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Fuller Brook Park

Other Link Fuller Brook Park Preservation Project

Features

  1. Fishing
  2. Historic Landmark
  3. Parking
  4. Seating
  5. Trails & Paths

OVERVIEW

The Brook Path, also known as Fuller Brook Park (23 acres), follows Fuller Brook and its tributary Caroline Brook through more than 3 miles of the central part of Wellesley. The path connects to the Guernsey Path at Dover Road and Wellesley College’s Nehoiden Golf Course which goes on to the Waban Arches aqueduct where Fuller Brook joins Waban Brook and the Charles River. The path also connects to the Crosstown Trail at State Street and again at the Clock Tower Park on Washington Street. It is Wellesley's most popular and well-used public park and provides a safe pedestrian alternative away from the heavy traffic of Washington Street. Fuller Brook itself rises in the marshes that straddle the Wellesley-Needham town line. Its watershed collects stormwater runoff for more than half of Wellesley before emptying into the Charles River via Waban Brook. 

HISTORY


Fuller Brook Park was established by the town in 1899 for the dual purpose of improving the drainage of flood-prone areas and providing parkland near the center of town. The park does not reflect a single design, but is a collective work with many influences. Three prominent designers advised on Fuller Brook Park during its early years but their work was conceptual and did not include detailed design. John Charles Olmsted of Olmsted, Olmsted and Eliot was consulted briefly in 1897. Warren H. Manning, who trained at the Olmsted office before establishing his own firm, was involved in land acquisition and initial construction of the park. In 1915 Ernest W. Bowditch, an engineer and landscape designer who was also involved in the design of Wellesley’s sewer system, made recommendations for extending the park and for a boulevard along Fuller Brook. Fortunately, that recommendation was never followed. During the Great Depression stone bridges were constructed and the path regraded. Parts of the brook were straightened and channeled to control flooding in the 1950s. In 2009 a Preservation Master Plan was prepared and a series of improvements made.

CONSERVATION/RECREATION VALUES

The Brook Path/Fuller Brook Park has a variety of district areas with different functions and characters. These areas include:
  • Brook Path between Dover Road and Grove Street, a generally natural woodland area with areas of open grass – a respite from the more developed areas – path is unpaved
  • Brook Path between Grove Street and Wellesley Avenue, a generally natural woodland area with more developed areas nearing the Wellesley Square area, Dana Hall School and Hunnewell School are nearby or adjacent – portions of the path are paved
  • Brook Path between Wellesley Avenue and State Street, a generally natural woodland area with many private lawns of adjacent homes
  • Brook Path between State Street and Rice Street, a much more “active” section of the path with the recreation facilities of Hunnewell Fields and the High School and Skating Pond, – paved paths
  • Brook Path between Rice Street and Forest Street, here the path follows along Caroline Brook through a red maple wetland after it follows Paine Street – boardwalk through the wetland, demonstration rain garden
  • Brook Path between Forest Street and Seaward Road, a wooded section with a relatively wide swath of open lawn, no above ground brook – paved path
  • Brook Path between Seaward Road and Washington Street, the path passes through Phillips Park and joins Maugus Avenue before it reaches Washington Street – paved path, buildings are generally close to the park and are not well screened, giving this segment less of the secluded character
As the town’s favorite and most visited park the Brook Path has values for both recreationists and for the environment. As a means of dealing with stormwater, it provides both protection from flooding and habitat for a diversity of wildlife including birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, and butterflies and other insects. It also serves as a safe pathway for walkers, runners, and bicyclists that makes connections between neighborhoods, schools, the library and other town facilities, shopping, and employment centers. It also connects many of the town’s recreation facilities including Hunnewell Fields, the High School, and Phillips Park.

STEWARDSHIP NEEDS


The guiding principles for management are:
  • Maximize public awareness and understanding of Fuller Brook Park and ensure quality access.
  • Maintain and enhance the scenic quality of the park.
  • Protect and enhance historic features and landscapes within the park.
  • Protect and enhance significant natural resources in the park.
  • Support compatible passive recreation use of the park.
  • Protect and enhance the function of Fuller Brook Park in its town-wide context.
  • Carefully balance the park's conservation, recreation, aesthetics, historic preservation and stormwater management purposes.