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An extensive network of protected fields, forest and trails along the Ipswich River provides a great place to discover how forest and field management affect the landscape. The forest in the front area is organically rich bottomland that supports mature swamp white oak, red oak and red maple, including some trees with a diameter of nearly four feet.
Prior to European settlement, Indigenous people living in this area used the Ipswich River to canoe to their fishing grounds in Ipswich Bay and their fishing camps and clam flats around Plum Island Sound. An archaeological survey conducted by Ripley Bullen in the 1940s identified 68 settlement sites along the Ipswich River in terrain similar to that found in the Julia Bird Reservation.
As you walk further into the property, you will enter an open forest area that has been managed for timber.
Adjacent to Appleton Farm, it is part of an extensive network of protected open space along the Ipswich River throughout Ipswich, Hamilton, Wenham and Topsfield.
The forest at the trailhead is organically rich bottomland that supports mature swamp white oak, red oak and maple.
A meandering and lovely hemlock-shaded stretch of frontage on the Ipswich River provides relief on a hot summer day and a beautiful overlook of the river as its reward. In winter, the forest is a great destination to cross-country ski and snowshoe.
In the early spring you’ll find vernal pools formed in the woods, creating the perfect breeding conditions for salamanders. You’ll also see Eastern Bluebirds and Barn Swallows. In the summer breeding season, the mature forest canopy is alive with a variety of birds, including Northern Flickers, and Black-and-White Warblers. In the fall, you’ll see green darner dragonflies staged for migration. Look for fisher and otter tracks at the river’s edge and Great Horned Owls in the pines.
Waldingfield Road, Ipswich. (Opens in Google Maps)
Latitude 42.656958, Longitude -70.851639
From Route 128/Exit 45/Route 1A North: Go north on Route 1A. In 7.0 miles, turn left onto Waldingfield Road. Trailhead and parking are 0.3 miles ahead on the right, just after the railroad bridge.
From intersection of Route 133 and Route 1A in Ipswich: Go south/east on Route 133/1A. In 4.0 miles, bear right to continue on Route 1A south. In 0.9 miles after Route 133 and Route 1A split, turn right onto Waldingfield Road. Trailhead and parking are 0.3 miles ahead on the right, just after the railroad bridge.
Just beyond the railway bridge, turn right into a small turnoff. Parking is limited to 2 cars.
82 Eastern Avenue
PO Box 1026
Essex, MA 01929
Greenbelt thanks the photographers whose work is featured prominently on our website: Jerry Monkman, Dorothy Monnelly, Adrian Scholes, David Alden St. Pierre & Neil Ungerleider