68 River St, Norwell, MA 02061, USA
Owned By: Town of Norwell
This 8-acre parcel of town-owned woodland in Norwell contains large multi-activity playground structures, short trails, and a sledding hill. There are separate play structures for 0-5 year olds and 5-12 year olds, plus 5500 square feet of poured-in-place rubber surfacing for safety. Adult supervision is required at all time.
Gaffield Park is also one of many access points to Norwell’s Pathway, a paved bike and walking trail.
The land for this park was donated to the Town of Norwell in 1896 by Maria & Thomas Gaffield, upon the condition that it “shall be kept as a Public Park for the benefit of all the inhabitants of the town and that the woods would be forever preserved.” The park was maintained annually on Arbor Day.
The land was initially transformed into a public playground in 1988, when the Norwell Chamber of Commerce undertook the project in honor of the town’s centennial. The project was funded with donations from citizens and businesses. November 11th and 12th, 1989 were declared Garfield Park Days, to commemorate the official opening of the playground.
An additional campaign in 2003-2004 resulted in the replacement of the playground structures with more modern equipment, as well as the Friends of Garfield Park bricks along the entryway. The Norwell Recreation Department took over the responsibility of the park in 2017. Additional upgrades occurred in 2019 and 2021.
Short trails lead away from the playground area into the woods, inviting exploration. Some large glacial erratic boulders in the forest encourage imaginative play. There are also some old stone walls on the property.
Habitats and Wildlife
The playground is set in a natural bowl within a pine forest. Woodland creatures such as chipmunks and squirrels are a common sight. Watch and listen for birds in the trees. There aren’t any streams that flow through Gaffield Park, so rain and other runoff flow downhill to Second Herring Brook and the North River.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 8 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Limited on-site parking.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Playground, picnic tables, benches, trash receptacles, informational kiosk.
Dogs: Pets are not permitted in the playground area.
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: Yes
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Second Herring Brook (North River watershed)