G.A.C. "That bunch of runners in Topsfield"
Favorite Places to Run
Roads (All road routes begin from the store)
This is a 5 mile out and back.
Go right out of the parking lot onto South Main, right onto Grove, right onto Washington, left on Parsonage to the end, left on Bare Hill Road and turn
around at Pye Brook
This is a 6.3 mile loop.
Go right out of the parking lot onto South Main, right onto Salem St, bear right onto Hill, right onto Cross, left onto Alderbrook, right onto Rowley Bridge,
left on River, right on Washington, right at the stop sign (still Washington), straight until the stop sign, right onto South Main and in.
This is a 5 mile loop that is the race course for the Topsfield Foliage Classic every October.
Go right out of the parking lot onto South Main, right onto Salem St, right onto River, right on Washington, left on Lockwood, right on Silverbrook,
right on Boxford Road,
all the way straight (changes to Washington), right on High St ext, right onto South Main and in.
Willowdale State Forest - Pineswamp Section
Bradley Palmer State Park
Main Trailhead/"Fishing Bridge" - is on the north side of Topsfield Road at the crosswalk just east of the Topsfield/Ipswich line. Topsfield
Road is called Ipswich Road when in Topsfield. This trailhead in known to the G.A.C. as the Fishing Bridge as there is a bridge over the Ipswich River south
of the crosswalk entering Bradley Palmer. The trailhead is approximately 2.5 miles east of the Route 1 intersection with Ipswich Road (set of lights).
From this trailhead the popular run is the 10K loop (described below). Ample parking.
Route 1/Bay Circuit Trail - is on the east side of Route 1 at the West St. intersection of Route 1 (West St is called East St in Topsfield).
This is where the Bay Circuit Trail crosses Route 1 via a crosswalk. The crosswalk is about 3 miles north of the Route 1/Ipswich Road intersection. There
is limited parking on the right. The trailhead is just a few feet in on the north side of West Street. A five mile loop can be run off of this part of the
Circuit Trail (description forthcoming). You can also run the Bay Circuit Trail west towards Hood Pond from this point.
About the Forest:
Trail Maps available at the Ranger Station in Bradley Palmer. Major intersections are marked with numbers from 1 to 50. These numbers appear as white numerals on
brown plastic signs about three feet high. Often the numbers appear sequentially but not always so be careful when running in an unfamiliar area - when in
doubt, backtrack. Some signs are missing.
The Bay Circuit Trail passes through the Forest. A map of the forest showing the numbered intersections (available in the Bay Circuit Trail Guide for Ipswich
is available from the Town Clerk's office at Ipswich Town Hall on Green Street.)
If you are new to Willowdale, go with someone who knows the trails - you
will get lost.
Please yield the right of way to horses in Willowdale - walk don't run when passing horses.
10K Loop - This loop is a counter-clockwise loop through the center of Willowdale. It is actually slightly over 6.4 miles but is called the 10K loop
as it runs on the 10 K loop used for the Fat Ass 50K which is measured starting and ending at intersection number 22. The extra distance is the bit of trail
between the trailhead on the street and this intersection that you will cover in and out.
Starting at the Main Trailhead proceed north over a slight rise, after 200 yards you will reach a fork numbered 22, bear right. You are now on the 10K loop.
After another 400 Yards you will reach a T intersection numbered 21 - turn left.
At 1.0 mile you will bear slightly right at number 20. After going through a low wet spot you will go up a short steep hill - bear left at this point - 19
(sign missing but 19 appears in red on a tree). You are at 1.5 miles. Go straight through at 18 (2 miles) - you are entering the 1.8 mile "horseshoe"
which you will exit ten yards to the left. Turn left at 17 (2.3 miles). At an unnumbered intersection (2.6 miles) bear left and after 200 yard bear left
again - number 15. At mile 3.8 you will exit the horseshoe at 13 and turn right. At the next intersection, 3, turn right up the hill and then bear left at 2.
You are at mile 4.1. Continue on past the marsh on your left and into Marini's field. The trail bears left across the field and back into the woods.
At 24 turn left (mile 4.4). Continue straight for well over a mile and then bear right at 5. After a short distance turn left at 6. Follow the trail straight
through (bear slightly left at 31). Cross a concrete bridge and turn right at 22, over the rise and back to the street.
Main Entrance Directions:
Take Route 1 North. Follow Route 1 North for four miles after entering Topsfield (just after the Mobil/Exxon stations near I-95). Turn right at the lights
(second set) onto Ipswich Road. Follow Ipswich Road for 1.25 miles and turn right onto Asbury Street. Bradley Palmer entrance will be .25 miles on the left. Straight in to parking lot.
About the State Park:
Trail Maps are available at the Ranger Station.
Trailheads on Ipswich Road/Topsfield Road (crosswalk) opposite Willowdale and from main parking lot reached by main entrance off of Asbury St.
Bald Hill Reservation (aka Boxford Town Forest)
Trailheads on Middleton Road (several). Main gate has map. Also trailhead at the end of Sharpners Pond Road in Middleton.
Trail Maps available from Essex County Greenbelt Headquarters in Essex, MA.
Willowdale State Forest - Hood Pond Section
Trailheads on Boxford Road (referred to often as Linebrook) behind Hood Pond and on Newbury Road in Ipswich and on Boxford Road in Rowley.
Bay Circuit Trail passes through. Trail Maps available at the Ranger Station in Bradley Palmer.
Georgetown Rowley State Forest
Bay Circuit Trail
Andover, North Andover, Middleton, Boxford, Georgetown, Rowley, Ipswich
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