Enjoy winter fun at Bedford’s hometown spaces

Let the winter fun begin! If sledding, skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, building snowmen, or walks in the woods are your favorite winter pastimes, there are places right here in Bedford to enjoy them. Three town-owned properties, all located within a short distance of the Bedford Town Offices, offer outdoor winter fun and exercise for families or individuals. All three are protected by conservation easements held by the Bedford Land Trust which ensure that the land is permanently protected as open space.

Benedictine Park on Wallace Road, offers the highest public sledding hill in Bedford. Its 28 acres offer plenty of room for sledding, snowshoeing and walks in the woods. If you’re looking for a cardio workout, walk or snowshoe up and down the hill a few times. If you’re looking for an experience that combines hill and more gradual terrain, try the Perimeter Trail that hugs the park’s shrub/tree line and continues for about one mile’s length. The Cobb Trail (yellow trail markers) affords a woods’ walk of approximately one mile along the northern property line. It continues in an easterly direction until descending to Riddle Brook Branch, swings westerly, and emerges at the lower meadow and back to open vistas. While on the woods’ trail or at the meadows, you may see tracks of wildlife in the snow such as White Tailed Deer, Red Fox, Fisher, weasel, chipmunk, woodchuck or turkey.

At the 68-acre Van Loan Preserve, there is an approximately 1.1 mile loop over mostly flat wooded terrain. It is accessible from Wallace Road, across from the entrance to Benedictine Park, or from North Amherst Road across from Muller Park. Parking is available at either of these parks. Suitable for snowshoeing or winter hiking, the trails offer views of: an old farm pond and dam with huge granite boulders; riddle brook and its pedestrian bridge; a grove of Hemlocks; and a wetland overlook. More than one beaver lodge has been established in wetland areas. In the quiet of this pristine land, it’s possible to observe evidence of other wildlife such as deer, coyote or rabbit.

The third property offering winter fun is the Bedford Village Common. Located at Bell Hill Road and Route 101 in Bedford’s historic center, this 6.2-acre community park offers approximately ¼ mile of easy walking paths and an approximately ½ acre skating pond. Named after its donor, the Anagnost Family Pond, the skating area will be maintained once there is sufficient ice thickness to support the maintenance equipment. According to town ordinance, parks are open sunrise to sunset, but lighted facilities may remain open later. At the Bedford Village Common, the skating area, adjoining pathways and parking lot (off Bell Hill Road) are illuminated for use after sundown. But, town officials will determine when the ice is ready for use and how long the park will remain open.

While this is a short list of public facilities in Bedford, all three properties offer a connection with nature and an opportunity for winter fun. Printable trail maps for both Benedictine Park and the Van Loan Preserve are available from the Bedford Land Trust website at: www.BedfordLandTrust.org. Select the "Lands We Conserve" tab and then the page for each park. The Bedford Land Trust is a nonprofit charitable organization holding conservation easements on over 700 acres of land in Bedford. For more information email us at: info@bedfordlandtrust.org.

Submitted by Jeanene Procopis,
Bedford Land Trust Trustee