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A guide to 8 nature trails in Harwich

Woodlands, Wetlands & Wildlife, August 2017 Cape Cod LIFE |

The Lee Baldwin Memorial Woodlands (5), is a serene destination just a short distance from Route 28.

Located between Chatham Road and Route 39, Thompson’s Field Conservation Area (8) consists of 57 acres, with wide-open spaces and multiple trails totaling 2.75 miles. Leslie Kennedy Shaw, a dog walker from Harwich, regularly visits the area with her Maltese poodle, Inspector Gadget, and three or four other pooches. “The location is perfect,” she says, “and the sunsets here are amazing.” Walkers can enjoy a multitude of trails that wind through open fields and pine forest.

For a quick five-minute meander, there are two trails located a short distance from Route 28, that each offer a little over 100 feet of boardwalk leading to scenic vistas. Accessed from Lothrop Avenue, Lee Baldwin Memorial Woodlands (5), named for the late naturalist and trustee, features a short boardwalk through the woods. A bench at the end is a relaxing perch where one can gaze upon a red maple wetland and enjoy the quiet. Accessed from Route 28, the A. Janet DeFulvio Wildlife Sanctuary & Boardwalk (3) offers pleasant views of an expansive marsh. The property was donated to the trust by the DeFulvio family, and highlights include a 20-foot osprey-nesting platform. In fall, the area’s tupelo trees turn a striking red.

On the other end of town, visitors can explore the Monomoy River Conservation Lands (10), which are located just within Harwich’s border with Chatham. With 1.25 miles of trails stretching along the Monomoy River (a.k.a. Muddy Creek), visitors can take a leisurely walk through the woods. The trails have benches overlooking the river, and those that make their way to the trail’s end are rewarded with distant views of Pleasant Bay.

In all, Harwich’s nature areas offer a diversity of trails and topography, wildlife and natural scenery, and walking and hiking areas to explore and enjoy. “In this special corner of the Cape, Harwich offers the curious hiker a chance to walk woodland trails, enjoy sweeping marsh vistas and reflect by picturesque ponds,” Lach says. “It’s always inspiring.”

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