1

Riverfront Woods Preserve, Yarmouth



Owned and managed by the town of Yarmouth, this 50-acre preserve brings you to the edge of the always beautiful Royal River. The trail is well made, with boardwalks over wet sections. Take note, you are not allowed to bring dogs to this preserve, which is tucked in between neighborhood developments.

The trails were not yet finished when I explored the preserve in January. I hiked back along the power lines to complete the figure eight for a 1.4-mile walk.

Directions: The parking area is located at the end of Riverfront Drive, off of East Elm Street.




Spear Farm Estuary Preserve, Yarmouth

Yarmouth’s Spear Farm Estuary Preserve offers a salt marsh, views of Royal River, idyllic picnic spots, woods, a freshwater pond and more than two miles of trails. I am definitely returning to this 55-acre preserve when the snow melts, if it ever does. The trails aren’t as well marked as they could be, but the trails are easy to follow.

Directions: From Route 88 (Spring Street) turn southeast onto Bayview Street, cross the bridge over I-295, and go 0.9 mile to a small parking area on the right, set back from the road with a small barn and kiosk at the edge of the field.

ngg_shortcode_0_placeholder




Sweetsir Farm Preserve, Yarmouth

This walk is not well-marked. There is a mostly obvious footpath that runs from the parking lot to the river. Avoid the trails that branch off to the left; they lead onto private property. Here’s a bit more info.

Directions: From the intersection of North Road and Ledge Road go north a tenth of a mile to Concord Circle and turn left; go through the subdivision half way around the circle to Old Field Road. Cross the railroad tracks and proceed to a small parking area at the end of the road. The trail extends straight into the woods, approximately 0.3 mile to the river.




Sligo Road Property, Yarmouth

A short trail on this 35-acre preserve crosses a little meadow and then follows the gentle curves of the wide Royal River for a bit. It doesn’t seem many people visit because the path through the meadow is faint. I was not sure where the riverside trail ended, but I followed the river a ways just because it’s so lovely here. There is also a picnic table near the river if you want to stay a while.

This is a place to visit in all seasons. The river is royally wide — good for swimming? Certainly for canoeing.

Directions: Head north on Main Street (Route 115) past the East Elm Street traffic light, turn right on Sligo Road. Go 0.4 mile to the Water District just beyond the railroad crossing. Park in the turnaround to the left of the YWD parking lot. There is space for 2-3 cars.

ngg_shortcode_1_placeholder




West Side Trail, Yarmouth

If you start at the trailhead on the Yarmouth’s West Side Trail that is close to the Route 295 (and the office building for Tyler Technologies) and walk east, toward the ocean, you can walk in one direction for about three miles before hitting Gilman Road and the bridge to Cousins Island. Then you can continue over the bridge all the way to the power station on the island, a little under two miles. This trail seemingly was designed with mountain bikers in mind, and some of the trails are winding and narrow. At steep hills, the trail has been cut into switchbacks. The path is well-marked with maps posted along the route.

The first part of the trail (near Tyler Technologies) begins at the large parking lot, and for the first 20-30 minutes you can hear the highway. But then it gets more quiet, and you wander along in the woods more or less parallel to the power lines (which you can also walk/ride along). There are occasional views of the sea as you walk toward the ocean. At times, the trail takes you under the electricity lines, but these portions are brief and the sunlight feels good. The trail connects with the Fels-Grove preserve. Beware of bike riders! Sometimes they come around corners quickly. 

West Side Trail (western segments): Heading west from Route 295, leaving from the park-and-ride parking lot, there is a .2-mile section of the trail that is wheelchair accessible. It is wide and flat but not quite long enough (or nice enough) on its own to go out of your way for. Eventually, it will connect to the very nice wheelchair accessible trail farther along the power lines. This section of the trail, which is roughly 0.6 miles long, is perhaps one of the most pleasant I’ve ever seen in a power line corridor. The wide gravel path winds in and out of copses that dot the middle of the corridor. There are benches placed in shady corners. The trail system connects with some blazed neighborhood paths around Applecrest Drive and Hickory Lane.

