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The Hornbeam Conservation Area, owned by the Sterling Land Trust, serves as part of a headwater wooded wetland for the Wekepeke Watershed’s Fitch Basin,. The land is a combination of woodlands and swamp and mostly fronts on the unimproved portion of Hardscrabble Road to the East and Northeast. Hardscrabble Road was originally an 18″‘ century colonial two rod road. The land was gifted by the Morris family in memory of Pat and Lennie Morris to serve Sterling residents as a place of respite and passive recreation.

Unique Features: This land represents largely untouched woodlands’ and swamp typical of Central Massachusetts. There are numerous mountain laurel, white pine oak and swamp hardwoods on the property.

Trail Description: At present, there are no defined or maintained trails on this land although hiking is possible with some bushwhacking . Parts of the land are also swamp and, in wet weather, may not be passable. In winter, heavy snow may make snowshoeing possible and allow more access over frozen swamp areas.

There are no clear boundaries for most of this land – although the land is bounded by the unimproved portion of Hardscrabble Road on the East and Northeast.

Trailhead: A marker designating the Hornbeam Conservation Area is located’ at the end of the paved portion of Hardscrabble Road, on the left side of the road as you travel North. The
marker is a medium sized boulder with an inscription. In winter, however, heavy snow and plowing may further limit parking. The unimproved portion of Hardscrabble Road is not maintained in winter and is on private land and should not be used without permission from the abutting landowners.

Difficulty Rating: Although the land is mostly flat, the need to bushwhack through the woods makes hiking here more difficult. In wet weather, swampy and muddy conditions may require a longer hike to return to your starting po1nt.

This tract, 11.3 acres of mixed hardwood forest and wooded wetland off Hardscrabble Road , was donated to the Sterling Land Trust by sisters Shawn Morris and Lennie Paquette in memory of their folks