Looking for a beautiful nature walk that is close to home? West Newbury's Riverbend Conservation Area extends from the water tower next to Page School down along the Indian River, across the slope and down to the Merrimack River. Spared much of the damage and destruction that toppled trees at Maudslay and Old Town Hill, the trails are easy and inviting, tho' there are wet spots. Thanks to West Newbury Life Scout Jeremy Baker and Troop 26, red trail markers lead down from Page School to the Main Trail, where blue markers lead right down toward the Merrimack or left to the Indian River. Orange markers follow the Indian River down to an overlook that is my favorite spot in town. The blue trail also continues up the old Myopia Hunt trail back to the parking lot at Mill Pond.
This beautiful town-owned parcel is a haven for beaver, otters, raptors, ducks and wading birds, and is blessed with a diversity of mature trees, ferns and wildflowers. The Indian River has been protected since for hundreds of years, and once was dammed and used to float out the basswood and oak cut from Pipestave Hill to be made into barrels. Old stone walls, dams and pools remain where a thriving mill once operated, at the point where the Indian River meets the incoming tide coming up the Merrimac.
Contact me if you need a trail map, or consult the Essex County Trails Association web site for a definitive view of the area. Then go take a hike!