Location: The Hamlen Woods area is located in the Mainstone area which also contains Wayland Hills and Turkey Hill. It lies west of Rice Road, just north of the Cochituate Res. & Gate House. It also contains the Rice Road
Access: Parking is available in the Conservation Area Lot, located on the west side of Rice Road between Mainstone Road and Woodridge Road.
History: In 1878, the town of Wayland enlarged the dam on Rice's Pond (the Snake Brook) to secure a supply of water for the village of Cochituate for fire protection and domestic purposes. Initially, four and a half miles of cast iron pipe formed the water distribution grid. In 1881, water mains were extended bringing public water supply to the households on what is now West Plain Street. In 1892, the reservoir system was expanded with the addition of the earthen dam (which is still intact and functional). George Alonzo Rice (owner of the house now standing at 78 Rice Road near the reservoir) sold the reservoir property to the town.
- The reservoir Basins are in the channel of the Snake Brook. The rocky outcroppings of the banks are extremely old (over 800 million years old). The rock formations are known as the "Rice Gneiss" - gneiss is old weathered granite.
- Roughly 12,000 years ago, Glacial Lake Sudbury lay alongside what is now Rice Road, where corn fields now grow.
- The areas beyond the reservoir basins used to be cleared as pasture land. You can still see remnants of stone walls and large cedar trees (cedars are "weed" species that invade abandoned fields). The assemblage of tree species is still changing in the process of natural evolution from open fields to a mature "climax" forest.
-In the spring and summer, migrant bird species (such as orioles, warblers, and oven birds, spotted sandpipers and wood ducks) are common in this area. Resident birds include kingfishers, great blue herons, woodpeckers, owls, canada geese and mallards.
-The vernal pools come alive in the early springtime with the chorus of the wood frogs. Vernal pools also harbor fairy shrimp and mole salamanders.