Mother Nature’s Mill Pond Preserve

When a group of committed Westporters turned the old Allen’s Clam House site into a preserve — featuring wetland plants, a vegetative buffer above the tidal zone and walking paths — they figured it would take 3 years of care before nature took over.

That was 3 years ago.

A couple of Mother Nature curveballs — Hurricane Irene and an October snow — brought volunteers out in force. But as spring blooms, the Sherwood Mill Pond Preserve has emerged as a much-loved, frequently visited and very natural part of town.

The Sherwood Mill Pond: one of the most tranquil spots in Westport. (Photo/Katherine Hooper)

It’s visited at all hours by a wide swath of folks. Painters, bird watchers, book readers, flower lovers, parents with kids, lunch breakers — all find peace and beauty there.

A few benches and a couple of signs are the only indications that humans have shaped the preserve. One of the signs describes the history and significance of the Mill Pond.

The handsome Mill Pond sign.

The other — a gift from Newman’s Own Foundation, created by Audubon illustrator Edward Henrey — identifies some of the 70 species of birds, and many forms of aquatic life. A cutaway shows mollusks burying beneath the sand, crabs scuttlingon top of sand, and mallards diving into the water.

Sherry Jagerson helped mastermind the preserve, from conception to reality. Entering its 3rd full season, she is pleased that each year, volunteers have had to do less “hands-on” work. (The hurricane destroyed lots of leaves, and  water washed over vegetation to the street, but nature is hard at work restoring what was lost.)

Sherry, and fellow committee members like Liz Milwe and Wendy Crowther, are proud of the preserve. They’re pleased it’s getting so much gentle use.

Now — like the rest of Westport — they’re eager to relax and enjoy it.

(Despite the Mill Pond Preserve’s success, the committee can always use help. To volunteer, call Sherry Jagerson at 203-856-4580.)

The ever-changing Sherwood Mill Pond. (Photo/Katherine Hooper)

7 responses to “Mother Nature’s Mill Pond Preserve

  1. Jamie Walsh

    Thank you Sherry, Liz and Wendy for your tremendous contribution and to all the volunteers who make it so enjoyable!

  2. Westport 1979

    What a wonderful tranquil addition to our beach area.
    I try to get there once a week to appreciate the boundless serenity!

    Thank you!

  3. AnonHistory

    This wonderful open space would not have been possible unless the town had demolished two historic structures that it owned. Westport tore down the clam house and later the red barn because they were too costly to keep up. I just wish that the town would give the same consideration to private owners of old homes.

  4. Go mom!

  5. Contractor Parking Lot

    Views were much better from Allen’s Clam House where Paul Newman ate regularly.
    Another Diane Debacle.

  6. Gwen Dwyer Lechnar

    Gee, I guess there will always be those who whine and snivel. I just wanted to say, I was sad indeed to find Allen’s gone when I returned to Westport for a visit year before last, after 14 yrs. away from Ffld County, but how nice that this has been done where once it stood.

  7. Jeff Northrop

    Thanks for another redundant preserve. I guess the builders of this one didn’t realize that there were three other preserves around the pond including Sherwood Island. Residents of Old Mill Beach and the surrounding area really needed the overflow parking that is now gone. The original monies that were raised for the purchase of this property were raised to preserve Allens Clam House and the red carriage house. The town tricked us all and destroyed another landmark, then they tricked us again and installed a grass preserve. Lets demo anything built before 1857 when many of the new Westporters believe the town was founded.