This page is about Allens Pond in Dartmouth. You can also go to the general Dartmouth page for other preserves there.
Massachusetts Audubon Society has a large preserve, Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary (visited Spring 2020), in Dartmouth. It has three entrances, and even more distinct types of trails. If you open the map, you can see many trails listed. The property has over 600 acres. The diverse environments include a long protected beach area, woods, salt marshes, fields, and of course the pond itself.
We started our visit with the Beach Loop Trail (shown at the bottom of the PDF map linked to above), easily accessible from the Field Station Entrance. The path first goes by an Osprey nest that is near the parking lot. This is a slide show of an Osprey hovering and then landing on the nesting platform:
And a close-up of the Osprey:
Not surprisingly, the Beach Loop Trail leads you down to a very nice beach.
Some areas of it are very rocky.
We walked mostly along the dirt road that forms part of the loop walk. The road is actually an access road to private houses that are just outside of the preserve area. This view is from a different direction, across the pond, and gives a good view of the handful of houses there.
Terns were diving for fish and often coming up with one.
There was a Killdeer (Plover family) flapping around on the ground in one of the roped-off areas. At first we thought it might be injured! But eventually we realized that it was doing some vigorous grooming.
Here is a slide show of 4 photographs of the bird grooming.
There was also come pretty little beach flowers there.
Audubon has bird houses up, allowing us to see an adorable Tree Swallow.
The next section of the property we walked was the Quansett Trail, including the Fresh Pond Trail and the Tree Top Trail (center-left on the PDF map linked to above). The hike was very nice and woodsy, with occasional views of the salt marsh. The trail is well maintained.
Side story: This visit was in 2020, during a phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. At one point on this trail we saw a group of about 4 people. One fellow said, upon seeing us, "Shields up!" and then they put on their face masks. (Star Trek reference, in case you aren't familiar with that.) We stepped off the path and gave them plenty of space to pass us.
There was an impressive wild flower there, pretty and tall ... almost as tall as Anne! It was Heracleum maximum, or Cow Parsnip. Note that there is an invasive weed that looks similar, Hogwart, that is actually dangerous (it can burn your skin).
The Fresh Pond Trail goes around a fresh-water pond. The edge was filled with tall grasses, and the water was popular with ducks.
Our guess is that these tracks in the mud are from a river otter, but we are not certain.
There is a view point in this section descriptively called 'Poison Ivy Rock'. The title wasn't exaggerating; there was a lot of poison ivy there. No pictures of the poison ivy to share with you.
The Stone Barn Farm entrance can be driven to (on a rather rough dirt road) or walked to via the Quansett Trail. This entrance has an ADA compliant trail to a wetland, you can go two directions and a trail that connects to their 3rd property entrance (which we have not yet used). There is, indeed, a stone barn there. In non-coronavirus times they have various programs held in the barn.
We took the East trail from the barn. This section of trail is fairly new, and allows all 3 entrances to be connected. The trail goes through woods and some tall marsh grasses.
After passing through a field, there is a view point overlooking a salt marsh, with Allens Pond beyond that and Buzzards Bay in the far distance. This is a good bird watching location. If you refer to the map, this is the viewpoint shown near the Grassland Trail.
One more image from our way back to our car:
Updated September 2020