Ipswich outdoors

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.

Trails

Bay Circuit Trail in Ipswich MA The Bay Circuit Trail in Ipswich - The Bay Circuit Trail is approaching the fulfillment of an eighty-year old dream – a permanent public recreational trail and greenway, linking parks and open spaces in fifty-seven Boston area communities, 200 miles from Duxbury and Kingston on the South Shore to Ipswich and Plum Island on the […]
A salt marsh walk at Strawberry Hill and Greenwood Farm - The landscape surrounding Strawberry Hill on Jeffreys Neck Rd. invokes a time when saltwater farms were common in Ipswich, after English settlers cleared the uplands for agriculture and livestock. The farms here were owned by the Hodges, Smiths, Bakers, Heards, and eventually by the famous Ipswich painter Theodore Wendel, […]
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 hike on Town Hill in Ipswich 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 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 […]
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary 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 […]
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.
Dogtown, its history and legends - Dogtown is an area in central Gloucester of about five square miles, or 3600 acres, stretching from the Riverdale section of the city, north of Route 128, into Rockport, and including the Goose Cove and the Babson Reservoirs. Development is banned in this protected municipal watershed.
Trails in the dunes at Castle Neck in Ipswich Castle Neck and the dunes - 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.
“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 […]
The Buried House at Wigwam Hill - Much of the 1200 acres of dunes at Castle Neck along Crane Beach were forested with pitch pine in 1634 when European settlers arrived. The people of Ipswich realized that it was a special place, and the selectmen decreed that “The Neck of Land whereupon the great Hill […]

Local preservation

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: