Walking Across Nashoba — Bolton Part 3

Meister Käßner
12 min readApr 1
Trail Bordering Farmland with Fall Foliage Photo by Author

There was no indication of the Bolton Stow line anywhere in the Delaney Complex, a conservation area that spans three towns, including Harvard. We would not be able to see the welcome to Bolton sign until the next day when we turned around after entering Lancaster. The rest of the trail through Delaney followed an open field and well-marked road heading west. We continued following the trail back into the woods and then reached a fork in the road. I had not determined the best exit point from Delaney, and we elected to turn further South instead of continuing in a westward direction.

Open Field to White Pine Succession Photo by Author

The trail took us into an old field that was experiencing a classic succession pattern back to pine. As with so much of the fields and pastures within the Nashoba district, competition from farming on the Great Plains and the transition to fossil fuel driven transportation collapsed the market for hay. Soon fields gave way to pine stands which eventually gave way to mixed hardwoods. For now, the pines were growing up with significant space between them allowing their lower branches to spread out luxuriantly, something that never would have been possible in a denser stand. After another forty to fifty years only a skilled observer will be able to read the evidence of earlier land usages. That is unless the returning forest is cut down for a building lot. I’m sure the small garter snake and the pretty yellow butterflies we had recently passed hoped that at least some land will be saved for future generations of their progeny in Bolton.

Meister Käßner

I have been reflecting and writing about the stories, people, and places Northwest of Boston for thirty-five years. I also teach history and manage forest land.