Directions: Parking is available at the Fels-Groves Farm Preserve on Gilman Road and at the upper parking lot on Tyler Drive (formerly Cole Haan Driver) off Route 1, near Route 295’s exit 15. To access the wheelchair-accessible western segment of the trail, you can park at a satellite parking lot near Frank H. Harrison Middle School. It’s about 0.3 miles to the trailhead along a sidewalk on a fairly quiet road.

ngg_shortcode_2_placeholder




Littlejohn Island Preserve, Yarmouth

On this walk you get an excuse to visit the tip of Littlejohn Island, baby cousin to Cousins Island. The 23-acre Littlejohn Preserve, managed by the Royal River Conservation Trust, offers lovely views and gravely beaches.

There are only four parking spots here, in a little parking lot of Pemasong Lane. If it is full, you’re not allowed to park on the road’s shoulders or at the end of the lane. Go here for more details.

Directions: After crossing on to Cousins Island, turn left onto Talbot Road by the Littlejohn Community House. Cross the bridge onto Littlejohn Island, then turn left onto Littlejohn Road. Bear left onto Pemasong Lane. Follow Pemasong Lane (please strictly respect posted speed limit of 15 mph) until you reach a parking area on the left, just before the stone gate with the “private” sign on it. Please park in this area and walk down to the end of the road through the stone gate to the entrance of the Preserve (2/10 of a mile, straight ahead, all turns are private driveways).

Check out more info and photos from Littlejohn Island Preserve at Carefree Creative, a Maine-based web company that has helped us with our website!

ngg_shortcode_3_placeholder




Pratt’s Brook Park, Yarmouth

The 220-acre Pratt’s Brook Park, with about six miles of trails, is a great gift for Yarmouth residents and others. Popular with dog walkers, this park makes for wonderful skiing after a fresh fall of powdery snow. It is groomed by volunteers. The trails are well marked, with periodic maps at intersections.

Directions: There are three parking areas for the three trailheads; the largest is off North Road. The parking area off Ledge Road is big enough for eight or so cars, while Berryfield Road can accommodate five or so vehicles. North Road parking is about 1.2 miles from East Main Street, on the right (or on the left, 0.1 mile south of the intersection of East Elm and North Road). Berryfield Road is a side road off of Granite Street just over a mile from the 4-way intersection with East Main Street (east of Transfer Station), with parking on the right. Ledge Road parking about 1.2 miles from North Road or about 0.4 mile from Granite Street, the entrance is about 150 feet east of Mountfort Road on the south side of the road, with parking on a wide soft shoulder.

ngg_shortcode_4_placeholder




Fels-Grove Farm Preserve, Yarmouth

This 55-acre preserve, protected by the Royal River Conservation Trust, starts off in a wide open meadow before heading into the woods for a short and pleasant walk. It also links to the long West Side Trail. The preserve has a short side trail that is wheelchair accessible, close to the parking lot, that loops through mature forest. 

Directions: Take Route 88 (Lafayette St.) to Princes Point Road. At the four-way stop, turn left onto Gilman Rd., going towards Cousins Island. The fields of Fels-Groves Farm open up within a quarter mile on both sides of Gilman Road. The southern parcel, which has trails and parking, is on the right.

ngg_shortcode_5_placeholder




Royal River Park, Yarmouth

This is a really pleasant community park, offering a 1-mile paved trail along the river (along with side trails), with panels explaining the site’s historical significance. Picnic tables, playing fields and a summer concert series round out its offerings. Lots of dogs and dog owners take advantage of this refuge, so close to downtown. It is wheelchair accessible.

Directions: The main entrance to the park is across from the Yarmouth Water District offices on East Elm Street, about 0.3 mile east of Andy’s Handy Store at the corner of Main Street. There are additional entrances to the park from Bridge Street, the Beth Condon Pathway near the Rowe Elementary School and via the pedestrian bridge accessed from Forest Falls Drive. Check out the town map in my slideshow.

ngg_shortcode_6_placeholder




Frank Knight Forest, Yarmouth

I was touched by this sweet place. I thought it might just be a rather ordinary walk in the woods, but the trail sets of from what appears to be an active community garden, and then follows wide paths (which when they are drive, are probably wheelchair/stroller accessible) to lovely meadows. Along the way you pass an apple orchard (which is fortified with lots of Keep Out! signs). An unusually shaped stone bench has been set up underneath a tree in one of the meadows. One trail, after passing through deep mature woods, ends at the railroad track, another takes you to a winding creek. The preserve is 75 acres.

Directions: Take East Main Street heading northeast. From the North Road intersection, the entrance is about 0.8 mile on the left just past the Community Garden sign. Park by the kiosk at the Community Garden.

ngg_shortcode_7_placeholder