Friday, May 11, 2012


  By John Nye Cullity

The next Sandwich Conservation Walk will take place this coming Sunday, May 13th.  Yes, it’s Mother’s Day, and perhaps this fairly short walk – 45 minutes or so, can be a part of your celebration.  We will visit Great Hill in East Sandwich, on the Barnstable town line.

Here are two interesting features of this walk: first, it may be the only Cape Cod conservation land trail that simply goes in a straight line for quite a ways – about a mile.  We will hike about half-way to the Hill and back – it continues to Popple Bottom Road.

Long before there was any protected land here (there are 1200 acres of conservation land on the Barnstable side, 32 acres adjacent to the line in Sandwich) in the early 1950s, this clearing was bulldozed from Service Road all the way to Farmersville Road, about two miles, to serve as a fire break.  The enormous forest fire of 1946 must have been the inspiration for this.

Secondly, this walk offers what I think of as a “Balboa moment”, thinking of the conquistador who first viewed the Pacific Ocean in the far distance, from a high ridge in the jungles of Panama.  The hike to Great Hill ascends the bay side of the Sandwich Glacial Moraine – we reach a mostly wooded hilltop - and a long distance view opens up over the outwash plain, with Nantucket Sound and Martha’s Vineyard in the distance.  Though not as spectacular as Balboa’s experience of course, it provides a pleasing similar experience on a Cape Cod scale.

To join the walk, take the Service Road ½ mile east of Exit 4, Chase Road, and park at the side of the road, well off the pavement.  We will begin at 2 PM.  The hike is a bit strenuous.  It will not be held if it is raining.  If you have questions about the walk or the Sandwich Conservation Trust, call me at             (508) 888-7629      .

This view from a tree on Great Hill was taken in 1987, when the town
 line fire break could still be traced as it heads southwest towards
Farmersville Road.  It was bulldozed in the early 1950s.     
John N. Cullity photo