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Upper Mill Brook

Location:  The Upper Mill Brook Conservation Area lies east of Concord Road (Route 127) and south of Glezen Lane. It is abutted to the south by the Lower Mill Brook Conservation Area. in north Wayland.

Access:  Entrances to the area may be found off of Concord Road (b/t numbers 115 and 119), off of Glezen Lane (b/t numbers 127 and 133), off of Claypit Hill Road, at the end of Squirrel Hill Road, and at the end of Three Ponds Road. 

History: Several stone artifacts are evidence of human habitation thousands of years before Wayland's first European settlement, but no specific sites of habitation are known. One of the earliest European dwelling sites is on a ridge just west of the conservation area. In the 1800s, much of this area was cleared for pasture and farms. Blueberries and cranberries were harvested, ice was cut from the swamp ponds, and timber and firewood was harvested from woodlots. Some parcels of land remained cleared into the century - remnants of stonewalls, fence posts, and boundary ditches can be seen. Plans for developing a small airport and a large residential development in the 1950s were aborted. Damming and digging has changed the location and size of ponds in recent years.

Natural Habitat/Wildlife
- The impact of glacial activity in this area is apparent: (1) between "H" and "M", a long esker ridge runs north-south - the ridge is the gravel bed of a stream that flowed under the glacial ice cap or in a fissure between sections of ice; (2) the boulder near "J" is a "glacial erratic" deposited as the glacier retreated; (3) Near "L", the large low-lying areas are kettle hole basins - depressions formed when huge blocks of glacial ice buried under sediment melted, causing the over lying ground to collapse; and (4) near "G", small kettle holes abound.

- This area is botanically diverse. In the north and east, dry forests of oak, scrub oak-pine, and birches dominate the higher ridges - sweet fern, spirea, and a variety of grasses are common in the understory. Open fields harbor assortments of wildflowers and butterflies. Small ponds, vernal pools, and a former cranberry bog (near "B") are ringed with high-bush blueberry, swamp azalea, red maple, sphagnum moss, and skunk cabbage.

-In the south and west, there are broad expanses of ponds and marshes which drain into Mill Brook. The marshes are encircled by red maples, elm, alder, high bush blueberries, shadbush, and glosst buckthorn - in the spring brilliant yellow marsh marigolds and bright green skunk cabbage abound. These low wet areas are surrounded by higher evergreen and deciduous woods which harbor vast espanses of ferns, canada mayflower, partridgeberry, star flower, and lady's slipper. Ducks abound. Hawks are common. Herons and kingfishers often over-winter by the open water. Two ponds, dug with backhoes in the past few decades, are favorite spots for young anglers and picnickers. Several grassy fields are kept open. The three small ponds near Claypit Hill Road were formed by small dams.

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Town of Wayland    41 Cochituate Road, Wayland, MA 01778-2614    Tel: (508) 358-7701    FAX: (508) 358-3627
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