Wright Woods

Year Acquired / 1959 to 2014
Size / 311 acres
Trails / extensive and varied
Properties / 7

Among the first properties acquired by CLCT and still its largest holding, Wright Woods sits within 2,000 acres of protected and wooded open space. It links Walden Pond Reservation with the Sudbury River and a well site of the Town of Concord and abuts land owned by the Walden Woods Project.  For Thoreau, the area around Walden Pond and Fairhaven Hill was one of the ‘wild tracts’ of Concord, a solitary and remote place of water and woodlands. The Wright Woods retains much the same character today.

Initially consisting of gifts by Helen Wright beginning in 1959, the property has been augmented over the years by additional gifts in the Fairhaven Hill area from Henry Seton and his daughter Mary Seton Abele, Eric Parkman Smith, Mary S. Thompson, and Eunice Knight.

Features

Bogs, unusual cliffs, old chimney, river views, historic stone boathouse and terrace overlook, former fairground with abandoned race track

Trail Conditions

This is CLCT's longest trail system, but can be broken down into shorter walks. Trails run through flat areas as well as some challenging terrain. There are wet areas and seasonal river flooding.

Entrances / parking

From Route 2:

Accessible only from the eastbound lanes, about one third mile past the Sudbury Road intersection / Exit at Fairhaven Road and take an immediate left to park along Arena Terrace / Walk up Fairhaven Road to a spot where several private driveways enter on the right / Take the left-most gravel drive and look for a trailhead on your right.

From Sudbury Road:

Turn east into the driveway that is immediately left of the driveway to #657 Sudbury Road / Park in the parking area on the left, owned by the Walden Woods Project / Use road to Robinson well to access trails

Explore Wright Woods

Scout Island

This island in Fairhaven Bay was a gift of Edwin D. Brooks, Jr. in 1981. The property consists of 2.7 acres and is accessible only by boat. It is contiguous with 9.6 acres of upland woods donated to CLCT by Barbara and William Schevill in 1990.

Seton Woods

Adjacent to the Wright Woods parcel donated by her father, this 33 acre property was donated to CLCT in 2014 by Mary Seton Abele, who lived on Fairhaven Hill for most of her childhood and wanted others to enjoy the open space she explored growing up.

Walking in from Arena Terrace on the north, the terrain is quite level until one approaches the river and encounters a number of steep, rocky inclines. On Land Trust land, the main perimeter trail is marked with white CLCT disks; from the Arena Terrace parking this loop walk takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Down by the river and Fairhaven Bay, the trails can be seasonally wet or flooded; the trail marked with orange disks provides a dry alternative and a beautiful overlook of Fairhaven Bay.

The loop trail can also be reached from Sudbury Road. For an approximately one hour walk, follow the trails along the river and then turn left onto the white trail at the old chimney; this will take you around the base of Fairhaven Hill. Some segments on the return loop of this trail cross private property and are available through the generosity of the owners; please respect their privacy and stay on the trails.

One of the most scenic trails in Concord runs from Fairhaven Bay along and above the Sudbury River, past what Thoreau called Grape Cliff. Views of the river and riparian wetlands can be seen within a canopy of hickory, birch and five of our native oak species. At the stone boat house, a path up the hill takes visitors to a scenic overlook from a constructed terrace. This marks what was once the summer home of Helen Wright -- the donor of 239 acres of Wright Woods. There are also lovely views of Brooks Island from this trail. This island in Fairhaven Bay was a gift of Edwin D. Brooks, Jr. in 1981. The property consists of 2.7 acres and is accessible only by boat.

Another trail in the southeast corner of the Wright Woods leads past the Andromeda Ponds, a series of glacial kettleholes that have developed into bogs. Filled with leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata) and other ericaceous plants, these ponds are especially beautiful in the fall.

One of the most fascinating things to note while walking on the trail closest to Walden Pond is the wonderfully pristine nature of this area considering its history. One would never guess that in the late 1800’s literally thousands of tourists would flock to “Lake Walden” on the weekend to enjoy boating and carnival rides. Built by the Fitchburg Railroad to encourage ridership, the fairgrounds included a dancehall, dining hall, racetrack and baseball field, along with a pedestrian bridge between the pond and the fairgrounds. After several major fires - some caused by locomotives casting sparks, and one that burned over 1000 acres in the area – the fairgrounds were finally torn down in 1901. Only granite piers and a cinder bicycle track survive today.

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The land regulations

Please stay on marked trails

Leave the land as you found it

Do not remove plants, wildlife, stones, or historical artifacts

Carry out litter and dog waste and dispose of properly

Dogs must be under control at all times

Please observe posted restrictions for horses and bicycles

No camping, fires, or hunting (except by special permission)

No alcoholic beverages

No motorized vehicles except to provide ADA access