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Holdgate Trails Hold a Few Surprises

Another great mid-island walk, and one that many people don't know about, is the Holdgate Trails. Tucked into a nook between Old South Road and Milestone, this Land Bank property is great for families and holds a few fun surprises. To get to there, see the directions below.

For dogs, there are some pluses and minuses. The walk is about 50-75% shaded, so it’s a welcome summer or windy-day walk. However, there are times when the trail runs fairly close to Milestone Road, and it may be best to leash up your dogs at those points.

To begin your walk, make sure that all dogs are leashed, because the first surprise is a pasture with grazing cows, sheep, guinea hens and chickens. In the spring, you can watch the calves frolic (yes, frolic is the only word for it). 

The sign at the start of the walk asks that all dog walkers take the first left (to avoid walking on the manicured playing field). This trail leads you around the field and soon you cross over a dirt road. Very shortly after this dirt road, take a right at the arrow. The trail now winds through a young forest of pine and scrub oak, and soon a sign asks you to choose between a short loop or a long loop. Neither loop is that long, and both end up in the same place, so your call. 

Each loop takes you through forests that are nicely shady over well-kept trails. Mid-way through the walk (if you’ve chosen the longer loop), you will come upon a sign pointing you in the direction of the Sheep Commons Connector, which brings you to the Milestone Loop trail. If you want a longer walk and feel like braving the traffic on Milestone, go for it. Otherwise, continue on with your chosen loop. Near the end of the trail, as you arrive back to the animal pasture, notice a copse of Beech trees singing in the breeze. 

All in all, depending on your pace, this could be a 30-40 minute walk. If you’ve let your dogs off leash by now, leash them back up, because you are nearing the end of the trail and our second surprise. At this point, the grazing animals are to your left. Once their fencing ends, start to look for a split rail fence and a path on your left. Take this path, hop over a downed tree, and look to your right, your second surprise: a mediation labyrinth. A mowed circular pattern in the grass, this is a walking meditation maze. Take some time to slowly follow the circular path, taking a few deep breaths (and thinking a few deep thoughts), before heading back to the parking lot.

Holdgate Trails are a fun anyday walk, right in the middle of the island. Take advantage of its convenient location and unique pleasures.

Directions: To get there, take Old South Road out of town. About 1/2 a mile from the rotary, there will be a Land Bank marker on your left. It’s easy to miss, so if you arrive at Lover’s Lane on your right or Valero’s on your left, you’ve gone too far. Once you’ve found that marker, take the left and bear right into a small parking lot. 

A Dog’s Life, Nantucket, explores the many dog (and other animal)-related issues on Nantucket. Stephanie Henke co-founded Nantucket Safe Harbor for Animals and created and manages Nantucket Dog Walk, a website dedicated to the many glorious dog walks on Nantucket.