Williams Town Park, Shapleigh
I wasn’t expecting so much charm packed into a relatively small area. You start your walk at this 300-acre town park in fields — they are large and golden and lovely. Someone had mowed the edges, so you could just spend a morning wandering around the field edges, taking a rest at the bench perched at a high point. But, really, don’t deny yourself the rest of the park. If you follow the track straight into the woods from the parking area, at roughly .3 miles you’ll come to a signed intersection; left to Norton and Williams Ponds, right to the fire tower. I headed left first, and soon came upon Norton Pond and another advantageously situated bench. Close to the bench is an odd footpath that heads into the woods, crosses a bridge, and then appears to peter out (unless I just lost the scent).
After Norton Pond, you continue up the gravel road, reaching another intersection at .2 miles. If you head left, you’ll go down a long, rather steep hill for roughly half a mile to another park entrance off Nason Road.
But back to that intersection. After turning right, you’ll soon reach the very picturesque Williams Pond, which you can walk around. Then, if you return to the gravel road and keep hiking up, you’ll soon come to a high, open area with views. From there, it’s just a few more minutes to the fire tower, which you’re not allowed to climb. Behind the tower is a roughly .2-mile track downhill that takes you to another view! Return to the tower, and head down. Don’t miss the small footpath off to your left that takes you to a scenic view. There is a fair amount of hill walking here — some of it steep.
The park’s smooth gravel roads are probably passable for wheelchairs and strollers. At the trailhead, there is a signpost with distances: .6 miles to Norton Pond; .6 miles to the fire tower; .8 miles to Williams Pond; 1.3 miles to Nason Road gate.
Directions: From Back Road, travel approximately 3/4 mile down County Road. Look for the sign on the left. Once you make the left turn, park close to the metal gate.