Topsfield Linear Common and Wenham Rail-Trail


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Topsfield Linear Common and Wenham Rail-Trail Facts

States: Massachusetts
Counties: Essex
Length: 4.9 miles
Trail end points: Topsfield Road (Topsfield) and Pye Brook Lane (Boxford)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone, Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6243620
Trail activities: Bike, Fishing, Horseback Riding, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Topsfield Linear Common and Wenham Rail-Trail Description

The trail begins in the small town of Boxford, about 25 miles north of Boston. For just shy of 5 miles, the hard-packed stone-dust pathway follows a former rail bed through Topsfield, meandering across Route 1, over the Ipswich River, and through a wetland area.

Just south of the river crossing, you can connect to the peaceful and scenic Salem-Beverly Canal Path along the old waterway built in 1917.

At its southern end, the trail passes through the Great Wenham Swamp. Expect to see plenty of wildlife, particularly marshland bird species, as well as wildflowers and wetland plants. The trail also passes by a corner of Danvers' Swampwalk—a conservation area with boardwalk trail—and the former Choate Farm on its way to meet the Danvers Rail-Trail at Topsfield Road.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at the following: Pye Brook Park (off Bare Hill Road); Proctor School off Grove Street by the tennis courts; at Park Street near Main; at the Village Shopping Center off Main Street; at the Rt. 1 crossing.

Topsfield Linear Common and Wenham Rail-Trail Reviews

Combined with the Danvers and Peabody trails the result is a lovely ride through woods and wetlands. Plenty of parking at the Topsfield end. The trail is well marked and the street crossings all have crossing lights. The grade is nearly flat for an easy ride!

We accessed this trail from the Danvers Rail Trail to the south, and frankly, I couldn't tell where Danvers ended and Topsfield began, it was so seamless. Perhaps it was at the road crossing. Very scenic trail, hard packed earth with stone dust, in some places worn away. At the northern end, trail peters off into a hard earth footpath, just wide enough for one bike. But the grass is mowed and the trail is still maintained so we followed to the end, close to Route 95. Trail has great maps placed at intervals, showing the trail, and where you are on it. I will definitely be going back.

We continued seamlessly onto a relatively short portion of the Topsfield Linear after riding north from mile 0 the Danvers Rail Trail en route to the Mass Audubon Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. Both trails have good hard pack gravel and with the exception of a very short (0.1 mi) ride along busy Route 97 to reach quiet Perkins Row it was an excellent way to bike to Audubon. One mile on Perkins Row takes one to the Audubon entrance. If we do the ride again, I think we'd skip the first 2 miles on the Danvers - the trail surface is good, but the scenery is not interesting and the road crossings are many in that portion.


Great Sunday walk on our fall stay-cation. Plenty of dunkin donuts around for iced drinks after 3 mile walk. Flat narrow crushed stone was wide enough in both directions. Plenty of family bikers, small and tall, couteous and friendly!

Parking? REALLY? We found 4 spaces at RT 97 crossing only so pulled the truck on shoulder.
Side trail to Grand Canal wasn't marked! Found it when a dog got loose and made a run for the swamp.
Turtles, heron, snakes, chipmunk visible. Planes overhead.


i have ridden this tril several times statring at lowell st in peabody and ending at the byfield line is a very nice scenic trail has some inclines coming north from peabody but very manageable trail is packed gravel and is easy to ride scenery is terrific! only two things at market street in downtown danvers traffic is very heavy be careful when crossing this st. and there are few drop offs that could use a railing.
trail is very well maintained and over all a pleasure to ride

I am not sure that greg724 and I was on this same trail. I have no idea what he is talking about. I have been on over a 100 trails mostly from Va to New England and this is not a long trail but a very nice trail. Last of all this guy has no idea how great a group that Rails to Trails really is. When I read such a bad review like this it makes me very upset. Greg724 if it is as bad as you think it is go and help do something about it. I rode this trail last fall in earl November and I thought it was a great ride.

I have been enjoying this trail since it opened but haven't been on it for a few months. I went out walking yesterday and was shocked and saddened to see all the natural habitat along the trail had been destroyed. Gone along with it are all the small animals, birds, flowers, and pleasant spring time smells that made you feel like you were out in nature. From growing up in this area I know that the wild grapes and blueberry bushes that used to line the trail have been there for 50 years at least. So sad to see it all destroyed. I also know that the railroad easement only extends a few feet from from the center of the trail, so I was shocked to see the land stripped for such a wide swath in each direction. I spoke to a land owner along the trail who started to cry when I asked about it. Now the trail is just a wide open, scar across the landscape. It is also unbearably windy, devoid of wildlife and much less safe, as the thorny tangled vegetation provided an effective natural barrier to human predators. Now Instead of watching cute rabbits and chipmunks scurry through the undergrowth, enjoying the scent of flowers or identifying bird calls, the only thing you can see, hear or smell are cars from nearby roadways. Very sad and very unimpressed with rails to trails. If I still lived in this town I would be very concerned about the qualifications of the conservation committee that is supposed to be keeping an eye on these things.

