23 Virginia Dr, Hanover, MA 02339, USA
Owned By: Town of Hanover
More than a mile of trail through woods and wetlands in North Hanover plus two drumlin hills and some spectacular beech trees!
According to Briggs’ History of Shipbuilding on North River, there several mills on Shingle Mill Brook. The first was erected as early as 1723. The third, a sawmill erected by Deacon John Brooks in 1851, produced “from 80,000 to 100,000 feet of inch and half-inch pine boards annually,” as well as pine and oak planks, joist and timber. Briggs describes the mill pond (today’s Shingle Mill Pond) as “one of the most romantic spots in Hanover.” It is also the location of the historic Absalom’s Rock, the largest rock in town.
There was another mill on the same stream, built by Joseph Brooks in 1820 — first a grist mill, and then a shingle mill. In 1889, Albert G. Mann owned a sawmill there.
Farther upstream, where it crosses the junction of Webster and North Streets, was a grist mill. It was constructed by Benjamin Mann, probably in 1765, “an old-fashioned mill with a great water-wheel, requiring an immense quantity of water to turn it” (Briggs). Later it was owned by his son, Caleb Mann. Benjamin’s great-grandson, Albert G. Mann, owned the water privilege in 1889.
The bridges along the Shingle Mill Brook trail were constructed by Eagle Scout Alex Jasie c. 2019. In the damp sections of the property, look for bottle dumps — areas where discarded household goods from long ago were probably buried, but are now emerging from the earth.
The trails in this property are relatively new. At times, you may need to pay careful attention in order to follow them. Follow the green blazes into the property. The trail is well-marked until you reach the first of two beech groves. There is also a second, less-developed trail marked with yellow tape, which seems to begin at the first beech grove. We anticipate additional trail improvements in the future.
There are two bridges, each crossing a section of Shingle Mill Brook, as well as a zig-zagging section of rudimentary boardwalk that traverses wetlands. Various spur trails deep into the property lead to private homes.
Habitats and Wildlife
The forest at the Shingle Mill Brook Conservation Area is comprised primarily of oak, beech, maple and pine, as well as holly and hemlock. Fern, greenbrier, and sweet pepper bush are abundant. The property contains two drumlin hills, created by glacial activity long ago. One of these drumlins is believed to be the highest point in Hanover. In the dense underbrush, you may spot a deer!
Shingle Mill Brook is a tributary to Longwater Brook, which later flows into the Drinkwater River. The Drinkwater River and French’s Stream flow together to form the Indian Head River. All of this takes place in Hanover. The Indian Head River joins with Herring Brook on the Hanover/Hanson/Pembroke line to form the North River, which flows through Hanover, Pembroke, Norwell, Marshfield and Scituate to its outlet at the Atlantic Ocean between Third and Fourth Cliffs, near Humarock.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 10 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk.
Parking: Park on Virginia Drive.
Trail Difficulty: Easy, Medium
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Shingle Mill Brook (North River watershed)