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Town: North Andover
Total Acres: 212
Year Conserved: 1972
Catch a glimpse of elusive wildlife within this classic New England mix of wooded upland and wetlands.
The North Andover landscape shows the unmistakable influence of continental glaciations. This is most notable in the presence of a number of oval-shaped hills or drumlins, as well as many irregularly shaped swamps and bogs resulting from disrupted drainage patterns.
In addition to classic glacial features to explore, Farnsworth Reservation also provides an important link between the North Andover Town Farm Forest and Harold Parker State Forest, creating a significant “greenbelt” with other protected land.
For a pleasant 1.3 mile trail loop, begin at South Bradford Street, cross the boardwalk and continue around the loop trail. Purgatory Swamp is a large red maple swamp and a haven for wildlife. Bruin Hill is a wooded upland with trails accessible from Winter Street.
The Farnsworth Reservation is in an intervale between Mosquito Brook and Fish Brook. The Pawtucket had a settlement near here at the junction of these brooks. They relied on the vital subsistence resources in Purgatory Swamp, which also served as a refuge in times of conflict.
On nearby Bruin Hill, they hunted wolves, bears, and cougars (which colonists called lions or catamounts). Bears were sacred to Algonquians and the bear was also the spirit animal or totem of certain kin groups. The Pawtucket ceremonial calendar included an annual winter bear sacrifice. During the 1600s, the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony paid bounties on wolves to both Native people and the English, as wolves were preying on colonists’ cattle.
2.7 miles of easy-to-moderate terrain with connecting trails.
The Farnsworth Reservation is named for the land donor, Hebert Farnsworth, a pioneer in an industry that would revolutionize American eating habits by bringing cold storage technology to the seafood industry. His legacy is a family committed to land conservation and the protection of many landscapes across Essex County.
Trails lead through mixed hardwood and softwood stands of red oak and white pine, as you pass numerous vernal pools and cross through wooded wetland dominated by alders, red maple and skunk cabbage.
In spring, look for salamander and frog activity around the vernal pools. Deer are common and great horned owls may nest in the large white pines. In drier months, a vernal pool may appear as a depression in a wooded area.
South Bradford Street. (Opens in Google Maps)
Latitude 42.677218, Longitude -71.074251
Winter Street. (Opens in Google Maps)
Latitude 42.686354, Longitude -71.062303
From Route 95/Exit 76/Route 97N:
Go north on Route 97. In 0.2 miles, turn left onto Service Road. In 0.5 miles, turn right onto Ipswich Road. In 4.8 miles, continue on Dale Street. In 1 mile, turn left onto Coventry Lane. In 0.5 miles, turn right onto South Bradford Street. Trailheads and parking are 0.1 and 0.25 miles ahead on the left. Park on shoulder of road.
From Route 95/Exit 76/Route 97N:
Go north on Route 97. In 0.2 miles, turn left onto Service Road. In 0.5 miles, turn right onto Ipswich Road. In 4.8 miles, continue on Dale Street. In 0.1 mile, turn left onto Winter Street. Trailhead and parking are 0.6 miles ahead on the right. Park on shoulder of road.
82 Eastern Avenue
PO Box 1026
Essex, MA 01929
e. Contact by Email
Greenbelt thanks the photographers whose work is featured prominently on our website: Jerry Monkman, Dorothy Monnelly, Adrian Scholes, David Alden St. Pierre & Neil Ungerleider