Forest Trails

Valley Swamp Conservation Area

3 Beers Ave, Norwell, MA 02061, USA

Norwell Conservation: (781) 659-8022

Owned By: Town of Norwell

Norwell’s Valley Swamp Conservation Area offers about 1.3 miles of woodland trails with views of freshwater swamps. There are two distinct trail networks — one at the end of Shady Lane, and one at the end of Beers Ave. Both sections permit hunting, in season.


This land is within the region of the Massachusett (or Massachuseuk) Native American tribe. For thousands of years, the land that today is known as Norwell was inhabited by indigenous people who grew crops, foraged, hunted, and fished in the Assinippi and North River areas. Circa 1617, a major outbreak of disease decimated an estimated 90% of the native population in New England.

To learn more about local Native American tribes, we encourage you to interact with their members. The Mattakeeset band of the Massachusett and the Massachusett tribe at Ponkapoag share information on their websites. 

Trail Description

Altogether, this property offers about 1.3 miles of trails, in two distinct sections, with the occasional footbridge. Recently renovated and opened to the public, the trails have been in place for a long time.

The section at the end of Shady Lane features about a half mile of trails. A 0.28-mile loop extends up and along the top of a ridge, and then down through an area bordering a swamp. A spur trail offers additional swamp views.

The section at the end of Beers Ave. offers 0.85 miles of trails. The .42-mile main trail is suitable for cross-country skiing, and extends as a wide cart path, up and down some moderate hills, through an open forest with swamp views. There is also a short (0.14-mile) forest loop close to the entrance.

Habitats and Wildlife

According to the Norwell Open Space Recreation Plan, Valley Swamp is classified as an acidic shrub fen — an acidic peatland dominated by mostly deciduous shrubs.

The forest here is primarily oak, maple, and pine, with some hemlock, plus plenty of moss and sweet pepperbush. There is a vernal pool on the property, and a vast expanse of freshwater swamp. In the springtime, listen for wood frogs and peepers. Owls and hawks have been observed here as well.

Valley Swamp is a headwater to the North River watershed. Third Herring Brook originates here, flows through Jacobs Pond, and forms the border between Norwell and Hanover. It flows into the North River downstream of the old stone bridge on Washington Street.

The North River rises from marshes and springs in Weymouth, Rockland and Hanson. It is approximately 10 miles in length, with its source at the confluence of the Indian Head River (Hanover) and Herring Brook (Pembroke). From there it flows through the towns of Hanover, Pembroke, Marshfield, Norwell, and Scituate to the Atlantic Ocean between Third and Fourth Cliffs, draining approximately 59,000 acres along the way.

  • A photograph of a tree with a trail marker next to a trail heading uphill, with blue sky.
  • A photograph of a narrow boardwalk through a freshwater swamp.
  • A photograph of a tree with unusual growth.
  • A photograph of a trail leading up a hill through a forest.
  • A photograph of a trailhead with property signs.
  • A photograph of a forest trail bypassing some wetlands.
  • A photograph of a trail heading uphill through a forest.
  • A photograph of a tree with two trail signs on it.
  • A photograph of a forest trail with a marker on one tree.
3 Beers Ave, Norwell, MA 02061, USA

Historic Site: No

Park: No

Beach: No

Boat Launch: No

Lifeguards: No

Hours: Dawn to Dusk

Parking: Limited roadside parking on Beers Ave.

Cost: Free

Trail Difficulty: Easy, Medium

Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!

Boat Ramp: No

ADA Access: No

Scenic Views: Yes

Waterbody/Watershed: Valley Swamp (North & South Rivers watershed)

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