Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary, Marshfield

#97 of 161 in Wildlife in Massachusetts
Must see · Wildlife Area · Nature / Park
The Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary is a sanctuary owned by the Massachusetts Audubon Society, the largest conservation organization in New England, in the town of Marshfield, Massachusetts. The sanctuary, formerly the farm of Edward Dwyer, statesman Daniel Webster and the William Thomas family of Marshfield, the first English landowner to live on the sanctuary land, was purchased by Mass Audubon in 1984 thanks to the volunteer efforts of the Committee for the Preservation of Dwyer Farm for the People of Marshfield. The sanctuary contains 507acre of mixed cultural grasslands, red maple swamps, a five-tiered wet panne, Webster Pond and a section of the Green Harbor River. It is the site of the annual Daniel Webster Farm Day celebration. Surrounding lands owned by the town of Marshfield and the Marshfield Airport increase the local open space area to more than 1000 acres (4 km2).
The majority of the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary is a polder, land reclaimed from water by the installation of a dike near the mouth of the Green Harbor River in 1872. The construction of the dike led to the town’s “Dike Feud” in the late 19th century, a political war of words between local fishermen, who opposed its construction, and farmers, who agreed with it, as the draining of the land provided more arable land. Fox Hill, currently the site of an observation platform, routinely sat above water level prior to the dike’s construction, and was known on old maps as Fox Island.
The wet panne is a man-made wetland designed to hold five tiers of water levels in order to attract a variety of birds. Similarly, Webster Pond was created by man, but no record currently exists as to which farmer dug it as his farm pond. The main fields of the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary, as well as the hidden Four-Acre Field, were used for dairy cattle grazing and for growing feed for those cattle.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
30 reviews
  • Beautiful serene place with a lot of wildlife. Varied ducks, geese, multiple deer, red tail hawks, Northern Harriers and a coyote (yet to be seen by me). A lovely place to walk on well marked trails.  more »
  • Great hike. Mostly flat, some boardwalk planks some grass. Probably takes an hour/hour and a half to walk the whole trail. After this trail we became audubon members so we could check out all the...  more »

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