Pine Barrens and Red Brook at the Lyman Reserve, Plymouth, MA

On a nice, beautiful summer’s day, I decided to check out the Lyman Reserve in Plymouth, MA. Or is in Bourne? Or Wareham? This beautiful, hidden gem is spread out among the three towns.

At the parking lot, I had two choices: Check out Red Brook and the pine barrens, or go follow the Beach Trail. I decided to check out Red Brook first.


1. The trail to Red Brook

It’s nice and cool in the shade. 

As I continued down the path, I noticed something interesting: cattails. As invasive species take over, being able to spot these in New England is becoming rare.

Cattails are increasingly rare to spot in New England. 

Soon after, I was met by Red Brook. This tidal stream is 4.5 miles long and flows out into Buttermilk Bay. It plays a pivotal role in the lives of sea-run brook trout.

Red Brook

Walking down the path, I discovered a few other nice places to enjoy the brook.

Moving on, I found a nice, shaded spot along the river. I was thinking about jumping across, but decided against it.

I could have tried to jump across, but I decided against it. 

2. Exploring the Pine Barrens

Pine barrens. Such an ominous name! What could this be?

This upward path was leading me away from the shade.

I could see that this path was going to take me away from the cool, shady area surrounding the brook.

At this post, go left to continue the loop. 

At this post, take a left to continue the loop around the pine barrens. I explored both sections. Going right, I found another trail that eventually led into an overgrown path. I didn’t explore any farther. I’m wary about getting ticks. Perhaps I’ll come back in the fall and explore more.

This path was too overgrown for me, and I’m not a big fan of ticks. I’ll be back later in the fall to explore this section. 

After my self-imposed dead end, I went back up to the pine barrens. It’s amazing how sharply the landscape can change within just a few yards.

It was much sunnier up here.

Wild blueberries! Yes, they were good. 
When you get to this point, go left. Remember to keep checking for ticks. 

In a few yards, I saw a sign explaining what this pine barren is. It’s an area with open space, some trees, bushes and shrubs. The ground is made up of sand brought by the glaciers during the Ice Age. These pine barrens are critical for some species’ survival.

The path was leading me back into the shade. 

3. The Beach Trail

Having completed the first loop, I ventured out on the Beach Trail.

I wonder where this goes…

Right off the path, I noticed a couple of American flags. Investigating further, I discovered an old cemetery. There were no written markers, but judging by the age of the surrounding stone, I’d guess these flags mark the graves of veterans of at least the Civil War, perhaps even the Revolution. If you know, please share!

An old cemetery

The Beach Trail crosses a street. When crossing, remember that you’re in New England, the speed limit is usually observed as a suggestion. Cars might not stop, even if you’re in the crosswalk.

On Beach Trail, you’ll see Red Brook end its journey into Buttermilk Bay. The views are breathtaking.

When you get to this marker, you can go either way. The path will loop back. I went to the right.

Which way will you go?
The clear water felt cool. 

The path continues on the beach.

At this point, the path returns to the woods, and then I headed back to the parking lot, happy that I decided to check out this local reserve.


The Lyman Reserve is on Head of the Bay Road in Plymouth, MA.

Keep an eye out for this sign. It leads into the parking lot.

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