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The Seine Field is a rare New England habitat type known as an “Open Heathland” or "Relic Sandplain Grassland," characterized by arid, sandy soil and a landscape of low vegetative growth. It occurs primarily near the coast on flat plains consisting of glacial outwash. The field is located on Eastern Point, a designated Important Bird Area.
Indigenous people, known as the Pawtucket, picked blueberries, gooseberries, wild strawberries, and “Concord” wild grapes growing in and around this field and similar terrains on Cape Ann. They also gathered bayberry leaves to flavor their meat stews, while shamans used the berries and bark to make medicines.
In the 19th century and throughout most of the 20th, fishermen laid out their seine nets on the field for repair and drying, the practice that gives the property its name. Today, if you visit the property on the right day in June, you can still find fishermen carrying out this tradition.
This habitat consists of plants dominated by native grasses and shrubs such as bayberry. The Seine Field is also a very popular spot to pick low-bush blueberries in season (July-August) on the east side of the property.
This property is important habitat for native and migrating birds. A good place to observe woodcock in spring; American Kestrels and Northern Harriers are seen in the summer and fall. In summer, you’ll find butterflies, including tiger swallowtails and fritillaries, and in fall, monarchs, along this migratory flyway. Short-eared owls, coyote and red fox hunt the many small field mammals.
Exploring Seine Field is now a bit easier thanks to a wide, newly-graded trail. We encourage visitors with a range of mobilities to enjoy this new quarter-mile loop that leaves directly from the parking area which is a stop on the Cape Ann Transportation Authority (CATA) route. Generous funding from the Gloucester Community Preservation Act made this work possible.
Farrington Avenue, Gloucester. (Opens in Google Maps)
Latitude 42.595165, Longitude -70.647742
From Route 128N:
Go north on Route 128 to the end where it meets Route 127A in Gloucester. Go straight through two sets of lights to East Main Street. In 1.6 miles, bear left onto Farrington Avenue. (Note: East Main Street becomes Eastern Point Boulevard). Trailhead and parking are 0.35 miles ahead on the left. Park at the entrance, but please do not block the gate. Parking is limited to three or four cars.
82 Eastern Avenue
PO Box 1026
Essex, MA 01929
Greenbelt thanks the photographers whose work is featured prominently on our website: Jerry Monkman, Dorothy Monnelly, Adrian Scholes, David Alden St. Pierre & Neil Ungerleider