Click on photo to enlarge
Click on photo to enlarge
|Throughout the year, protected areas in Bedford display a variety of landscapes, habitats, plant communities and wildlife.|
Visitors are encouraged to submit photographs and reports of interesting or unusual observations to the Conservation Office at (781) 275-6211.
|The Atlantic White Cedar Swamp on Davis Road is an unusual habitat in this area. In colonial times the cedars extended through west Bedford. The wood was valued for many uses, and strips of cedar swamp were passed down in families. Eventually the cedars were outcompeted by red maples. Off Davis Road the largest trees are far back in an almost impenetrable wetland, but some are visible from the road. Woodpeckers have excavated the old trunk in the foreground, with the straight trunks and evergreen foliage visible behind.|
|Hartwell Town Forest is the oldest and largest of Bedford's conservation areas. Its distinguishing feature is the white pine grove off the Hartwell Road entrance. Interconnecting trails within this area attract visitors at all times of year. Many scout groups have used the forest for outdoor activities and events; this year, Bedford Troop 114 gathered for an overnight camp-out. Photo contributed by Rick Fisette|
The upper blue trail through the Minnie Reid Conservation Area is lined with mature native trees - white pine, red oak and white oak, with a bright yellow fall understory of hickory saplings. The herbaceous plants on the wooded sides of the trail include ferns, Virginia creeper, partridgeberry and white wood aster (inset). The entrance to Minnie Reid off Chelmsford Road offers a parking area, kiosk with maps, and a picnic area.
The Clark Conservation Area has a beautiful wet meadow of native plants, including joe-pye-weed, goldenrod, jewelweed, sensitive fern and milkweed. Monarch and swallowtail butterflies as well as hummingbirds visit these plants from August on into fall. The entrance to Clark is on Notre Dame Road opposite Glenridge Drive. The meadow is located left of the path leading west to Davis Road.
Fawn Lake is one of the most popular conservation areas in Bedford. The impacts of increased beaver activity and spreading aquatic vegetation create limitations for some passive recreation, but in general favor the overall conservation goal of increased diversity. Fish, amphibians and dragonflies seek shelter and food sources on and under the floating vegetation mats.
|Wilson Mill Park is a surprising natural and historic area at the end of Old Burlington Road near Route 3. The Vine Brook mill pond flows through a narrow stone outlet after rainstorms, sending the rushing overflow toward the Shawsheen River. The park contains a mature woodland on the west bank of the pond, with a variety of trees, shrubs and vines. The more open areas support many wildflowers and grasses, while the shady woodland borders shelter such species as the late-blooming Heart-leaved Aster (inset).|