Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A second look at Spruce Swamp Brook in Shirley. Hunting for sites using the Devens stone wall map

I went for a great walk in Shirley. Now let me tell you, Shirley is one of those towns in the Nashua River valley, like Lancaster, Lunenburg,and Fort Devens, where there are not may rocks and where I never found much in the way of interesting features. It bothers me that there is a big swath of countryside between here and the hills of Leominster where there are no good areas to explore. Yet people lived there and probably did not walk to the nearest rocky town for their ceremonies. So there must be something in to be found.

The stone wall map from Fort Devens offers hints. It shows where there are stone walls, and where there are walls -obviously- there are rocks. Some places the walls look quite strange. Using this map I looked for places where walls go crazy and where it was also conservation land. So I settled on a place in Shirley, near a hill I found sites on before. 

And it was good almost as soon as I stepped into the woods. Here is a bit of that map:
Right above "A" is Holden Road, running diagonally. There is a conservation land entrance and you walk south about 100 yards to get to"A"- where there was a first rock pile (see Monday's post). See the small knoll directly south of A?(click in on the map to magnify). That is a big rock pile, not a natural feature. 

Just for fun, a stone wall is shown on the map, running past the southern end of the knoll. Here is that spot, with the wall to the left and the rock pile (and other piles) to the right.
Here is the back side of the same wall:
In this second view, we look back at one mound touching the wall and another beyond it.
The whole area is full of loose, messy piles which did not photo well. 

So that is the background for exploring at A, B, and C. Actually the best stuff was before seeing this knoll. And later, at D, where another mistake occurs on the map: it is not a stone wall but a linear mound. More to follow.

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