Town meetings in Ipswich have voted to protect hundreds of acres of land as Open Space, making it available for the general public and preserving the land from development. The town’s investment makes more than 50% of land in Ipswich protected by the town, state and non-profit organizations.
The Essex County Trail Association maintains an interactive map of conservation areas and other hiking trails in Essex County. The Essex County Greenbelt is a regional land trust that has helped landowners, farmers, cities, towns and organizations in Essex County realize their land conservation vision since 1961. Their efforts have protected over 15,000 acres of land in Essex County. The Ipswich River Watershed Association works to preserve the quality of the River and provides kayaks for their members. The Trustees of Reservations owns and provides access to 116 locations in Massachusetts covering 27,000 acres, thanks to 140,000 dues-paying members.
Outdoor Recreation in and near Ipswich
Open Spaces - Town meetings in Ipswich have voted to protect hundreds of acres of land, through the Open Space Program, making it available for the general public and preserving the land from development. 240 County Road, the Proctor Estate, New England Biolabs (1895) - The former James H. Proctor estate was built in 1895. The Catholic Church purchased the property, where it was used as a novitiate by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and later became the Catholic school Don Bosco. Since 1999 the Proctor estate has been the home of New England Biolabs, which provides walking trails open to the public.
The Bay Circuit Trail in Ipswich - The Bay Circuit Trail in Ipswich enters Willowdale State Forest and continues north through the town-owned Dow-Bull Brook preservation land. A branch continues from Willowdale through Bradley Palmer S.P to New England Biolabs. An autumn walk in the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary - Twelve miles of trails weave through an amazing mix of forests, meadows and wetlands, with great views of the Ipswich River from the central drumlin and two eskers that were left by retreating glaciers only 15,000 years ago. Strawberry Hill and Greenwood Farm - The landscape surrounding Strawberry Hill on Jeffreys Neck Rd. invokes a time when saltwater farms were common in Ipswich. Across the street is Greenwood Farm and the First Period Payne House, owned by the Trustees of Reservations. The Grand Wenham Canal and the Topsfield Linear Common - The Topsfield "Linear Common" follows the former Danvers to Newburyport rail line. A side path takes you to the Grand Wenham Canal, also known as the Salem-Beverly Waterway Canal, which transports water from the Ipswich River to Wenham Lake. Dow Brook, Bull Brook and the Egypt River - Bull Brook originates in Willowdale, crosses Linebrook Rd. and merges with Dow Brook at the Ipswich Utilities site on Rt. 1A. From that point the combined stream becomes the Egypt River. Dogtown, its history and legends - Dogtown is a five square mile area of Gloucester and Rockport strewn with glacial boulders. Visitors to Dogtown find cellar holes of abandoned houses, and boulders emblazoned with inspirational messages. The Epes’ farm at Wigwam Hill - Symonds Epes bought a large tract in 1726 and built a substantial farm and orchards at Wigwam Hill, named for a group of destitute Indians who briefly camped there. The protecting pitch pines were later cut for lumber, and the farm became a large dune. Choate Island and Rufus Choate - Choate Island was originally known as Hog Island, and is the largest island in the Crane Wildlife Refuge and is the site of the Choate family homestead, the Proctor Barn, the White Cottage, and the final resting place of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Crane. There are great views from the island summit of the Castle Neck dunes and Plum Island Mount Agamenticus in Maine. The dunes at Castle Neck - Crane Beach and all of Castle Neck are protected by the Trustees of Reservations. Pitch pine and scrub oak rise from the masses of marsh grass, sage green hudsonia and dune lichen lining the trails that wind through the dunes.