Riverfield Open Space Area
|| West of Riverfield School, south of Duck Farm Road on east side of Mill River
|| Google Maps
|| Wetland protection, wildlife conservation
The 20-acre Riverfield Open Space Area is on the east bank of the Mill River, just south of Duck Farm Road. The Mill River is the western boundary of the open space area and the eastern side is bounded by Riverfield School and the Hunter Road neighborhood. To the south is the Lakeside Drive residential area. The Flower House Drive and Duck Farm Open Space Area is to the north, on the opposite side of Duck Farm Road.
You can walk into the open space area from Duck Farm Road where there is space for a few cars to be parked carefully alongside the road.
You can also enter the area from the school grounds.
In 1958, the Town bought land on the east side of the Mill River to build an elementary school. Not all of this land was suitable for school construction so about 20 acres were dedicated for open space purposes. The open space area is now managed by the Conservation Commission as part of the “Mill River Greenbelt.”
The ground is low and flat, as you would expect, since the entire open space area is in the Mill River’s 100-year floodplain.
Vegetation and Wildlife
The open space area contains examples of almost every stage of natural succession, from pioneer species to mature trees, making the area extremely valuable wildlife habitat for a variety of small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and birds. The river flowing alongside the area adds to the habitat value of the open space area.
There are several clearly defined natural communities, including a red maple swamp near the path that runs from Duck Farm Road to the school; a wet meadow that extends from that path southwest to the Mill River; a field covered with dense shrub growth north of the boggy meadow; and to the south there are about six acres covered by pioneer or early successional vegetation that colonized the area after human disturbance of the land.
Access to much of the area is limited by the swampy floodplain but there are two trails. One is a paved path about 1,000 feet long that runs south from Duck Farm Road to the school. The other provides a short loop on the higher ground in the southern part of the open space area.