I did this trail a little over a year ago and like before it is a great trail. You can now go up though Topsfield and go all the way to I93, it is a little rough as it was only cut back this past summer and dose not have a good surface yet. The great part of this trail is that you can now to go all the way to Lowell street in Peabody, just over ten miles each way. The group that has put this trail together has done a great job and the crossings at Topsfield Rd and US 1 are two of the very best high volume intersection I have crossed in the past three years and about 5000 miles of Trails and over 50 different trails

Started journey from North Shore Mall. Once off Lowell St. The trail was quite enjoyable and the section through Wenham/ Topsfield was very scenic. I made it to the section that was no longer gravel and packed stone dust but field grass and it was a more difficult ride, can't wait for that to be completed. Overall a very nice and enjoyable journey.

Great to experience the local scenery around the Ipswich river on thru Danvers. Looking forward to when the trail is paved north towards Boxford, Groveland? Haverhill? The large station like building in Topsfield should see increased business if the trail opens up to the north. wouldn't a small Cafe be great in that location?
Fall foliage around the swamp walk was spectacular, the green swamp water was amazingly beautiful, blending with browns, reds, small blue flowers etc..

From the endpoint in Boxford to the Peabody line, what a fun trail. The first few miles from Boxford to Oak Drive in Topsfield are not completed yet, so the single track, bumpy grass path, was a challenge for my wife & I, who enjoy the smooth, paved rail trails we have become so accustomed to. Once into Topsfield proper, we were greeted to a well maintained, hard packed stone dust trail that was a pleasure to bike on. Rolling out of town, we passed behind the Legendary Topsfield Fairgrounds, then into the wetlands where the grackles welcomed us with a rousing rendition of bird chatter. We traversed the Swamp Walk and marveled at the expanse of boardwalk guiding us through such a beautiful and peaceful place. Back on the trail, we continued trough the overhanging archway of golden maples, and onto the Wenham section of rail trail. This short portion of the ride is a little more wooded, with a section carved through a length of rock ledge, providing yet another great photo op. We soon came across the Danvers Rail Trail marker, and not knowing if the trail ahead had been completed yet, we decided to find out for ourselves. This 4.3 mile of trail also continues with hard packed stone dust along its' length and is an easy ride to its' end. Though quiet and somewhat scenic at its' beginning, it slowly blends itself into the back streets and neighborhoods of the town of Danvers. One minor set back was the number of road crossings encountered and how close to one another they were. The intersections could use a little more attention to the curbings and bike trail crossing signage. Other than that, nice job, nice trail. Oh yes, and for you ice cream lovers, check out the stand at the Pine Street crossing. Total trail length, 9.2 miles.

Trail is very flat and straight. In several places the trail is under construction for 500 feet or more, with large broken stones underfoot (and not passable with a bike) as of 7/20/2013.

The trail is great for walking, biking and cross country skiing from the Rte 97 entrance all the way to Danvers Agway for a round trip distance around 6.5 miles. The wooden nature bridges over the Ipswich River are now complete and the views are awesome. There is a large wooden deck you can sit, read, picnic and meditate on in full sun in the good weather. It's a place where you can clear your head, find some peace in your day, get away from technology. Put your phone on silent/vibrate and enjoy the quiet.

I did this nice little trail on a trip to New England. I did it on my Road Bike and because of the great surface I had a great ride. There is a very nice light at Topsfield Rd that lets Drivers coming down this road know that there are people about to cross the road. This is a family friendly trail as it is flat, straight and not to long. The crossing at Rt 1 is a little tricky but is manageable. The high light of the this trail for me was the building that looks like an old Train Station at Washington St. There are just a few parking spaces at Topsfield Rd end but a large number at the Washington St end.

A compacted stone dust surface was completed in the 4th quarter of 2011 from Washington St. Topsfield through the Wenham section to the Danvers town line where a rougher stone surface continues on through to Peabody. Danvers expects to install a compacted stone dust surface this summer (2012).

After passing the Topsfield Fairgrounds heading south the route becomes quite scenic passing over the Ipswich River and through the Wenham Swamp which is part of Audubon's Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. A good area to watch birds and beavers.

Trail starts at Washington St. proceeds past the post office, crosses Rte1, past Topsfield Fair grounds, along the Ipswich River, over the river on an old railroad bridge, past a marshy area, crosses Rte97, passing more marsh, past the Choate Farm and continues on the Danvers rail trail. Trail becomes secluded after crossing Rte1. Topsfield end starts out as very hard packed gravel then transitions to stone dust and then to untreated railbed (after crossing Rte97) minus the crushed stones. Eventually came to a very muddy section in Danvers (approximately 4 miles) and turned around. Great riding on mountain or hybrid bikes with plenty of views of the Ipswich River and surrounding marsh. Expect plenty of birds in the warmer months. Compliments to Topsfield, Wenham and Danvers on there efforts.

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