Why Bird Park in Walpole, Massachusetts, is One of the Best Places
for a Walk in the Boston Area
Bird Park, Walpole, Massachusetts.
by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on 3/21/17. All photos by Eric unless
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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
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
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...
Or, from the Rhodes Ave side just past the Union Congregational Church...
Whatever entrance you choose, the walk gets so nice in a hurry no matter what
direction (late spring photo)...
Beautiful stone bridges take you from one scenic area to another...
And small wooden bridges crossing streams help the cause, too...
So you can walk through the forest...
or take a walk around one of the ponds...
Constant upgrades happen at Bird Park, too including this new (2017) paved path around Willow Pond...
Bird Park, however, is not just about scenery. A historic stone bandstand is the
setting for music performances and other entertainment during the
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!
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.
downtown Walpole, Massachusetts
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