Willett Pond

Willett Pond spillway

Willett Pond spillway


Willett Pond is a 220-acre impoundment created in 1913 when Hawes Brook was dammed near the point where the towns of Westwood, Norwood, and Walpole meet. A mile and a quarter long and nearly a half-mile wide, it stands 139 feet above sea level and holds 800 million gallons of water to a maximum depth of about twenty feet. Because much of its 4.8 square mile drainage area is undeveloped, streams entering Willett are comparatively free of fertilizers, road salts, or other contaminants, and the pond is one of the cleanest water bodies in the Neponset River watershed.

Willett was constructed by the Winslow Brothers and Smith Company of Norwood in order to provide water year-round for a tannery downstream on Davis Avenue. It is now owned by the Neponset River Landholding Association, a subsidiary of the Neponset River Watershed Association, and is managed for wildlife habitat and recreation. About 85 residential abutters pay annual dues that help support maintenance costs. Although the pond is private, many local residents enjoy Willett through membership in the North Walpole Fish & Game Club, located on Brook Rd at its north end.

Water exiting Willett flows through a spillway in the 900-ft dam under Bullard St and passes through Guild Pond and Ellis Pond on its way to the Neponset mainstem near Morse St in Norwood. This discharge dwindles almost to nothing in dry summers, when the pond can drop thirty inches or more.

Ownership of Willett allows NepRWA to release water via valves in the dam during droughts to keep the Neponset flowing and protect fish habitat when extensive withdrawals via municipal wells might otherwise dry it up.

Willett is home to a diverse aquatic biota including many submersed aquatic plants and eleven species of fish. For questions or concerns about Willett Pond, please contact Willett Pond Manager Tom Palmer at 781-575-0354 x300 or palmer@neponset.org.

Yellow perch

Yellow perch from Willett Pond