Waskosim’s Rock Reservation

Alison Shaw

Mountain Bikes Welcome

The 185 acre Waskosim’s Rock Reservation is one of the jewels of the Land Bank–full of great trails that wind over the hilly terrain piled up by the glaciers fifteen thousand years ago. It’s a particular favorite of the Island’s mountain biking community.

The rock in question is a fourteen foot tall glacial erratic that was dragged here by the ice from somewhere north of Plymouth and is dramatically split. Waskosim was not a person — it mean’s “new stone” in the Wampanoag language, and in the 1600s the rock marked the boundary between English and Native American land. Today it lies very near the town line between West Tisbury and Chilmark. For a great article on the named rocks of Martha’s Vineyard from the archives of the Times click here.

 From the Land Bank’s Page for the Preserve: Much variety here: woodlands in the reservation’s southerly end segue into open fields — some high and some low — in the middle tier and these, finally, segue into deeply shaded wetlands along the Mill Brook at the northerly end. Remnants of the 17th century homestead of James Allen, the first patentee of Tisbury, are found in the fields: a capstone over an abandoned well, a cellar hole, stone stairs, a paddock, all in various states of desuetude. Eerily perched atop one of the ridges is the Waskosim’s Rock itself, a boulder whose shape and location have long figured in Wampanoag and more recent island history. The rock marked the beginning of the “Middle Line,” a stone wall boundary running to the Menemsha Pond in order to separate English and Wampanoag lands in the mid-1600s.

Getting there: The preserve straddles the town line between Chilmark and West Tisbury on the North Road. The entrance is the first left on the Chilmark side.

For more information, visit the official Land Bank Website.  Also, be sure to check out their cool map.