Hamlen Woods and Mainstone Farm

With access from a pair of parking areas on Rice Road, the extensive trails in this conservation area can be used to form a variety of loops both long and short. Color-blazed trails navigate visitors past old reservoirs along Snake Brook, alive with ducks and herons, and through forests where you can keep an eye and ear open for signs of pileated woodpeckers. Outcrops and stone walls offer a view of the underlying geology. The trail along the fields near the upper parking area offers a great setting for springtime bird watching.

Fifth Anniversary: The year 2022 marks the fifth anniversary of the protection of Mainstone Farm. To celebrate, SVT has designed a special two-mile Self-Guided Anniversary Walking Route that you can enjoy during the month of October. The route includes five stops where you can scan a QR code to learn more about the property and the incredible conservation effort.  Learn more and download a map.

Please note that Mainstone Farm is privately owned. Portions of the land are not open to the public. Please stay on designated trails, shown on the map.

Full Description

Hamlen Woods and Mainstone Farm highlight a complex of conserved lands owned by the Town of Wayland, Sudbury Valley Trustees, and other private entities. Additional protected lands, including Mainstone Hills, Reeves Hill, and Turkey Hill, contribute to a network of wildlife habitat and public trails. 

Hamlen Woods encompasses upland forest and an old reservoir with beaver activity. The adjacent Mainstone Farm Conservation Restriction is a sweeping 218-acre landscape that includes agricultural fields and woodland. An extensive trail system links these lands that are protected and cooperatively managed by SVT and the Town of Wayland. 

The trails are marked with colored diamond-shaped signs, indicated by the corresponding colored lines on the map. The blue trail will lead you from the Hamlen Woods parking area, north to Reeves Hill Conservation Land, over a one-way route of approximately 1.75 miles. The red trail will take you on an approximately 4.5-mile circuit through all of the connected areas.

Use caution while walking on Rice Road if you plan to link your walk between the Mainstone Farm parking area and Turkey Hill Road.

  • Outstanding natural features include many outcroppings of bedrock, mostly Westborough Quartzite, and a kettle hole formed by a glacier.
  • Stone walls provide evidence of earlier pastures, as do large cedar trees.
  • The ponds that greet you near the Hamlen Woods parking area on Rice Road were created when Snake Brook was dammed in colonial times, initially to create Rice’s Pond. The dam eventually was enlarged to create a reservoir for nearby Cochituate Village, but its use as a water supply ended in 1929.
  • The banks of ponds and streams here include outcroppings of ancient bedrock, a formation of weathered granite known as “Rice Gneiss” (named for nearby Rice Road).

Directions

Hamlen Woods:

From the intersection of Route 20 and Routes 126 and 27 in Wayland, go east on Route 20 1.3 miles. (If you get to the Weston town line, you have gone too far.) Turn sharp right on Old Connecticut Path. Go 0.5 mile. Turn left on Rice Road. Go 1.7 miles south to an unpaved right turn into a small dirt parking lot.

Click here to visit Google Maps for specific directions from your home.

Mainstone Farm:

With mapping software, search for this address: 196 Rice Road, Wayland, MA

From the intersection of Route 20 and Routes 27/126  in Wayland, go east on Route 20 for 1.3 miles. Take a sharp right turn onto Old Connecticut Path. Go 0.5 mile and turn left on Rice Road. Go 0.6 mile to a parking lot on your right. The lot is marked with a “Mainstone Farm Trails” sign. The red trail proceeds along the edge of the field to a gate at the tree-line.

Click here to visit Google Maps for specific directions from your home.

Nearby Nature Sightings

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A great blue heron at Hamlen Woods in Wayland, photographed by Shelley Trucksis.
Shelley Trucksis photographed this great blue heron at the Old Wayland Reservoir in Wayland's Hamlen Woods.
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Ghost plant at Hamlen Woods in Wayland, photographed by Shelley Trucksis.
Shelley Trucksis photographed this "ghost plant" (Monotropa uniflora) at Hamlen Woods in Wayland.
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An eastern phoebe at Hamlen Woods in Wayland, photographed by Chuck Hill.
Chuck Hill photographed an eastern phoebe and a great blue heron at Hamlen Woods in Wayland.