Francis William Bird Park
Walpole, MA
89 acres
Bird Watching Cross-country skiing/Snowshoeing Mountain Biking Dog Walking Walking/Hiking (Easy) Picnicking Quest Mobility-impaired Access Private Function Rentals

About Francis William Bird Park

Stroll meandering pathways and cross artisan-built stone bridges at this family-friendly park of open  elds, groves of trees, and frog ponds.

What makes Francis William Bird Park a special place?
Rolling fields lined by tree groves, a trio of ponds, and gurgling brooks comprise a lovely natural tableau. Broad lawns provide perfect picnic spots, while tennis courts and a tot lot beckon the more active of all ages.

The park was created and endowed in 1925 by Charles Sumner Bird, Sr., and his wife, Anna, in memory of their eldest son, Francis William Bird (1881-1918). Landscape architect John Nolen, a disciple of Frederick Law Olmsted, designed the park to provide relaxation in nature along with opportunities for more active recreation. Today’s visitors still find the “spiritual uplift of nature” in the park’s woodlands, meadows, and water features, as well as the joy of active play in the park’s courts, fields, and playgrounds.

The park was designed for active play – bike racks, a "tot" lot, tennis courts, and basketball net, and a bathing-pool-turned-pond are testaments to park designer John Nolen's belief that play should be an active part of the park experience.

Trails
More than 3 miles of walking paths (easy walking) crisscross the park; a portion of the walkways is surfaced.

When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1 hour.

Facilities
Bike racks, benches, trash receptacles, public restroom (open seasonally). Park includes a "tot lot" with children's play equipment, four tennis courts, a basketball backboard, and outdoor stage.

Regulations & Advisories

We hope you enjoy your visit. For your safety, and to help protect this unique resource, we ask that you please comply with the following regulations:

  1. Please respect the tranquility of this park and others’ enjoyment of their visit here.
  2. Dogs are welcome, but on-leash only. Please dispose of dog waste properly in litter barrels.
  3. Bird Park is open from sunrise to sunset. Entering or remaining on the property after that time is prohibited.
  4. The following are prohibited at Bird Park:
    -Consuming or possessing alcoholic beverages
    -Fires, camping, littering, or dumping
    -Motorized vehicles (except for wheelchairs and authorized management purposes)
    -Golfing, ice skating, swimming, wading, and fishing
    -Cutting or removing vegetation
    -Disturbing wildlife
    -Removing or loosening old stone walls and rail fences
    -Disturbing, removing, defacing, cutting, or otherwise causing damage to a natural feature, sign, poster, barrier, building, or other property in the park.

Note: Please check locally at property for posted advisories and regulations.

Bird Park is a property of The Trustees of Reservations.Visitors are welcome, but with the understanding that they use the area at their own risk and that they comply with all the above regulations. Whoever disregards or violates any of these regulations is hereby forbidden to remain upon these premises, and is subject to arrest, fine, and imprisonment as provided by law. The Trustees of Reservations cannot assume responsibility for injuries or for the loss or theft of personal property.

The Trustees reserves the right to photograph or video visitors and program participants for promotional use, and usage of our properties implies consent. Find the full policy here.

Directions

Polley Lane
Walpole, MA 02032
Telephone: 508.668.6136
Property Manager: dcamp@thetrustees.org
Events & Programs Manager: mogara@thetrustees.org

Latitude: 42.1597
Longitude: -71.2150

Get directions on Google Maps.

From the I-95/Rt. 128 Split (Canton): From I-95 South, take Exit 10. Turn right onto Coney St. Follow for 0.8 mi. (cross over Rt. 1 at traffic light). Turn left onto Pleasant St. and then right onto Polley Lane in 0.3 mile. Parking area (60 cars) is 0.1 mile on left.

Public Transportation: Take the 34E bus line, accessible from the Forest Hills Orange Line T stop or the Franklin commuter rail line at Norwood Central station. Visit www.mbta.com for more details.

Admission

When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1 hour.

