The Thompson Street reservation features exposed bedrock, vernal pools, woodland and swamp. There are traces of many trails that used to be wagon paths for early settlers to access their woodlots, but have since been overgrown with scrub growth due to numerous fires. Allowed activities: horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, nature study, picnicking, snowshoeing.
This property is part of the larger Manchester-Essex Woods. The property protects the headwaters of the Essex River, which is a mere trickle at this location, and is part of a wildlife corridor that runs south from the salt marshes of Essex into the Manchester-Essex Woods.
Willowdale Mill is the site of a 19th century textile mill constructed that produced various textiles until it was destroyed by fire in 1884. Remnants of the mill are still evident as is the sluiceway that channeled water from the Ipswich River to power the mill. The sluiceway is dry now, but still runs from one end of the property to the other. The surrounding woods are dotted with white pine, with fine broad paths carpeted in layers of pine needles for walking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and horseback riding.
Sunday, October 25
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