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.
Human use of the property as a small golf course for summering Bostonians and later by local fishermen has kept the field in an early successional stage of vegetative growth, preventing it from evolving into forest.
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.
Trail & Accessibility
0.6 miles of easy terrain.
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.
Flora & Fauna
This habitat consists of plant communities dominated by native grasses and shrubs such as bayberry. Look in patches of exposed sandy soil for lichens. Seine Field is also a very popular spot to pick low-bush blueberries in season (July-August) on the east side of the property.
As an important habitat fornative and migrating birds, Seine field is a good place to observe woodcock in the spring and American kestrels and northern harriers 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.
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.
Town: Gloucester Total Acres: 16 Year Conserved: 1992 Difficulty: Easy