The Foster's Pond Reservation

The Foster's Pond Reservation is the westerly gateway to the Pond. The 56-acre reservation offers two delightful picnic spots and magnificent Pond views.

This grove is .2 mile from the parking area. There is also easy canoe access.

For landlubbers, there's a small dedicated parking area on Willard Circle. Boaters may pull in at a wooded grove where two benches flank the landing area, or at the tiny island with its boardwalk bridge to the mainland.

The parking lot on Willard Circle is reached from Woburn St. (Andover St.) in Wilmington. A wooden sign at the entrance to Willard Circle, on a tree to the left of the roadway, marks the starting point to the Reservation. Proceed slowly. There are unmarked speed bumps, and it is easy to get lost on Willard Circle, a private way that has no public access to the Pond. Bear right at the fork, where another sign points the way. Leave your car in the designated parking area (unless you are attending one of the rare events for which the gate has been opened, affording vehicular access to the Reservation, in which case follow the event signs).

A sign, in a tree to the left of Willard Circle, welcomes visitors. The Reservation is closed and parking is prohibited from dusk to dawn.

From the parking lot, it's a gentle .2 mile walk to the shoreline. Take the trail from the parking area to the old fire road, which leads to the Pond. Two picnic tables nestle in a grove of towering white pines, and a pair of shore-side benches afford a relaxing view of the Pond. From the picnic grove, the trail continues on to a fork. The left fork slants up a hill, continuing along a downward sloping ridge to a point, where a boardwalk leads to a small island. This, too, is a great spot for a picnic.

A boardwalk links the mainland to a tiny island.

The right fork mounts the hill more steeply to the same ridge trail that leads to the island. Head up the ridge, away from the island, and take a left down the opposite side of the ridge, where the trail dips down to a small brook, spanned by a another boardwalk. Across this bridge lies the well-marked trail network of the 170-acre Goldsmith Woodlands. You can hike, without interruption, to Route 28 and the Goldsmith Woodlands parking lot.

Across Woburn St., another hiking option is the 154-acre Wilmington Town Forest, where there are great views from the top of a hill on which sits an immense water tank.

Two different entities own portions of the Foster's Pond Reservation. The Town of Andover owns 48 acres, while the Foster's Pond Corporation owns eight acres, including the parking area. The FPC land spans the boundary between Andover and Wilmington.

View from the island on the Foster's Pond Reservation.

Motorized vehicles are prohibited throughout the Foster'sPond Reservation without authorization. No parking is allowed anywhere but the designated parking area.

The FPC's 8-acre parcel was once owned by Frances Homer Foster (yes, a descendant of that Foster). In the 1940's, he gave a a great deal of land around the Pond (including this tract and the Foster's Pond Dam) to the Foster's Pond Corporation. The FPC, in turn, transferred the land it had gotten from Frances in the Willard Circle area to the Foster's Pond Improvement Association, whose members at the time owned summer "camps" on Willard Circle.

Most of the FPIA land was distributed to that organization's members, and year-round homes sprouted throughout the neighborhood. The FPIA retained an eight-acre parcel as a recreation area.

A small parking lot for the Foster's Pond Reservation is located on FPC land on Willard Circle.

In 2011, in a generous move to preserve this parcel for future generations, the FPIA returned this parcel to the FPC, which had transformed itself in 2005 and is now a tax-exempt charitable organization dedicated to a Pond-wide mission of environmental protection and land conservation. The 8-acre lot, which has over the decades served as a community garden and a ball field, is now mostly covered by trees. It now also offers a small parking area for use by visitors.

Foster's Pond, in recent years, has become increasingly accessible to the public. In 2006, the Foster's Pond Corporation established a "pocket park" adjacent to the Foster's Pond Dam, for the first time allowing a convenient spot for visitors to launch a canoe or kayak directly into the Pond without having to trek long distances or trespass on private property. Residents also took the lead in cleaning up Rock Island, which the Town of Andover also owns, making it an attractive picnic spot for Pond visitors.