Wattles Pond

Located on Longley Road just south of the Pepperell town line, these 42 acres were donated by Peter and Dorothy Rinaldo and Anne and Marion Manderson in 1980. The history of the pond reveals that it was used to harvest ice and there is the site of an old ice house on private land on the peninsula. From the road, Wattles appears to be two ponds because the narrow knolled peninsula juts into the pond, almost bisecting it. It has become a popular fishing and skating spot. Kayaks can also easily be accommodated at its gently sloping banks. Several cars can be parked at the Trust sign just off the road or at the northernmost cart path.

Hiking and cross-country skiing is best started from the northern cart path alongside the pond. At the back of the pond a footpath goes off to the right. One of the few black tupelo trees in Groton (Nyssa Sylvalica) is located on the pond side of this path. In the fall this medium sized tree can be distinguished by the brilliant red color of its plain glossy elliptical leaves. In the winter its horizontal gnarly branches are distinctive. Big silver maple trees line the back edge of the pond.

The foot path along the back of the pond should only be hiked if one is well covered since poison ivy is abundant here. There are picturesque views and lovely spots where one can rest and contemplate. Behind a large fallen tree one can see an overflow ditch which keeps the pond from flooding Longely Road after heavy rain. The pond has no surface outlet and, as a result, its level rises in the spring to cover the path and drops in the fall. The foot path dead-ends at a stream on the south side of the property. A trail branch to the new subdivision provides a link to Nashua Road.

If one bears left at the back of the pond past a small knoll, the trail gently slopes down through woods of white pine and mixed hardwoods. This trail is used by equestrians since it links bridle trails in both directions outside the property. After a 10 minute hike one arrives at an intersection on private property. The trail to the right crosses a brook on Pepperell Town land. The shortest way back is to retrace one’s steps.

Among the wildlife observed at Wattles Pond are mallard ducks, Canada geese, frog, painted and snapping turtles, pileated woodpeckers and barred owls.