The Town of Topsfield is home to many trails, each with its own history, character and appeal. The Friends of Topsfield Trails, a 501(c)3 tax deductible organization, was formed to support all trails in Topsfield including the "Topsfield Linear Common" recreational path, Topsfield's Rail Trail.
Some of our trails meander through tracts of land in Topsfield's "Gentlemen's Farms and Retreats." These properties include the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Bradley Palmer State Park, Willowdale State Forest, and the Topsfield Town Forest. During the "Gilded Age," a number of wealthy individuals, in particular Thomas Proctor and Bradley Palmer, built their summer estates along the Ipswich River. Their generous gifts to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Audubon Society have preserved the properties they cherished for all of us to enjoy. Other properties have been preserved and trails have been created by latter-day stewards of the land, including the Town of Topsfield, the Essex County Greenbelt Association (ECGA) and the Essex County Trails Association (ECTA).
The Friends of Topsfield Trails continue the tradition of preserving the paths and trails that allow us to celebrate the beauty of our natural resources.
News and Notes
Baxter Demers produced a trail video (click here).
The Topsfield Linear Common rail trail is 3.9 miles long. The trail is completed from the Wenham town line to Washington St.- a distance of 2.3 miles. The trail surface is highly compacted stone dust which is "accessible". The surface is suitable for all activities except roller blades and other small wheeled devices.
The northern section from Washington St. to the Boxford town line is 1.6 miles long with a surface of grass and compacted soil. The trail is not currently handicapped "accessible".
The walkable/bikable/runnable trail, which is a section of the Border-To-Boston trail now runs from the Northshore Shopping Center to Lowell St. in Peabody where it crosses under Int. 95, through Danvers and Wenham and into Topsfield, ending at Pye Brook Lane in Boxford, a total of 14 miles. The paved Independence Greenway in Peabody connects Lowell St. (through the Temple Beth-El cemetary) to the North Shore Shopping Plaza.
The Topsfield Rail Trail Committee secured a license from the National Grid in the fall of 2013 (the southern section in owned by the MBTA for which the Town has a 99 year lease). In order for the northern section of the trail to be finished the Town has to secure a lease and this lease is required to apply for state and federal grants (as has been done for the finished section). In order to get the lease an engineering plan must be submitted to National Grid. The cost of this plan is about $30,000 and through the generosity of many folks those funds have been successfully raised. We are now going through the process of trail design. Meanwhile please do enjoy the trail!
We ask for your generosity. Please donate for yourself and others that love the Topsfield Linear Common.