South of Boston

Lyman Reserve

Bourne, Plymouth & Wareham

210 acres

Follow winding trails from upstream cranberry bogs and woods to a sandy beach at Buttermilk Bay.


Plan Your Visit
  • Overview
  • Ideas for Your Visit
  • Admission & Hours
  • Directions & Contact Info
  • Property Map
  • Regulations & Advisories


Home to one of the last remaining native sea-run brook trout fisheries in the eastern United States, the Theodore Lyman Reserve sits at the mouth of Red Brook, a four-and-a-half-mile, spring-fed, cold-water stream that flows from White Island Pond to Buttermilk Bay. One of the few coastal streams in Massachusetts that supports anadromous fish—migratory fish that hatch in freshwater, make their way to sea to grow, and return as adults to spawn—Red Brook is home to one of the last remaining native sea-run brook trout fisheries in the eastern United States. A scenic stretch of coastal shoreline offers views of Buttermilk Bay and the Cape Cod Canal vertical lift railroad bridge.

Ideas for Your Visit

Grab a rod and cast a fly from the various old bridge and flume sites upstream and from the marsh near the mouth of Red Brook. (Please note that only catch-and-release fishing is allowed.) A short trail winds its way through freshwater wetlands, pine barrens, and sandy beach. A one-and-a-half-mile loop trail winds its way from the parking lot to Red Brook, inviting deeper exploration of the reserve’s freshwater wetlands, pine barrens, and sandy beach; a quarter-mile trail across Head of the Bay Road provides a scenic jaunt through maritime scrub oak and pine to the beach.

Admission & Hours

FREE to all.

Hours: Sunrise – Sunset.

Directions & Contact Info

Head of the Bay Road and Red Brook Road
Bourne, Plymouth, and Wareham, MA
Telephone: 508.636.4693

Get directions on Google Maps.

From I-495 South: Follow to Rt. 25 East. Take Exit 3 (to Buzzards Bay, Bourne) just north of the Bourne Bridge. Bear right off ramp. Take immediate right onto Head of the Bay Road. Follow for approx. 3 mi. around the eastern and northern shores of Buttermilk Bay. Parking lot entrance is about 250 feet beyond Packard St. on right hand side.

From Rt. 3 South: Take Exit 1A, Rt. 6 West. Slight right at Bournedale Rd. Continue onto Head of the Bay Road. Follow as above.

Property Map

There is a map posted on a kiosk in the main parking area. We recommend that you take a photo of the map on your phone so you can refer to it during your visit, or download a trail map before you head out.

Regulations & Advisories

  • To protect the Reserve’s sensitive wetlands and brook habitat, please remain on marked trails.
  • There is no lifeguard on duty. Swim at your own risk.
  • Fires and charcoal grills are not permitted.
  • Mountain biking is not allowed.
  • Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
  • Small water craft may be carried to and launched from the beach.
  • Catch-and-release fishing by license holders only.
  • After-hours “off-street” fisherman’s parking is available for surf casting for stripers in season.
  • Hunting is permitted at this property subject to all state and town laws. It is recommended to wear brightly colored clothing like an orange vest or hat during the hunting season. Hunting is not allowed on Sundays. Learn more about hunting on Trustees properties, and read safety tips for non-hunters.
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: We ask that photographers or their clients become Contributing Level Members before conducting portrait sessions at this property. Click here for more information, and to request permission for any portrait sessions.
  • The Trustees of Reservations reserves the right, and may give permission to its designated photographers and videographers, or to outside media, to photograph or video visitors and program participants at all its facilities and properties.
Before Setting Out
More to Explore
Upcoming Events


Named for water tinted red by the iron-rich soil near its source, Red Brook has been used by humans for nearly two millennia. Archaeological studies indicate that the area was an important encampment for Wampanoags some 1,800 years ago. Those who camped at Red Brook used clay cooking pots, sharpened stone blades, and ate seafood, deer meat, and other game.

Learn More
The View From Here
See What People Say

The tidal river at the top of Buttermilk Bay has one of the cleanest, healthiest tidal ecosystems in SE MA. Visit at low tide for great beach combing. This beautiful salt water farm also has interesting inland trails.

Pearlyww, Trip Advisor

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