Getting outside offers many benefits for our physical and mental health, and our open spaces and conservation areas allow us to enjoy the outdoors while also practicing safe social distancing (more than 6 ft apart). Here is a sample of Town owned properties to explore:
Strawberry Hill 56 Jeffrey’s Neck Road
This property offers two gentle out-and-back hiking trails. From the 6-car parking lot, the trail passes through grassland bird habitat before splitting at the first bench under the tree. To the left is the Bakers Island trail. The half mile Bakers Island trail crosses a private driveway-please respect our neighbors’ private property- and passes along the marsh to a vista point to views of the Eagle Hill River marshes. The Smith Island trail follows the main trail from the bench across a causeway to the grassy Smith Island for ¾ mile hike. Boots are encouraged for this property!
Nichols Field 60 Labor-in-Vain Road
Nichols Field is an open grassland that has a small parking lot and a quarter mile long loop trail that brings you around the property. This gentle hike is perfect for little ones with beautiful views of the Ipswich River and a short spur trail that takes you down to the river’s edge along the rocky shoreline.
You also have an opportunity to take a virtual tour of Nichols Field from the Open Space Program homepage: Nichols Field Virtual Tour
Turkey Hill Conservation Area 31 Pineswamp Road
Turkey Hill Conservation area has a 1-mile wooded loop trail that leads towards the top of Turkey Hill, one of the highest undeveloped hilltops in Ipswich. This is a more rugged hike through a beautiful part of town, with a fairly steep incline along the first ¼ mile, that becomes a more gradual ascent until you reach the highest elevation point about half way around the loop. There is a self-guided informational tour with 10 points of interest along the trail that describe some of the features of the landscape you are walking through. All you need is a smart phone to scan the QR code posted in the information kiosk and along the route. There is a four-car parking lot at the trailhead.
There is a quarter mile spur to the west off of the trail, that is currently under maintenance. If the open space purchase is approved at Town Meeting, the spur would connect up to the large trail system at the adjacent Kamon Farm. This trail connection would open up miles of trail connections to the public! To learn more, view the Kamon Farm webpage on the Town of Ipswich website.
Please Note: Dogs are welcome on trails on Town owned properties, but must be leashed at all times and dog waste picked up and disposed of. Most Town properties have dog waste stations for your convenience.
It’s always recommended to take a map, either paper or digital, when going out on the trails. There are lots of free trail apps you can download on your phone including, Alltrails, Gaia GPS and Hiking Project to name a few. This trail map shows all public trails and Town open space properties with trail access.
Protected Properties Through the Open Space Bond
Through the inception of the Open Space Bond Program in early 2000, the town has protected nearly 900 acres of land in Ipswich. Many are open to the public for passive recreation, however not all. The projects that have been completed through the program include both fee owned land, which the town has permanent ownership and control of, as well as Conservation Restrictions and/or trail easements where the land is still privately owned, but some portion of the property is permanently restricted from development, and in some instances limited public access is allowed through an easement.
This trail map provides some additional detail of Town public access properties and displays all Ipswich trails. The town owns hundreds of acres of undeveloped open space with miles of passive, non-motorized recreational trails for walking, birding, cross country skiing, biking, horseback riding, etc for public enjoyment. Some of these trails connect to adjoining public and private properties, also with trail access.
The town owned lands listed below, many of which are under care, custody, and control of the Conservation Commission, are managed in conjunction with the Open Space Program. Parking is provided and trails are open to the public for passive recreational non-motorized trail use. All of these properties and trails are open only during daylight hours and motorized recreational vehicles of any kind are prohibited at all times unless required for handicapped access. For a complete list of regulations view Open Space Rules and Regulations. If you're fortunate enough to be a dog owner, take time to familiarize yourself with the importance of picking up after your dog and keeping it on leash every time you enjoy the outdoors together by reading this information.