By John Nye Cullity
The SCT will begin this year’s series of second-Sunday walks, Sunday, April 13th, at 2 PM with the straightest one we have, the trek along the Barnstable-Sandwich town line. The walk begins at Service Road, about half a mile east of Exit 4, and goes in a straight line to Great Hill. Here we find the closest thing we have to a dramatic crest on Cape Cod, with a nice view towards Nantucket Sound, at an ear-popping 230 feet above sea level. This is a good time of year to visit this elevated spot. With the absence of foliage we can see the topography through the trees.
The habitat is dry pine-oak woods, livened up by hills and valleys as we make our way to the top. The land to the east is the 1200 acre West Barnstable Conservation Area, and to west is a long strip of privately owned land that is held in a conservation restriction with the SCT. Through the generosity of the landowners the public is allowed to pass.
This section of walkable town line was created in the early 1950s, when the clearing was bulldozed to create somewhat of a fire brake and better access to the woods. My guess is that this action was inspired by the great forest fire of 1946, when much of South Sandwich, and even part of East Sandwich was burned over.
The walk will last 45 minutes or so. It is a strenuous walk in that there are some steep slopes, loose stones, and probably some branches down after our long winter, so please be prepared. The hike will not be held if it is raining.
Parking is best along the south side of Service Road; make sure you are well off the road. There is no charge for the walk. No dogs, please. Call me at (508) 888-7629 if you have questions.