Admission
FREE to all

Property History

The reservation was created and endowed in 1925 as a public park by local industrialist Charles Sumner Bird, Sr. and his wife, Anna, in memory of their oldest son, Francis William Bird (1888-1918), who succumbed at age 37 to the influenza epidemic of 1918.

The Bird Family hired John Nolen to design the park. Nolen was a contemporary of The Trustees founder Charles Eliot and a disciple of Frederick Law Olmsted, landscape visionaries who were pioneers in creating parklands accessible to all.

This was a philosophy shared by Nolen, who also believed landscape design could be a tool for societal improvement; Bird Park's network of pathways and attractive water courses were designed to offer the public an easy introduction to their natural surroundings.

In his original proposal for this property, Nolen envisioned "a sequestered breathing place–a combination of broad, sun-swept meadow lands, speckled with shadowed glades, higher tree-screened knolls for the lover of shade, the whole set to the music of a babbling stream."

Property Acquisition History
Gift, with endowment, of the Francis William Park Trust in 2003.

Archival Collections
Archival material related to Bird Park is available to researchers at the Archives & Research Center in Sharon, Massachusetts.

Frank PhillipsFrank Phillips Materials Regarding Bird Park
(digital collection)
Digital versions of materials regarding members of the Bird Family, 1904–1942.

The Archives & Research Center welcomes donations of documents, manuscripts, records, photographs, maps and memorabilia that pertain to a particular property. Please contact us at 781.784.8200 or arc@ttor.org.

Programs

Over the Bridge and Through the Years Quest
Use rhyming clues and a map to find a hidden treasure and story at Bird Park. Along the way, you'll have fun and learn to see (and read) clues about how this place has been used over time. At the end of the Quest, you'll find a hidden treasure box where you can sign your name and collect a copy of our Quest's stamp before leaving the box for the next visit. Download the Quest.

Memorial and Honorary Gift Program at Bird Park
You can honor a loved one and supporting this beautiful park through our memorial bench program. Learn More (pdf).

Conservation and Stewardship

Management Planning for Our Properties
 


Since 1891, The Trustees of Reservations have worked to protect special places in Massachusetts and maintain them to the highest standards. To ensure these standards are met, a program of careful planning and sound management is essential. Comprehensive property management plans are created for each reservation and are completely updated approximately every ten years. We often work with volunteers, property users, and members of the community to carry out this planning, which typically involves several steps:
 


  • Describing in detail the site’s natural, scenic, and historical resources; identifying management issues related to the protection of those resources. 

  • Describing how visitors use the property; outlining the opportunities that the property provides for people to become involved in the work of conservation and caring for their community.

  • Developing a detailed list of management recommendations, a work plan, and a description of financial needs for implementing the actions.

  • Developing a prescribed routine management program for the reservation that will guide staff work plans, volunteer involvement, and the allocation of human and financial resources.



Butterfly Milkweed Mow? No! Meadow? Yes!
Bird Park Goes Even Greener

As an organization, The Trustees is surely "green." But we're always looking for ways to go greener, and a new practice of mowing less at Walpole's Bird Park is helping us do just that. Learn More>>

Maps and Resources

Trail maps are available from the bulletin board near the park entrance. Occasionally, we do run out of maps, so we recommend that you download a trail map before you visit.

Download the Bird Park Tree ID and find out what types of trees fill Bird Park.



Planning Your Visit

Before You Go
We encourage you to visit as many Trustees properties as you can.

Wherever your travels take you, please observe all posted regulations, follow special instructions from property staff, and keep in mind the Stewardship Code:

  • Protect wildlife and plants.
  • Guard against all risk of fire.
  • Help keep air and water clean.
  • Carry out what you carry in.
  • Use marked footpaths and bridle paths.
  • Leave livestock, crops, and machinery alone.
  • Respect the privacy of neighboring land.
  • Enjoy and share the landscape with others.

Click on links below for further visitor information:

Before Setting Out

Enjoying Trustees Reservations

Safety

About Hunting on Trustees of Reservations Land