David Doering Trail celebrates 42 years

Phyllis Fitzpatrick presenting trail plans in 1975.

By Lisa Moore
Hometown Weekly Correspondent

There is a hidden gem in Sherborn - a quiet little trail that offers a peaceful spot to sit in the woods and enjoy the serenity a small patch of forest can bring.

Located behind the Pine Hill Elementary School is the entrance to the David Doering Nature Trail. This circular trail is approximately ¼ mile long, relatively flat, and wide enough for a wheelchair to traverse. There are several benches placed just off the trail that provide a place to sit and enjoy the surrounding nature, and at the trail’s midpoint, there is a small amphitheater area, suitable for classes in the woods or family gatherings and picnics.

A new trail marker - one of the improvements made by volunteers on the David Doering Trail.

A new trail marker - one of the improvements made by volunteers on the David Doering Trail.

In late June, several volunteers gathered at the trail to replace trail markers, widen the trail for easier wheelchair access, remove fallen tree limbs blocking the trail, and do a general clean-up. Joining the volunteers was Peter Doering, his mother Barbara, and friend Phyllis Fitzpatrick, who shared with the volunteers the story of how the trail was created.

In the spring of 1975, a tragic accident took the life of David Doering, a fifth grade student at Pine Hill Elementary School. Looking for a way to help the community and family heal, the David Doering Trail was created by friends of the Doering family, Phyllis and John Fitzpatrick, and David’s parents, Barbara and Donald Doering. For forty-two years, the family has lovingly maintained the trail honoring the memory of David, providing a valuable resource to the Sherborn community. During the school year, students at Pine Hill Elementary School regularly use the trail to study environmental science, identify trees in winter, find evidence of forest food chains, and explore for small animals that use the woodland habitat to live, feed and breed.

Members of the community looking for a nice little spot in the woods to commune with nature should visit this special trail. Songbirds, turkey, deer, and fox are among the many types of wildlife to have been seen traversing this quaint patch of woods. The trail walk is short enough to travel with little children and nestled deeply enough into the woods to provide a sense of peace and tranquility. Parking during school hours is very limited but after school and during the summer months, ample parking is available.

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