I'd had the Horseshoe Mill trail on my list of trails for quite some time but never made it a priority because I assumed it was at the far, far end of Wareham. Insert old saying about what happens when we make assumptions.

I finally looked up the directions and I was surprised to see that the Weweantic River Reserve at Horseshoe Mill was just minutes, practically seconds, away from the hustling, bustling Wareham Crossing area of town.

Owned by Buzzards Bay Coalition, the Weweantic River Reserve at Horsehoe Mill only had its grand opening last November, making this spring the perfect time to visit.

attachment-TSM Weweantic River Reserve (4)

According to the Coalition's site,

 The Weweantic is the largest freshwater river that flows to Buzzards Bay, and rich populations of fish, plants and other wildlife call the Weweantic River home. Prior to the project, migratory fish like river herring were blocked by the crumbling remnants of the mill dam preventing them from accessing upstream spawning habitat. The recently completed restoration, which included the removal of the dam, allows the migrating fish to freely swim upstream to access more than three miles of freshwater spawning grounds.

Of course, nothing I read quite prepared me for the absolutely stunning sites within the reserve. If you had woken up from a very deep sleep and found yourself along the banks of the Weweantic River as it passes through Horseshoe Mill, you really may wonder if hadn't been magically transported to western Massachusetts.

There are so many things I could say about this trail, but mostly that it was easy to navigate, on the shorter side if you're out with kids. However, a short trail does not mean you can't burn a good hour stopping at every bend of the river to explore what's there. Quite frankly, as an adult who is aware of how rare these spaces are, I probably spent a lot more time stopping and "wow"-ing than the kids did.

If you're lucky, you can sit and stay for a while, uninterrupted,  at the foot of the gravel path that ends at Horseshow Pond and really escape for a minute.

attachment-TSM Weweantic River Reserve (3)

This is one of the best places to get your kids outside to explore, dip their toes in the water on a hot day, see all the critters, and when everyone's had enough, reality is just a five-minute drive away.

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