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Newton Park and Conservation Lands

  Webster Conservation Area and Hammond Pond Reservation

LOCATION: Newton Center and Chestnut Hill


Newton Conservators trail map   (Buy a copy of our trail guide)

Location and driving directions on Google Maps for entrances at:

The Street at Chestnut Hill  Hammond Pond Parkway

Warren Street  Madoc Street  

MBTA: a 0.5 mile walk from Newton Center Station, or

a 0.5 mile walk from Chestnut Hill Station

Other maps and aerial photos:   Newton Assessor   Bing   

Connects to: Houghton Garden

SIZE: 114 acres

LONGEST WALK: 2.0 miles (a longer walk that includes this park and another one)

ACQUIRED: 1968-1979


Webster Conservation Area: Conservation Commission

Hammond Pond Reservation: DCR


The largest conservation area in Newton is wooded, with noted rock outcroppings of Roxbury Puddingstone, brooks, ponds, wetlands, fields, and an historic woodland garden.

Activities to enjoy here are walking, jogging, nature study, geology study, birding, rock climbing, and cross-country skiing.

Gooch's Caves - These are Roxbury Conglomerate fissure caves.

Sandstone Ledges - These thick ledges alternate with Roxbury Conglomerate rock. They are sandstone formations that may have been river deposits. You can see the evidence of ripple marks, such as are made by water. Note the very long, almost vertical joints toward the westerly end of the ledges. The ledges are located west of Hammond Pond Parkway and north of the MBTA track, off the southbound lane of the Parkway. Enter the pathway about 600' south of Beacon Street, where a loop trail circles around the ledges.

Deer Park - Mrs. Webster brought a couple of dozen deer into the area many years ago. Today no deer remain in the enclosed area of six acres. A loop trail follows the outside of the fenced area.

Hammond Woods and Pond - The trails and cliffs attract hikers and rock climbers. The pond, as a "great pond" (any pond larger that 10 acres) is state-owned, operated by the DCR. Its average depth is just four feet. Access is from the gravel beach on the west side of the pond, near the parking lot of The Street at Chestnut Hill shopping center. The pond and its adjoining marshes and woodlands provide valuable habitats for a diversity of wildlife, aquatic species, and native plants.

Houghton Garden - This section of the park is described on a separate page.


1650 Thomas Hammond began farming the eastern section.
1852 A railroad line, now the MBTA, was built. The culvert from the 1850 Hammond Brook Canal went underneath the tracks.
1896 Edwin Webster bought the land and moved the Kingsbury house to 137 Suffolk Road. The Websters lived at 307 Hammond Street.
1916 Webster gave 38 acres of the southern half to the Commonwealth.
1935 Webster donated a seven acre playground at the end of Warren Street to the city.
1954 22 acres of the southern half was sold by the state to Congregation Mishkan Tefila, after an unsuccessful lawsuit by the City of Newton that attempted to block the sale.
City of Newton took by eminent domain portions of the former Webster and Houghton lands for conservation.
1972 City bought Webster Vale. This later became the Charles Cohen Conservation Area.
2016 Congregation Mishkan Tefila sold 22 acres of Webster Woods to Boston College
2018 Mayor Ruthanne Fuller announced plans to work to protect Webster Woods


Taking Care of Hammond Pond, by Jennifer Steel, Senior Environmental Planner for the City of Newton

Hammond Pond photo

This park is described in the AMC Massachusetts Trail Guide.

Another AMC book, Exploring in and around Boston on Bike and Foot, describes a 2-mile walk in Webster Conservation Area.

DCR web page

Chestnut Hill Association

Birding reports

History in the Stones

King's Handbook of Newton (1889)

"So broad and sequestered and unfrequented is this lovely forest that no sounds of prosaic human life invade its cloisters, and nothing disturbs the saunterer's reflections but the low songs of the birds, or the scampering of an occasional gray squirrel over the dry leaves."

Wikipedia entry

2003 Hammond Pond project begins

2010 Hammond Pond "Access Enhancements" Proposal

2017 goatscaping project

1970s map of Hammond Woods

Photo gallery

Photos by Anne Kane

Photos on Flickr

... and more ... and more ... and still more

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