Red Brook Pond Conservation Area
by Gordon Schimmel
TRAIL MAP for Red Brook Pond
"We need the tonic of wildness.... We can never have enough of nature."
~ Henry David Thoreau
Preserving more of nature was the major motivation for the Bourne Conservation Trust's decision in1986 to embark on the largest purchase of land since the Trust's founding just a few years earlier. Although individual gifts of land pre-date the BCT decision to undertake the Red Brook Pond Project, there is little doubt that the pledge to raise 1.3 million dollars (more than twice that amount in today's dollars) was our largest major commitment to open space preservation.
The large parcel of 31 acres was slated for high-density residential development of nearly 40 houses that instead now serves as an environmental bridge connecting Red Brook Pond and the privately owned cranberry bogs to the north and east. The purchase of smaller parcels directly on the north edge of the Pond completed a total of more than 40 acres of woods and shoreline that, in Thoreau's words, forever preserve "the tonic of wildness" to be enjoyed by all.
Exploration of the area begins at the small parking area on Thaxter Road where trails lead up into the wooded ridge for a short walk leading to the bogs, or down along the north edge of the Pond. Bourne historians note that the Red Brook meandering through the valley was dammed sometime in the nineteenth century to provide a larger body of water for the Macomber Mill, once the largest on Cape Cod. The dam now serves as the foundation for Shore Road.
The Pond is a focal point for each turn of season. Spring can be raucous as a male swan defends his nest mate against incursions of Canada geese, or as peaceful as painted turtles, sunning themselves on a nearby log. Summer brings kingfishers, osprey, egrets, great blue and green herons. Fall features quiet reflections of local color, windswept wavelets and the annual arrival of bufflehead ducks. Winter debuts with sounds of an early snow's hiss on the water, the low moan of wind high in the woodland conifers, and the surprise of skim ice.
Two verses from the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament note the seasonal change to Spring that occurs ever year at the Pond:
"For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land…."
Historians tell us that "turtle" is an ancient word for dove, derived from the Latin turtur. In the language of those days, turtle refers to a bird, the Turtle Dove, a cousin of our Mourning Dove. Walk the trails of discovery at the Pond and the surrounding wood. Enjoy a quiet escape from the busy-ness of everyday life. Listen for the song of the dove; listen again and you may hear the soft "voice" of turtles as they sun themselves on a nearby log. Listen....
Red Brook Pond Slideshow
Click link, or image below, to open slideshow in new window.