The Sherwood Mill Pond Preserve is located at 191 Hillspoint Road on the site of the former Allen’s Clam House Restaurant. When Captain Allen’s century-old shellfishing business and eatery closed in the late 1990s, the property was put up for sale. To protect the site from developers, the town of Westport bought the property with the help of many local residents who donated nearly half the funds necessary to complete the purchase.
View of the pond from the Preserve
In 2009/10, after many years of planning, the former restaurant site was converted into the Sherwood Mill Pond Preserve. A committee of volunteers created the design, raised funds and worked collaboratively with the town to build the nature preserve.
Allen's Clam House Restaurant circa 1940
The Preserve offers a natural habitat of wetland plants by the water’s edge, and a naturalized, vegetative buffer above the tidal zone. A walking path leads visitors through the small preserve, and benches are provided for relaxation and nature observation. Educational signs display historic and wildlife information, and there is a designated launching area for canoes and kayaks. A small parking lot is located on the site.
The Preserve provides a gorgeous view of the Sherwood Mill Pond and its 80 acres of unspoiled surroundings. The pond is home to over 70 species of birds and many forms of aquatic life.
Historically, the pond was significant to the early settlement of Westport. The tidal flow between the pond and Long Island Sound resulted in the construction of one of the earliest gristmills in the area (circa 1705). The pond has also hosted fertile oyster beds for more than a century.
Captain Walter Allen gazing at the pond from his Clam House
The Preserve is still actively managed and maintained by a volunteer committee. The committee continues to seek funds to help maintain the Preserve’s plantings and landscape elements. To make a much-needed, tax-deductible donation, click here.
Additional volunteers are always needed to help weed out invasive species (no experience necessary). To volunteer your time, please contact Sherry Jagerson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your donations of time and money are sincerely appreciated.
|Committee Members (l to r) Wendy Crowther, Sherry Jagerson, and Liz Milwe on “Planting Day” at the Preserve|
Vintage photos courtesy of Jeff Allen
Color photos courtesy of Wendy Crowther