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Why Bird Park in Walpole, Massachusetts, is One of the Best Places for a Walk in the Boston Area

Pond at Bird Park, East Walpole MA
Bird Park, Walpole, Massachusetts.

by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on 3/21/17. All photos by Eric unless otherwise noted.

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A tour of New England requires plenty of time -- perhaps a lifetime, as every community in New England offers some form of pure regional flavor.

It's just not the obvious travel guide destinations that ultimately put New England on the map as one of the great regions of the United States, but also the lesser known communities. In the small New England towns and villages, it is easy to find unspoiled, non-commercialized areas that offer true rest and relaxation. A great example of "hidden New England" is Francis William Bird Park in the appealing southwest Boston suburb of Walpole, Massachusetts -- a town mixing suburbia with rural farmland. This pastoral gem boasts 89 acres of gentle rolling parkland framed by tall, majestic trees and a scenic part of the Neponset River. Large stone walkways lead you past open, grassy fields, small walking bridges overlooking the water, mature shade trees, tree groves, and ponds. Recreational opportunities abound -- a well-constructed playground for children five years-old and younger, tennis and basketball courts, cross country skiing, picnic areas and a bandstand for concerts. If you don't feel like walking, sitting on one of the many benches offers opportunity to peacefully reflect and watch the world go by.

Architect John Nolen designed Bird Park, which was created and endowed by Charles Sumner Bird in 1925 and his wife Anna in memory of their son Francis William Bird (1881-1925). Nolen envisioned Bird Park as "a sequestered breathing place in the heart of East Walpole, a combination of broad, sun-swept meadow lands, speckled with shadowed glades, higher tree-screened knolls for the lover of shade, the whole set to the music of a babbling stream."

Times have changed, but Nolen's vision has remained at this relaxing oasis, no matter what time of the year. Thankfully, the Trustees of Reservations (overseeing 53,000 acres on 94 reservations in Massachusetts), with a deep respect for Bird Park's beauty, acquired the land in 2003. The Trustee's mission is "to preserve, for public use and enjoyment, properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value in Massachusetts."

They have certainly done just that at Bird Park, as the maintenance of the land looks better than ever. It is unspoiled New England land to enjoy and respect, a wonderful respite from the hustle and bustle of metro Boston.

Let's take a close-up look starting right now!

You know this is going to be a great walk just by approaching one of the many entrances -- this one from Gate Way...
Bird Park entrance from Gate Way

Or, from the Rhodes Ave side just past the Union Congregational Church...
Stone Bridge at Biord Park, East Walpole MA

Whatever entrance you choose, the walk gets so nice in a hurry no matter what direction (late spring photo)...
Perfect walking paths at Bird Park, East Walpole MA

Beautiful stone bridges take you from one scenic area to another...
Stone bridge at Bird Park, Walpole MA

And small wooden bridges crossing streams help the cause, too...
Wooden bridge at Bird Park, East Walpole MA

So you can walk through the forest...
Bird Park forest, Walpole MA

or take a walk around one of the ponds...
Pond at Bird Park, Walpole MA

Pond at Francis Bird Park, Walpole MA

Bird Park, however, is not just about scenery. A historic stone bandstand is the setting for music performances and other entertainment during the warmer weather...
Stone bandstand at Bird Park, East Walpole MA

Bird Park offers bike racks, a "tot lot" playground, tennis courts, and a basketball net -- perfect for families -- but it is the more than three miles of walking paths leading to beautiful scenery that makes this park so special. Here, we leave the park to a beautiful pond and church scene with hopes to return as as soon as possible!
Church scene at Bird Park, Walpole MA

Bird Park is located on Polley Lane (look for the parking lot across from the park) in Walpole, MA. Tel. (508) 669-6136. We encourage you to also visit the Trustees of Reservations web site.

Related article:
Visit downtown Walpole, Massachusetts

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