The Town of Littleton purchased 87 acres of land from the Hartwell family in 2003 for conservation purposes. The land abuts protected Water Department land consisting of 14.7 acres and 3.5 acres of land belonging to the Littleton Conservation Trust, for a total of about 102 acres.
The Hartwell land has a wide variety of natural and man-made features within a relatively small area:
Beaver Brook – The largest and longest brook in town, Beaver Brook starts in Harvard and flows into Westford. It provides an important water supply aquifer for Littleton.
Old Stone Slab Bridge over Beaver Brook – This bridge is probably 150 years or more old. It is on an old carriage road that led to Ayer.
Agricultural Field – Formerly used for crops, currently mowed annually.
Pocket Meadows – Small grasslands enclosed by woodland.
Woodland – Second growth and mature oak and hickory dominant forest with some pines, black birch, and hemlocks. One large, relatively rare basswood tree is just off the Loop Trail.
Marsh – Excellent bird habitat adjacent to Beaver brook.
Steep Hillside – Woodland on southwest side of Proctor Hill, 100 feet difference in elevation.
Swamp – Densely wooded swamp with old drainage ditches.
Dam and Pond – Small man-made pond and dam on Loop Trail, showing recent beaver activity.
Esker – A glacial feature. Long narrow wooded ridge of sand and gravel formed in a pre-existing12000-year-old glacial meltwater channel.
Wildlife – There is habitat for a variety of birds and animals, including beaver, deer, wild turkeys, and fishers.Acreage: 87
The property was formerly part of the Hartwell Hill Cross-country Ski Area which operated there for many years. Most of the seven old trails are still passable, and a few of the old signs are still up.
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CautionsPoison Ivy and Ticks.