Lowell Holly Reservation
October 23, 2009
The 135-acre Lowell Holly reservation is named for its donor, Abbot Lawrence Lowell, and has several hundred native American holly trees, which grow naturally only along the New England coast. Within the reservation, owned by the Trustees of Reservations, are four miles of trails and former carriage roads.
The year-round entrance and parking area are off Sandwich Road in Mashpee.
There is a small parking area at the trailhead.
The trails throughout the Lowell Holly area are wide and easy walking.
The trail at this end is at places covered with roots.
About five minutes into the hike there is a culvert and a trail to the left. This connects with the seasonal entrance road, which is closed after Labor Day. At this end of the reservation there are plenty of pines and the trail is covered with pine needles.
As the trail approaches Conaumet Cove and Ryder Beach the number of holly trees increase. The word Conaumet is a Wampanoag word “Kuwunut,” meaning “beach.”
The trail passes to the south of Ryder Beach from where the Ryder Conservation Area borders Lowell Holly. For a longer hike it is possible to connect the four-miles of Lowell Holly trails with those of the Ryder Conservation Area.
The trail continues along the shore of Conaumet Cove with small sandy areas overlooking Wakeby Pond.
The wind was gusty with nearly 12 inch swells on the pond. The temperature was 46 degrees and there was a wind-chill factor.
At the top of the sandy path was this leggy beach tree. This is also the seasonal entrance with a small parking area and a few picnic tables.
The trail that leaves the small seasonal parking area is marked by white squares on trees. It passes close to the western side of Conaumet Cove and around a swampy area. In some spots the trail can be muddy.
In several places along the trails of Lowell Holly there are places to sit and rest.
The trail divides and becomes a loop. I hiked in a counter-clockwise direction heading down the red-marked trail.
This tree is rotted through.
This tree fell over the trail.
The Lowell Holly landscape is scattered with plantings of rosebay and catawba rhododendrons (as well as mountain laurel). According to the Trustees of Reservations, “although natural stands of these rhododendrons have never been found on Cape Cod, the region’s mild climate and acid soils make moist places on the reservation ideal habitat for these trees. Lowell bequeathed the property.”
Here the trail out to Conaumet Point passes between to large rhododendrons.
The trip out to Conaumet Point is about 20 minutes round trip. Back out on the beginning of the Conaumet Point Trail the blazes are again white. Keith Island is visible out on Wakeby Pond.
In about five minutes the trail reaches the Narrows Trail which is blue blazed.
In this part of the reservation there are very few pine trees. However, these five pines seem to have taken root.
The hike out to the tip of the penninsula at the Narrows is about a 20 minute round trip. There are some side paths available with views of Mashpee Pond.
At the tip of the penninsula there is an open area where someone had an illegal campfire.
A small path leads down to the water with a view of the Narrows.
The Narrows Trail loops back along some high ground with limited views of Mashpee Pond. To the right of where it meets the main trail is a swampy area.
From just beyond this swampy area on a side trail it is possible to see the cove at the top of Mashpee Pond.
Along parts of the Narrows Trail the surrounding woods open up.
Back on the white blazed trail.
There are several side trails that go down to Mashpee Pond.
Looking back on the point at The Narrows. The waterway between the two ponds is on the far side of the point.
After completing the loop there is another side trail down to the water.
I sat on this bench for about five minutes and had a snack. There were two fishermen out on the pond. With the wind out of the north, Wakeby Pond was rough, while blocked by the reservation, Mashpee Pond was smooth.
Once back at the seasonal entrance, I decided to return by the seasonal road.
According to the Trustees of Reservations, “For several thousand years before European settlers arrived, the Cape Cod woodlands were home to Native Americans, who made a practice of periodically burning the forests to clear land for cornfields. After their arrival, European settlers converted most of the forests on Cape Cod to agricultural land or woodlots. But it appears that little or no activity by man –such as burning, plowing, or the felling of trees – has taken place for more than 200 years on the majority of land at what is now Lowell Holly. The result is a forest that has largely escaped the influence of man and thus represents a unique natural resource for Cape Cod.”
The hike took me about two hours and 15 minutes with a five minute stop.
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