75 Peach St, Braintree, MA 02184, USA
Owned By: Town of Braintree
85 acres of woodlands in Braintree Highlands, featuring views of Cranberry Brook, and a 3.5-mile trail network. Motorized vehicles are prohibited.
The Braintree Town Forest was established by Braintree Town Meeting in 1938, for open space and forestry. In 2011, the trails were dedicated to Charlie Moore, a long-time members of the Town Forest Committee. According to the Braintree Trail Guide, District 6 Councilor Dan Clifford and the Public Works Department were instrumental in revitalizing the Town Forest trails, and Moore was a dedicated steward of the forest.
There are two dams along Cranberry Brook within the Town Forest and one more in Cranberry Pond Conservation Land — indications that this area once used for milling or manufacturing. According to interpretive signage on the property, the lower dam in the Town Forest was probably Ludden’s Mill, established in 1795. The other two were likely retention dams. Cranberry Brook is also known as Horse Brook.
This land is within the region of the Massachuseuk (or Massachusett) Native American tribe.
Look for the informational kiosk on Peach Street, which marks the main trailhead. From there you can access the 3.5-mile, color-coded trail network. The trails are well-marked, well-tended, and easy to follow. The blue trail leads from the parking area to all of the other trails. The orange trail features an intriguing rocky area and intersects with the yellow trail. Both the red and green trails offer close-up views of Cranberry Brook. The trails are relatively flat, although there are some occasional elevations and rooty spots. There is picnic area on the red trail, in a pleasant pine grove, with several picnic tables.
Additional pedestrian access from Marisa Drive, Wildwood Ave. and Sheraton Ave.
Habitats and Wildlife
The forest here is mostly oak and pine, with some beech, American holly and sassafras. Here and there, you’ll find occasional glacial erratics and rocky outcroppings.
Cranberry Brook flows through the property, and is bordered by wetlands. In 1983, the 1050-acre Cranberry Brook watershed was established as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), designated by the Secretary of Environmental Affairs for its unique and significant natural resources. It includes 157 acres of wetlands, as well as a pond, a brook, two quaking bogs, a marsh, and wooded swamps.
Cranberry Brook originates in Holbrook, near the Town Forest and flow north through Braintree’s Cranberry Pond Conservation Area before turning west to enter the Braintree Town Forest. After passes under Route 37, it flows into the Cochato River. Farther downstream, within the Braintree Municipal Golf Course, the Cochato and Farm Rivers flow together to form the Monatiquot River.
The Monatiquot River flows northeast for 4.9 miles before merging with Smelt Brook to form the Fore River. The Fore River serves as the boundary line between the towns of Weymouth and Braintree. It flows for about 3 miles, into Quincy, where it meets Town River, and then flows for another 2 miles into Hingham Bay. In its final few miles, the Fore River is nearly a mile wide in some places.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 85 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Limited on-site parking at 75 Peach Street.
Trail Difficulty: Easy, Medium
Informational kiosk, interpretive signage, picnic tables, trash receptacles, benches.
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Cranberry Brook (Fore River watershed)