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Northeast

Appleton Farms Grass Rides

South Hamilton

259 acres

More than five miles of wide, family-friendly carriage paths provide a captivating environment for walking, exploring, and nature watching.

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Plan Your Visit
  • Overview
  • Ideas for Your Visit
  • Admission & Hours
  • Directions
  • Facilities
  • Venue Rental
  • Property Map
  • Regulations & Advisories

Overview

Appleton Farms Grass Rides was originally designed for horseback riding. Like a wagon wheel, five “rides”—an English term for carriage path—meet in a central clearing called the “Roundpoint,” where a large granite pinnacle salvaged from the demolition of the former Harvard College Library (and one of four pinnacles on the property) stands as a silent sentry.

The landscape here is comprised of forest, open fields, and wetlands. On the uplands, you’ll find secondary growth forest, interspersed with small fields.

Ideas for Your Visit

From the Pigeon Hill overlook, take in a panoramic view of the entire pasture and the site of another pinnacle salvaged from Harvard.

Wetlands found on the Grass Rides are part of the watershed for the Miles and Ipswich Rivers. Look for the stone culverts and bridges that still work to maintain the existing wetland habitat.

Admission & Hours

Members park for free. Nonmembers: $5 parking fee.

Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1 hour, 3 hours if also visiting Appleton Farms.

Directions

Highland Street
South Hamilton, MA 01982
Telephone: 978.356.5728
E-mail: appletonfarms@thetrustees.org

Get directions from Google Maps

From Route 128. Take exit 20A and follow Route 1A North toward Hamilton for approximately 2.5 miles. Turn left onto Arbor Street (by First Church in Wenham and Wenham Town Hall). Continue on Arbor Street for approximately .6 miles. Arbor Street becomes Highland Street. Continue on Highland Street for approximately 3 miles. The Appleton Farms Grass Rides parking lot is located .1 miles past Cutler Road. The parking lot is located on your right.

 

Facilities

Bathroom facilities are not available at the Grass Rides but are available in the Carriage Barn at Appleton Farms.

Venue Rental

Appleton Farms is an exceptional venue for weddings and other private events. Please contact us at appletonfarms@thetrustees.org for more information.

Property Map

Free trail map distributed from bulletin board in the parking area. Please understand that supplies periodically run out.

We recommend that you take a photo of the map on your phone so you can refer to it during your visit, or download a trail map before you head out.

Regulations & Advisories

  • We want everyone to experience and enjoy the Appleton Farms Grass Rides. To protect the Grass Rides for years to come, we ask everyone to follow a few guidelines and regulations while visiting the property.
  • Due to the softness of trails and sensitive wetland vegetation, horseback riding is NOT permitted in Appleton Farms Grass Rides.
  • Mountain biking is permitted only on designated trails. Trails are closed to mountain bikes March 1 – April 30 to preserve trails during mud season.
  • Please observe all posted signs.
  • Authorized bow hunting, only with written permission, is allowed on this reservation for a limited number of hunters, according to MasssWildlife regulations from mid October through December each year, from ½ hour before sunrise all day until ½ hour after sunset, Monday through Saturday. Hunting is not allowed on Sundays. Signage is posted at the property listing safety precautions, requirements, and rules for the benefit of all visitors.
  • The Trustees reserves the right to photograph or video visitors and program participants for promotional use, and usage of our properties implies consent. Please read the photo and video policy.
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History

The Grass Rides, part of the larger Appleton Farms estate dating to the mid-17th century, was created by the Appleton family, originally for horseback riding and carriage driving. The original acreage was a gift of Col. and Mrs. Francis R. Appleton, Jr., in 1970, with additional land given by Mrs. Appleton between 1970 and 1998.

The View From Here
See What People Say

One of my favorite places to walk, run or bike with or without my labs in tow. The paths are wide and maintained, including winter for xc skiing. This green area, 25 miles from Boston, is a minor miracle.

Michael L, Trip Advisor Review

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