Mass Audubon's North Hill Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, Mayflower St, Duxbury, MA 02332, USA
Owned By: Town of Duxbury
These woodlands, situated on a hillside overlooking a large pond and wetlands, are located within Duxbury’s 1,000-acre Eastern Greenbelt, and home to the town’s largest trail network. Directly adjacent to North Hill Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, Round Pond Conservation Area, Cherry Lane Bogs, Waiting Hill Preserve, Green’s Harbor Path & Kettle Hole Loop, and North Hill Country Club.
The Frederick B. Knapp Town Forest is part of Duxbury’s 1,000-acre Eastern Greenbelt. It directly abuts Mass Audubon’s North Hill Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, as well as the Waiting Hill Preserve and the Round Pond Conservation Area. Within Knapp Forest, you’ll find the Green’s Harbor Path and Kettle Hole Loop trail network, among others. North Hill Country Club is directly adjacent as well.
This land is within the region of the Patuxet Wampanoag tribe, who for centuries have inhabited the area around the Jones River now known as Duxbury, Kingston and Plymouth.
The forest is named for Frederick B. Knapp (1857-1932), who served as the Headmaster for the Powder Point School for Boys, chief of the Duxbury Volunteer Fire Department, and Forest Warden.
Primary access to the Knapp Town Forest is at North Hill Marsh on Mayflower Street. The Knapp Trail, blazed in yellow, extends a short distance in one direction from the parking area to Mayflower Street, but much greater distance in the other direction, through the woods the O’Brien Bogs, along the Kettle Hole Loop Trail, and beyond to Harrison and Tremont Streets.
The Pond Loop, blazed in blue, extends all the way around North Hill Marsh. A secondary trail, blazed in red, extends from the northern intersection of Green’s Harbor Path and the Kettle Hole Loop, west to the North Hill Marsh trail network.
Additional access to the Knapp Trail is available behind First Parish Church in Duxbury (842 Tremont Street). Follow the stairs, or the trail nearby, to head downhill. Walk past the labyrinth/meditation garden, and continue to the fence that borders Mayflower Cemetery.
Habitats and Wildlife
Pine and oak woodlands along a sloping hillside, with some wetland areas. Birds such as hawks, osprey, herons, ducks, geese and tree swallows are commonly found here. In the spring and summer you may see butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies. For mammals, watch for white-tailed deer, mink, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, chipmunk, squirrel and coyote. Reptile residents include black snakes and a variety of turtles (box, painted, spotted, snapping). Amphibians include frogs, toads and salamanders. Some of the flowers commonly viewed include mayflowers in April, ladyslippers in May, and sheep laurel in June.
The waters on this property drain into West Brook, a major source (along with North Hill Pond) of the Duck Hill River. After flowing through the Cow Tent Hill Preserve, the Duck Hill River meanders through the Duxbury marshes for quite a distance before flowing into Duxbury Bay.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 823 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Limited on-site parking at North Hill Marsh. Additional access from Mayflower Street and behind the Duxbury Town Offices.
Trail Difficulty: Easy, Medium
Kiosk, benches, observation platform, boardwalks. Observation platform off the Pond Loop trail. Geocache location.
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash or under control. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: West Brook (Duck Hill River watershed)