dog, your binoculars, or a good friend (or all three!), you’ll enjoy a quiet walk here at Shoolman Preserve. Between the fields, forest, and wetlands, there’s plenty of nature to explore. In summer, keep an eye out for wild berries; you’re allowed to collect one quart per day for non-commercial use.
Shoolman Preserve gets its name from the Shoolman family, which donated this property for conservation. Edith Shoolman was an avid birder, and her wish was to keep this land wild for the birds and for those who love watching them.
The trail at Shoolman Preserve begins at the parking area on New Bedford Road. This is a flat, easy trail that’s perfect for anyone to get a breath of fresh air. The nearby farmhouse and home are privately owned, so please respect the neighbors. (Download trail map)
From the parking area, begin your walk in one of two directions: on the right trail, which enters the forest, or on the left trail, which first traces the field’s edge. Once you’re in the forest, follow the marked spur trails to destinations like a vernal pool, a holly grove, and a picnic table with views of the Mattapoisett River.
Habitats & Wildlife
The fields, pine forest, and wetlands at Shoolman Preserve were protected as habitat for birds. As a result, you might see many different species here, from titmice and chickadees to bobolink and meadowlark. Deer and fox also make their home in the fields and woods.
Near the river, keep an eye out for reptiles and amphibians such as wood frogs and box turtles. And in the holly grove, admire the greenery of American holly trees — many of which reach dramatic heights.
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. The Rochester Land Trust is a nonprofit organization that works to preserve Rochester's natural heritage and rural character for current and future generations. Since 1997, the Rochester Land Trust has secured over 450 acres for conservation.