East Leverett Meadow
One of the few large areas of open grassland in Leverett, East Leverett Meadow stretches west from the intersection of Shutesbury and Cushman Roads and is crossed on its southern edge by Roaring Brook. The Meadow is home to a wide array of wildlife and is a prime spot for birders. Over one hundred species of birds and forty-four species of butterflies have been observed. For more information about the data on birds, see the paragraph below on eBird Hotspot.
East Leverett Meadow consists of approximately 25 acres of grassland and five acres of shrubland border. Rattlesnake Gutter Trust acquired East Leverett Meadow in 1997 when it was under immediate threat of development. The purchase was made possible with contributions from the Rattlesnake Gutter Trust, the Kestrel Trust, the Valley Land Fund, the Leverett Conservation Commission, and community members.
The Meadow is a beautiful place with diverse habitats: the meadow itself, its bordering shrubs, old-field pine on the south side of Roaring Brook, an old orchard on the northeast, a beaver pond and wet woodland on the northwest. The Meadow has benefited from the many volunteers who have collected data on birds, butterflies, and other wildlife and the many others who have joined work parties to help clear invasive species and erect an American Kestrel nesting box.
Technical and financial help in opening the property to the public and managing the Meadow and surrounding areas has come from the Fields Pond Foundation, Inc; the Natural Resources Conservation Services (Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program); Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife (Land Owner’s Incentive Program); and the Norcross Foundation.
East Leverett Meadow serves as a teaching site a variety of groups. Students from the University of Massachusetts Amherst have collected data and provided valuable assistance on habitat management. Community members have given programs on cold, wet spring evenings on Northern Spring Peepers and American Woodcock, and more comfortable natural history and birding walks in the migration and breeding seasons. In 2009 and again in 2013, Julie Collier of Wingmasters, a Leverett-based raptor rehabilitation facility, released a total of 3 American Kestrels at the Meadow.
Visitors will find a parking area off Cushman Road. A footbridge, built with the help of Americorps, crosses Roaring Brook. Dogs must be leased when at the Meadow during nesting season (April through July).
- From Leverett Town Hall heading south, bear left onto Shutesbury Road at the Leverett Family Museum (old library).
- After 1.4 miles, bear right onto Cushman Road where Shutesbury Road turns sharply left/uphill.
- At the next corner, bear right, staying on Cushman Road.
- The sign and parking pull-off is on your right, 1.7 miles from Town Hall (between mailboxes #42 and #20).
- From the Cushman Road parking area, there is a loop trail around the meadow that is mowed during growing season for the convenience of walkers. (Dogs must be leased during nesting season: March-August)
- At the northwest corner of this loop, this trail connects with a network of trails through both private land and the five town-owned Conservation Areas and one Conservation Restriction.
- See the map East Leverett to Long Hill Trails for the network of trail from the East Leverett Meadow to Long Hill above Leverett Pond.