Star of the Sea Reserve

Donor : Albert Jones & Joan Whiting

Acreage : 43.75 acres

Location : Star of the Sea Drive

Year Acquired : 1992

Access Point : Two trailheads on Star of the Sea Drive (see Directions below)

Volunteer Steward(s) :  Jack McCarthy & Peggy Bacon

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Caution: Hunting is allowed on adjacent Conservation Commission Property in season

Description

DNRT’s Star of the Sea Reserve was extensively mined for sand and gravel and the old gravel pits, with all the top soil gone and excavated down to the water table in spots, is made up of grey birch, scrubby oaks and bayberry, the insectivorous sundew and cranberry growing in the poor soil conditions. In the eastern portion, rushes, orchids and Joe pye weed indicate some of the wetter areas, along with cacophonous groups of spring peepers.

The Reserve is adjacent to — and shares trails with — approximately 60 owned by the Dartmouth Conservation Commission. This parcel is dominated by oak and beech forest with deciduous wetlands made up of red maple and American holly. The trail system follows an old bridle path, built and used by a farm on Gulf Road, which path was specifically designed to train horses for trail riding. There remains an old stone reinforced causeway leading across the saltmarsh from the woodland to Star of the Sea Drive, including a stone bridge only accessible at low tide.

Directions

Directions: Take Russell’s Mills Road to Star of the Sea Drive. The two trail heads are on the right hand side of the road. The first is at the split rail fence 0.35 mi. south of Russell’s Mill Road. This part of the trail system is quite wet, and may be accessed in the late summer and winter only. Further down Star of the Sea Drive (0.5 mi. south of Russell’s Mill Road) is the second trail head. This trail leads on to the adjacent Dartmouth Conservation Commission land and is a beautiful upland trail with some wide and some narrow trails.