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Hollow Fields

Birding in Massachusetts

Hollow Fields
Berkshire Natural Resources Council
Perry Peak Road
Richmond, Massachusetts 01254
Hollow Fields webpage
Hollow Fields map

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Berkshire County

Hollow Fields (BNRC)
Coordinates: 42.4068, -73.3654
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About Hollow Fields
The 660+ acres of linked hayfields and forests of the Hollow Fields reserve offer the Berkshires’ best view of Yokun Ridge, and abundant bobolinks nesting in the grasslands. Enjoy walking the path through the fields or explore the trails and woods roads in adjoining forestland, including a 45-acre parcel owned by the Town of Richmond.

This land, and all of the present-day Berkshires, are the ancestral homeland of the Mohican people who were forcefully displaced to Wisconsin by European colonization. These lands continue to be of great significance to the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation today.

Prior to colonization, the present-day Berkshires were home to the Muh-he-con-neok, the People the Waters That are Never Still. The Mohican people gardened, hunted, and fished these lands. Europeans brought disease and war, which dramatically affected Indigenous People. Colonization forcefully displaced the Mohican people to Wisconsin, where today that community is known as the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans.

Since European settlement of Richmond in 1765, the forests have come and gone as the land was cleared for agriculture, abandoned until the trees regrew, cleared again for charcoal to feed the former Richmond Iron Works, then abandoned, and so on. This is a common timeline of New England forests, resulting in the mostly forested landscape that you can see in the expansive views of Yokun Ridge to the east and south. The United Society of Shakers also owned some of the western lands of Hollow Fields reserve at one time.

Thanks to the generosity of Ron and Judith Shaw, the hayfields to the south and west of this point are conserved and open to the public forever. Forty-five acres of town land are adjacent to the property and are open to the public as well. The most northern meadow abuts a wooded parcel that was originally donated to the town of Richmond by the Miller family, former owners of The Berkshire Eagle. Members of the family helped found the Berkshire Natural Resources Council in 1967. Acquisitions in 2016 and 2019 expanded Hollow Fields north and west to the New York State boundary, now linking 1,300 acres of conservation land.

Fields Trail: 2 miles, round-trip, moderate (smooth footing, elevation changes)
The Fields Trail is a mowed path that runs downhill from the barn. Without too much effort, a walk up through some of the 40 acres of fields provides a profile view of Yokun Ridge and a bench to enjoy it from. Higher up, there is a view of the crenelated hills of South Berkshire. After the summer haying season, the mowed path can sometimes be difficult to see. Trail blazes on the bluebird birdhouses mark the trail direction. From the trailhead to the most distant point of the uppermost meadow and back is about two miles.

Perry’s Peak Loop: 3.7 miles, round-trip, moderate (uneven footing, elevation changes)
Perry’s Peak Loop also follows the mowed path from the trailhead. At the first intersection take a left into the woods to hike the loop clockwise toward Richmond Overlook (aka Scotty’s Lookout). Farther north, a short spur leads to the forested summit of Perry’s Peak. Both loop directions incorporate a steep climb along woods roads and a beautiful mix of forest types; including oak and beech, stands of red pine, and semi-open ridge tops bursting with ferns, old apple trees, and wild berries.
From Hollow Fields webpage