Hardwood Forest, Wildlife Corridor & Links to State Forest
Echo and Elizabeth How Reservations | Ipswich
Property Description & History
The 33-acre Echo Reservation and the adjacent 17-acre Elizabeth How Reservation feature forested land and beautiful old New England stone walls that harken back to a day when the area was open pasture.
Indigenous people in Essex County used the plants and animals of these Ipswich reservations and the adjacent Willowdale State Forest in Topsfield. Eastern Woodland Indians used oak trees for dugout canoes and oak bark for winter wigwam cladding.
Women collected hickory nuts to grind into nut flour for cakes and puddings, and shamans gathered hemlock needles for medicine that relaxes muscles and numbs pain, sometimes given to women to ease childbirth. During the early Contact Period, Indigenous people trapped beavers for the fur trade and planted crops in the rich lacustrine soil of drained beaver ponds. Extensive beaver marshes today often are legacies of ancient Indigenous land use.
Part of this property contained the 17th century homestead of Elizabeth How, who was executed after being found guilty of witchcraft during the Salem Witch hysteria.
Trails from each parking area connect to an extensive trail system that is part of the abutting Willowdale State Forest, where adventurous hikers can access miles of trails.
Wide trails make for easy hiking or cross-country skiing as they wind through a hardwood upland on a relatively flat terrain.
Flora & Fauna
Mature woodlands, a beaver pond and a large wetland characterize the landscape. In places the thick canopy creates perfect conditions for lush patches of ferns. The beaver-influenced wetland is notable for its open water and standing dead trees.
White-tailed deer, fisher, coyote, mink and beaver inhabit the woods. It is an excellent destination to bird watch for spring migrants, as well as winter owls and wild turkey.
From Route 1 North/Linebrook Road: Turn left onto Linebrook Road. Trailhead and parking 1.2 miles ahead on left.
From Route 1 South/Linebrook Road: Turn right onto Linebrook Road. Trailhead and parking 1.2 miles ahead on left.
For The Elizabeth How Reservation, trailhead and parking are 0.2 miles further ahead on left.
From Route 95/Exit 76 Route 97: Go south on Route 97. In 1.0 mile, turn left onto Boxford Rd (this section also called Linebrook Rd). In 1.0 mile, Linebrook Rd enters from right. Continue straight (the road is now Linebrook Rd). In 0.5 miles, bear right to continue on Linebrook Rd. Trailhead and parking are 0.1 miles ahead on right. For The Elizabeth How Reservation, go back 0.2 miles - parking on left.
Roadside pull-off parking by the property sign for 1-2 vehicles.
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Town: Ipswich Total Acres: 50 Year Conserved: 1997 & 2015 Difficulty: Easy