Woods Cove Conservation Area is a 12 acre swath of protected land, with a short trail through the upland trees down to Woods Cove. There are a small number of parking spots on Tonset Road.
Woods Cove is made up of four separate parcels, donated and purchased at different times. The first piece of land was the Polite Gift given in 1988, a small parcel that has salt marsh and a forested upland. The second was a gift given by Helen Whitlock in 1998. The next pieces to be added to the conservation area were two parcels purchased from Helen Whitlock in 2000, following a fundraising drive spearheaded by the trustees of OCT, with the help of interested community members, to raise the appraised value of the land for purchase. The final parcel that now makes up Woods Cove was donated by Helen Whitlock in 2001, creating an upland corridor from Woods Cove, along with a protected swath of forested wetlands. The Woods Cove Conservation Area is an amazing example of how the local community can come together with the Orleans Conservation Trust with the unifying goal of protecting land as open spaces in Orleans.
Woods Cove has two state certified vernal pools on the property. Vernal pools are small bodies of water without inlet or outlet that become dry either seasonally or once every couple years. The dry phase is important as true vernal pools do not support breeding fish populations, given that fish would predate the threatened amphibian species that rely on vernal pools for reproduction. Studies have shown that amphibians reproducing in the pools normally live over 100 meters away from pools, so protecting open space around the water also protects land that is necessary habitat for these species. Vernal pools are extremely important ecologically, but because of their ephemeral nature may be overlooked for protection, and need better protection to ensure the continuation of many species.