Davis-Douglas Conservation Area
Six Ponds East Preserve- (80 acres)
Emery Preserves- (138 acres)
Davis-Douglas Farm- (10 acres), new home of the Wildlands Trust (to be acquired in Fall of 2012)
Town of Plymouth Conservation Land- (53 acres)
Clark Road, Long Pond Road, Ship Pond Road
Rt. 3 to Exit 3 (Clark Road Southwest). At stop sign turn left onto Long Pond Road. Turn sharp left onto Ship Pond Road. Travel 1/4 mile to trailhead on left.
Parking area on left.
The Davis-Douglas Farm Conservation Area is made up of the Six Ponds East Preserve, Emery Preserve, Davis-Douglas Farm and the Town of Plymouth conservation land. Hundreds of acres of open space holdings lie both directly adjacent to and in the vicinity of lands owned by the Wildlands Trust and the Town of Plymouth. In fact nearly one third of the Trust’s holdings are located in Plymouth. In late 2012 Wildlands Trust is poised to purchase the Davis Douglas Farm which will become the new headquarters for the Trust.
The Six Ponds East Preserve is a critical link in an existing assemblage of conservation lands in the Six Ponds area. The ample forests on both sides of Long Pond Road and both sides of Route 3 are an important component of the rural quality that still characterizes much of this area of Plymouth, affording hikers miles of old cart paths and woodland trails that meander through forests including high quality pitch pine/scrub oak barrens typical of the region. The Plymouth/Carver/Wareham barrens, of which this is part, rank among the most biologically significant areas on the entire eastern seaboard.
Emery Preserve West consists of two parts and is located on a glacial upland, just east of Long Pond. The preserve includes several forest types and a small stretch of shoreline on a kettle pond. This land is characterized by rolling topography and dry kettle holes. In the northern section, the trail passes vegetation that still shows the effects of a 1946 fire; pitch pine and scrub oak dominate. Along the road there are more mature oak-pine woods, and to the south the land falls away into a fine grove of white pines in various stages of development. Forest floor plants range from delicate pink lady’s-slippers, starflowers, and pyrolas to the grotesque cauliflower fungus. Occasionally, a great horned owl is found in the tall white pines, while black-capped chickadees, prairie warblers, rufous-sided towhees, common yellowthroats, hermit thrushes, ovenbirds, and other species frequent the northern section. The southern part of the preserve may once have been the site of clay pits and a brick-making operation.
Emery Preserve East is a long narrow strip of land roughly parallel to Ship Pond Road. Begin your walk here on a footpath from Ship Pond Road. Near its beginning, the path crosses an open, but gradually revegetating, former gravel pit and then enters the woods leading east toward Cotton Pond. After a short stretch, the path winds up a hill—part of the Ellisville Moraine— to the north. Some of the pitch pine and scrub oak vegetation to the north probably qualifies as pine-barrens, but a scattering of red maple, gray birch, and aspen appear as the path makes a steep descent. After the trail climbs and falls again Cotton Pond lies immediately ahead. In years when the water level is high, the edge of the pond floods the bushes, and no pond shore plants can be seen. A shrub layer of huckleberry appears in many places while sweet pepperbush, noticeably fragrant in late July and early August, predominates in others. High-bush blueberry bushes are numerous on the shore and inkberry, with its smooth green leaves which lend life to the winter landscape, is also abundant.
The Trust has entered into an agreement to purchase the Davis-Douglas Farm, a beautiful ten-acre property which will serve as the organization’s new permanent home. Long a beloved scenic landmark along Long Pond Road, this small farm lies across the above mentioned 230 acres of conservation lands. The Trust has been working in Plymouth for many years now, and over time it has become evident that Plymouth does not have a central place where people interested in conservation can connect with one another, access local resources, and foster healthy lifestyles.
Wildlands Trust has a unique opportunity to protect this farm. Its farmhouse, buildings, and open fields have been a part of the landscape for over a century. Additionally, in response to the public’s growing interest in land conservation, sustainable agriculture, and outdoor recreation we have embarked on a vision to establish a center for fostering human connections to the land. The Davis-Douglas Farm: A Center for Connecting People to the Land will provide the place for people to engage in conservation-related activities and programs, participate in community gardens and become a destination gateway where visitors can easily access hundreds of acres of conservation land and trails in the Long Pond area. Furthermore, the Farm will provide the Trust with ample space for staff, equipment, and outreach programs.
The local Six Ponds Community has been instrumental in helping to protect much of this area of Plymouth. The Trust acquired these preserves beginning with the donation of the Emery Preserves in 1973. The following families and individuals made these two preserves possible: Mary B. Emery, Arthur H. Emery, Edward S. Emery, III, Richard B. Emery, Mary Charlotte (Emery) Russell, H. Shippen, and Lydia Goodhue. The parcels donated total 142.66 acres. In 2001, the 80 acre Six Ponds East Preserve, previously under a Chapter 61 Forest Management Plan for many decades, was acquired by the Trust and with the generosity of the Six Ponds Community. Between the Six Ponds East Preserve and Emery West Preserve lies Town of Plymouth conservation land, acquired with the assistance of the Trust in 2010. The Davis-Douglas Farm will be purchased by Wildlands in the fall of 2012 again with the generosity of the community and funds from public and private sources.