Sunday Woods – Open Space Delight
On too-cold-to-go-out mornings like this one, the Owl likes to ruminate on some of the conservation spaces in the town of Weston. As a town, I consider us the luckiest on this planet in terms of prior and current residents who saved open space for the enjoyment of all. At some point, the Owl will be doing a larger historical view of Weston Forest & Trail’s role in this, but that will probably wait for my book deal (haha) and the move of the organization and all of its records to the Josiah Smith Tavern later this spring.
One of the most beautiful spaces, Sunday Woods, is usually lumped in with the larger Jericho Town Forest. It is a beautiful 23 -acre piece of land right on Concord Road, and leading to Cherry Brook– huge white pines, hardwoods and stone walls lining the trails. It is one of the most accessible properties and yet I rarely run into anyone on the trails. As writtten on the stone marker, the reason for its name is delightful–it is the woods where families enjoyed their Sunday walks, perhaps after attending church or a soccer game (kidding on latter obviously). It is owned by the town of Weston, with a conservation restriction granted to the Weston Forest & Trail Association.
What many do not realize is that Sunday Woods is one of the town’s newest preserved spaces (okay, not including the monster Case Estates and the less-monstery Wellington Farms), having been purchased in 2002 through CPA funds. The Community Preservation Act (CPA) allows the Town to raise funds through a property tax surcharge matched by distributions from the State’s Community Preservation Trust Fund. CPA funds can be used for acquiring open space, preserving historic resources, developing affordable housing, and acquiring or developing recreational facilites. CPA funds also paid for a 4.5 acre parcel on Church Street, now part of Sears Land.
Weston has an extensive Open Space and Recreation Plan, updated in 2017, and due for another update in 2023. In this incredibly well-written and researched document (oh, all right, the Owl was marginally involved as a committee member), you can see the history of Open Space preservation in Weston, and some of the parcels that are still on the radar for the town and for WFTA, in case donation or purchase are someday options. Sadly, the days of purchase are probably gone–the costs of land in Weston are such that it is largely out of reach. There are a fair number of current residents who have chosen to put conservation restrictions on their land which is not the same as donation–but protects the land forever. Please reach out to Weston Forest & Trail Association if you are ever interested in doing the same.
Today won’t be the day you’ll wander Sunday Woods, but when the weather improves a bit, park your car over in the spaces by the rail trail on Concord Road, then wander up towards Laxfield Road (do not park on Laxfield or Sunday Woods Road–both are private). Across the street you will see the W marker denoting a WFTA-maintained trail–and wander down the carriage road. Imagine being one of the Fiskes out for their Sunday walk or ride. Listen for the barred owls that sometimes call to each other here. Stop at Cherry Brook as it wends its way towards Stony Brook and the Charles River. And then be thankful for those who walked before you and into these woods, those who saved it for all of us.
Yeah, it’s not even Sunday Gratitude day but you get Sunday Woods a day early. Get outside. Not today.