Mill Pond Conservation Area, Summer 2022

Mill Pond Conservation Area is a unique property in the public lands offered by WLCT.  This 8-acre gem is located at 62 Reed Road near the Head of the Westport River and has just a ¼ mile worth of trails, but offers a lot along the way. The property was donated by Dorothy Sang in 2007 with the intention of making it accessible to the public. A local landscape architect donated her services and produced a plan that makes a place for the community to enjoy with an emphasis on edible plant interaction. An apple orchard was planted as well as a large raspberry patch from which visitors are encouraged to harvest a snack. Neighbor Troy Robello has been involved for years tilling space for vegetables and planting many bulbs and perennials.  Mill Pond is a real a great example of a community coming together on the land.

Mill Pond, East of Gifford Road, Photo Courtesy Westport Historical Society

The property offers other unique features aside from the orchard including a steep ridgeline dominated by beech and white pine winding down to the banks of the Noquochoke River. At the terminus of the trail the ruins of a large dam remain and echo the history of Westport. This dam used to create a nearly 44 acre pond in an area between Reed and Gifford Roads. From the mid-18th through the mid-19th centuries, water from the Noquochoke (Upper East Branch) and Bread and Cheese Brook powered a network of dams that were crucial to the early economy of Westport.

WLCT and the Westport Historical Society will be hosting an event on May 13th led by Richard Gifford focusing on the history of the mills. You can sign up for the event here

With all its history, both old and new, Mill Pond is once again ready to evolve. WLCT will make small changes this spring on the property to better serve our community. The catalyst for these changes stems from a deeper engagement with partners on educational programming, including a partnership with the Westport River Watershed Alliance. We want to ensure that those experiences would be exciting, educational, and more accessible. The parking lot will be upgraded to include a more accessible parking space with enough space to turn a bus around. Accessible raised beds will also be installed adjacent to the parking. The existing winding stone dust path will be widened to accommodate those with mobility challenges, and this path will lead to an outdoor classroom space that will include a stage with seating. Be sure to stop by this coming season at Mill Pond, grab a peach, a squash or some berries and see what’s new!

Asian pears on green leaves Mill Pond
Asian Pears, Mill Pond Conservation Area, Photo by Greg Stone