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Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary - Norfolk, Massachusetts

Updated on September 2, 2012
Boardwalk | Source
Forest strewn with glacial boulders
Forest strewn with glacial boulders | Source
A dam keeps the wetland wet
A dam keeps the wetland wet | Source
Dragonfly | Source
Great blue heron
Great blue heron | Source
Many aquatic flowering plants
Many aquatic flowering plants | Source

Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary
108 North Street
Norfolk, Massachusetts

Located less than an hour from Boston:
Take Interstate 93 south to Interstate 95 south to Exit 9. Continue on Route 1 South past Gilette Stadium. Turn right on Pine Street, Route 115. Continue on Route 115 to North Street in Norfolk. Turn left on North Street. Look for Massachusetts Audubon Society sign on right.

Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary is maintained by the Massachusetts Audubon Society and abuts Briston-Blake State Reservation.

Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary is a beautiful spot to enjoy natural surroundings with little effort. Almost every corner of the sanctuary is wheelchair or stroller accessible. The terrain is for the most part completely flat - although if you go looking for a small hill there is one.

Built around several interconnected ponds that remain wet year round because of an old dam, the place is full of waterlilies, dragonflies and waterfowl. On our short visit we saw a heron, ducks and of course the ubiquitous Canadian geese. The sanctuary itself is small - only 86 acres, but since it adjoins the Bristol-Blake Reservation with its 140 acres and is only separated from other nearby forest lands by widely spaces homes, chances of seeing wildlife there are good.

A system of boardwalks and wooden observation platforms enhance accessibility and provide wonderful vantage points for viewing wildlife. Benches provide places to wait for wildlife to show up or to simply sit and soak in the beauty of the natural surroundings. Quiet water makes a wonderful subject for contemplation.

After the boardwalks the path grows a bit less accessible. Although the paths are almost completely flat, there are often tree roots in the path that would make passage by wheelchair or stroller difficult. However, if one doubles back to the Visitor Center and approaches the loop from its east end, anyone traveling by either foot or wheel can get to most of the rest of the park from that side. Once again there are some slightly more challenging areas just below the dam, but these can be easily avoided by following the signs that indicate wheelchair or stroller accessible trails.

The dam is made of concrete and was used at one time to power a sawmill. Water spills over the dam onto a cascade of steps that end in a pool from which exits the small, musical brook that enters the system of ponds from the other end. I am assuming this is the Stony Brook to which the name of the wildlife sanctuary refers.

The forest is a mix of pine and hardwoods. In some places the pines have taken over, and there you can see the characteristic open and uncluttered floor of the pine forest. In many places there are boulders left there by the last ice age. Where the pines are not dominant the forest floor is a riot of undergrowth, including myriad wildflowers.

We arrived before the Visitors Center was open and there were only two or three other cars in the parking lot. When we left, the parking lot was full, but we had seen only two other people. It seems that even though the sanctuary is not huge, there are still plenty of places to find solitude.

I hope you enjoy a trip to the Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary. We did.


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    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 3 years ago from United States

      Thank you, Fifthmoon.

    • Fifthmoon profile image

      Fifthmoon 3 years ago from Here~There~No Where

      Great photos enjoyed all of them. Thanks for sharing them with us.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      The dragonflies had been more reluctant to pose this year - I'm glad I finally found a couple that weren't camera-shy! Thank you, Ruby

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is certainly a beautiful area that i would love to visit. I especially loved your picture of the Dragonfly, Thank you for sharing..Cheers

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Thanks, Christopher! My family and I have camped in Emerald Lake, Maidstone, Brighton and Little River State Parks in Vermont over the decades. There is no state like Vermont. The Green Mountains with the sound of water everywhere, cool forest paths and a rich history of being close to the earth give the visitor a deep sense of peace and joy. Time before last we camped at Little River the owls sang to us all night. You inspire me to visit again.

      Yes, Qudsia, thank you, it was very relaxing to visit and close to Boston, too!

    • QudsiaP1 profile image

      QudsiaP1 5 years ago

      The photos are absolutely stunning, it looks like a wonderfully relaxing place to visit.

    • Christopher Price profile image

      Christopher Price 5 years ago from Vermont, USA

      This is a very nice place for urban folks to get a taste of Nature. Thanks Tom, for directing them to this little oasis.

      I'm fortunate to live in Vermont near the Southern tip of Lake Champlain where I can enjoy seeing all this and more literally in my back yard.

      A big Whitetail Doe has been visiting our lower pasture with her offspring for years now, and she and her latest twins came by yesterday evening. She always seems to produce twins, and these two are still spotted though quite well grown.

      Love this stuff. Next time you're in the Northeast you should visit Vermont.


    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Thank you, Frieda! Good subjects make for good photos. With beauty all around, the only problem is choosing what to photograph.

      We'll be heading back there sometime to explore the sanctuary lands across North Street. There the land rises a bit and further in Bristols Pond is nestled in the midst of the trees.

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 5 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Tom, these photos are beautiful and it looks like such wonderful place. I've got to try to get to that part of the country some time soon. Awesome that even though it's not a very big sanctuary, there is still privacy. That makes for one that was very well planned.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      There are a variety of ducks there, too, which is a nice bonus. Mallards are common enough around Boston, but here you can see wood ducks and other more exotic species. Also the ambiance of the place is just so peaceful. Thank you, Yoginijoy

    • yoginijoy profile image

      yoginijoy 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      Wow, this is such a beautiful place and I didn't know it existed. Thanks for writing about it and highlighting it with such great photos and descriptions. Voting up and useful!