Cowassock Woods and Ashland Town Forest are composed of a mosaic of mixed hardwood forest types, wetlands, vernal pools and stream corridors. Sixty to eighty year old mixed hardwood forests – mixed oak and oak/hickory forest types - are the dominant natural communities.
These communities differ in structure and species composition depending on the dryness of the sites. Rocky outcrops on the property create the driest sites with more black birch and smaller oaks. There are patches of naturally occurring coniferous species including white pine and eastern hemlock. There is also a large area of planted 70-foot white pine and a smaller area of planted red spruce and red pine in the center of Cowassock Woods. There is a large red maple swamp on the northern section of the Ashland Town Forest and several smaller wetlands on the town property. Cowassock Brook begins at the maple swamp and runs southeast though the SVT portion of the property. This creates a rich corridor of red maple, highbush blueberry, skunk cabbage and a large diversity of sedges and wildflowers. In many areas, even the upland forest contains some wetland indicator species; there is most likely a ledge or high water table creating relatively moist upland soil.
The Ashland Town Forest/Cowassock Woods are bounded in Ashland on the south by Winter Street, on the west by Oak Street, on the north by Oregon Road, and in Framingham on the north by Salem End Road, on the east by the United Church of Christ Conference Center on Badger Road. Marked trail access is between #886 and #890 Salem End Road in Framingham and from Oregon Road and Winter Street in Ashland.
Driving north on Union Ave. in Framingham, take a left on High St. just before crossing Rt. 9. (Driving south on Edgell Rd., cross Rt. 9 and take an immediate right on High St.) Bear left and follow Salem End Rd. about 2 miles. At the 3-way intersection, follow the middle road, continuing on Salem End Road. Continue about .8 miles more to a small parking area and trail access on the left between #886 and #890 Salem End Rd.
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Ashland and Framingham