Trails and outdoor recreation in Ipswich
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 adds to other preserved land surrounding the town, including Willowdale State Forest, Appleton Farms, Crane Beach and other Trustees of Reservations properties. In the year 2002, The town of Ipswich produced a study called the “Green Ring Report” that documents goals for preserving the nature of the outlying areas of the town. More than 50% of land in Ipswich is protected by the town, state and non-profit organizations.
Ipswich Trails - Maps and information for dozens of hiking trails in Ipswich and the surrounding area. 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. 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. Appleton Farms - Owned by the Trustees of Reservations, Appleton Farms is America’s oldest working farm, with 12 miles of walking trails, a visitor center, and Community Supported Agriculture program.
The 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. 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. 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. Dow Brook and Bull Brook - Featured image: Dow-Bull Brook Trail, from the Essex County Trail Association site. Remnants of the old grist mill and saw mill dam on the Egypt River, originally constructed by Nehemiah Jewett, are behind the Ipswich power plant transformer station on High St. Jewett’s Grist mill on the Egypt River […] A Town Hill Hike - This a somewhat aerobic four-mile hike from downtown Ipswich to the top of Town Hill. Starting from close to sea level at Zumi’s or the Riverwalk Mural, it follows the river for a while before climbing 160′ to the top of Town Hill. It descends to Fowler’s Lane, […] The Grand Wenham Canal and the Topsfield Linear Common - The Topsfield Rail Trail is a “Linear Common” following the former Danvers to Newburyport rail line, which was officially abandoned in 1981. A plaque at the trailhead in downtown Topsfield details the former railroad’s history.The trail connects to the Danvers Rail Trail as part of the greater Border to […] An autumn walk in the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary - These photos are from one of my favorite hikes in Mass Audubon’s Ipswich River Sanctuary at 87 Perkins Row in Topsfield. 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 […] 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. “Pivot Rock” at Crane Castle - After living here for almost 10 years, two people told me separately yesterday about a huge rock that acts as a pivoting gate on a trail that runs between the old Rose Garden and the former Casino at the Crane Estate. Mr. Richard Crane liked to surprise his […]
Essex County Trail Association
The Essex County Trail Association maintains an interactive map of conservation areas and other hiking trails in Essex County:
Download maps for all public properties in Ipswich from the Essex Trails Association links below:
Essex County Greenbelt
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, including the following areas accessible to the public: