Around the Pond: Where to Hike, Paddle, Picnic and Park
Foster's Pond is surrounded by 250 acres of conservation land which is open to the public, with another 150 acres near-by in the Wilmington Town Forest. This map shows the reservations, locations where parking is permitted, and a few choice spots for a picnic. Click the map for a larger image. Click here for a pdf version. See the list below for more information on each reservation.
Foster's Pond Dam.This 150-year-old picture-postcard structure has been lovingly restored by area volunteers. A quiet spot to sit and contemplate the Pond or to fish, it is also the best location for launching a canoe, kayak, or electric-powered boat into the Pond. You must carry your boat about 50 feet. Gasoline-powered boats are prohibited. Additional rules are posted at the dam. Clean your equipment before your launch - don't bring "aquatic hitchhikers" (invasive plants and animals) to Foster's Pond! There is no parking at the dam, but parking is available near-by. For more information about the dam, click here.
Goldsmith Woodlands. The larger of two reservations managed by the Andover Village Improvement Society (AVIS), 170-acre Goldsmith Woodlands affords splendid hikes, with trails that lead to the water's edge. Bessie's Point is a great place for a picnic. Well-marked trails are wide enough for cross-country skiing in winter. Ample parking is afforded in a lot on Route 28 (South Main Street) just south of Old County Road. For more information, click here.
Foster's Pond Reservation. Comprised of 48 acres of Town of Andover conservation land and 8 acres of Foster's Pond Corporation land, this reservation affords access to two charming picnic spots by the shore. The first, about .2 miles from the parking area, is in a grove of towering white pines. A bit further on, the trail leads to a boardwalk bridge to a tiny island. The Foster's Pond Reservation abuts the Goldsmith Woodlands, with a trail connecting the two. A small parking area is provided on Willard Circle, a private way off Woburn Street/Andover Street in Wilmington, just south of the Wilmington/Andover line. For more information, click here.
Wilkinson Reservation. This newer, smaller and less-traveled of the two AVIS reservations on Foster's Pond affords grand views from the opposite end of the Pond from the Goldsmith Woodlands. The trail offers an excellent vantage point from which to look for osprey diving into the still waters on a summer afternoon. The reservation has 23 acres. A couple of parking spots have been carved out by the side of Woburn Street, near the sign identifying the reservation. For more information, click here.
Rock Island. This one-acre island features striking granite outcroppings which give Rock Island its name. Watch out for the ducks which sometimes nest here. The island is equipped with a couple of picnic tables under towering white pines. It is easily reached by canoe or kayak from the Foster's Pond Dam. There are two landing spots, and a trail to the top of the hill, where a house stood for many years. A huge community clean-up effort restored the island to its natural state. The island is owned by the Town of Andover and dedicated as a conservation area. For more information, click here.
Dug Pond. The shoreline of this 3.9-acre Town-owned swimming hole is an easy spot from which to launch a canoe or kayak. On some maps, this location is shown as a gravel mine - which it was, until a developer extracting gravel in the 1960s hit a spring, filling the excavation with water. Now, Dug Pond is owned by the Town of Andover and is a conservation reservation. Gasoline-powered motor boats are not allowed; electric motors are permitted. Dug Pond is separated from Foster's Pond by a narrow berm, which can easily be portaged. Parking is prohibited on the narrow private way closest to the water, but is permitted on the much wider public way, Glenwood Road, near the sign marking the reservation.