About Noanet Woodlands
Follow a network of trail across a grand preserve that features woodlands and ponds, a former mill site, and Noanet Peak, which offers views of the Boston skyline.
What makes Noanet Woodlands a special place?
We think it’s the more than 17 miles of shady trails and woods roads you’ll find here for walking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and horseback riding. Enjoy leisurely strolls, mountain biking, and birding – you might even hike to the top of Noanet Peak for terrific views of the Boston skyline.
Kids will especially enjoy the popular Caryl Trail, a 0.5-mi. walk to an old mill site. For a more strenuous trek, ascend Noanet Peak for views of Boston. The trails here link to the 1,200-acre Hale Reservation, a privately owned open space preserve that offers more miles of trail for an extended day of hiking, skiing, or riding in the woods.
In the spring, listen to and look for warblers, thrushes, and other songbirds. Scarlet tanagers and northern orioles are common throughout the summer, while hawks migrate overhead during the fall. The four ponds are home to bluegills, painted turtles, and bullfrogs. Wildflowers, including pink lady's slipper, flowering wintergreen, and marsh marigold, abound in the woods and marsh.
Through the centuries, this almost-600-acre landscape has seen many uses – as preserved space, an early industrial site, and Native American hunting ground. In 1923, Amelia Peabody purchased a nearby farm and over the next six decades acquired hundreds of acres. Miss Peabody regularly encouraged the public to enjoy her property, and became a beloved figure in the community.
17 miles of trails. Moderate hiking, strenuous in places.
When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 2 hours.
Regulations & Advisories
- In cooperation with the Town of Dover, authorized bow hunting, only with written permission, is allowed on this reservation for a limited number of hunters, according to MasssWildlife regulations from mid October through December each year, from ½ hour before sunrise all day until ½ hour after sunset Monday through Saturday. Hunting is not allowed on Sundays. Signage is posted at the property listing safety precautions, requirements, and rules for the benefit of all visitors. Learn more about hunting on Trustees reservations >>
- The Town of Dover prohibits dogs in town-owned Caryl Park parking lot by the tennis courts and The Trustees' ranger station.
- No more than two dogs per person are permitted.
- Dogs must be on leash unless they are within sight and under control at all times. No dog shall chase, hunt or harass people, wildlife, or other dogs.
- Do not allow your dog, even if friendly, to approach other dogs or people. They may not desire such contact.
- Carry out what your dog leaves behind.
- Dogs are prohibited from the Lower Mill Pond.
- Parking is prohibited at Caryl Park in April and May, Mon – Fri, 3 – 8pm, when athletic use is often at its peak.
- There is a precipitous drop over the mill pond dam; closely supervise children.
- A trail improvement plan may result in closure of some trails and establishment of new ones. Follow on-site signage.
- A permit is required to mountain bike at Noanet Woodlands. Download a biking permit form (Word) and biking regulations (Word). Please complete and forward the permit to The Trustees of Reservations, 37 Powisset Street, Dover, MA 02030. You will receive your permit in approximately 2 weeks.
- Natural gas pipeline not maintained as a trail; please avoid.
Dover, MA 02030
Get directions on Google Maps.
From Points North: I-95/Rt. 128 South, take Exit 17, Rt. 135 West. Turn left onto South St. After 1.1 mi. turn left onto
Chestnut St. Continue onto Dedham St. for 2 mi. to Caryl Park parking (40 cars) on left.
From Points South: I-95/Rt. 128 North, take Exit 16B, Rt. 109 West. Turn right at Grove St. Continue onto Country Club Rd., then Westfield St. Left at Dedham St. for 2 mi. to Caryl Park parking (40 cars) on left.
Please note: Parking is prohibited at Caryl Park in April and May, from 3 – 8pm, Mon. through Fri. when athletic use is at its peak.
When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 2 hours.
FREE to all. On-site donation welcome. Annual mountain bike permit required (FREE).
“Noanet” was likely the name of a chief of the Natick Indians, a tribal group probably affiliated with the Nipmuc and Wampanoag, who camped on this land, fished the Charles River, and hunted along Noanet Brook. Settlers used the present-day Powisset Farm for agriculture as early as 1720. Powisset’s most notable 18th-century farmer was Samuel Fisher, Jr., who was raising livestock and growing hay and corn by the 1790s. While Powisset Farm was arable, owners initially found little use for the granite hills and ledges and lowland brook and swamp of the adjacent woodlands.
Fisher was the first to look at Noanet Brook and see the potential for industry. He built a sawmill along the banks and did a booming business in the 1820s and 1830s producing building materials for the growing town of Dedham.
In 1815, investors also seeking to harness the power of Noanet Brook falls established the Dover Union Iron Company, and the steep banks of the ravine between Noanet Peak and Strawberry Hill were excavated to make room for a mill. But the company soon fell on hard times and was dissolved by 1840. In 1876, the milldam was breached by a flood and fell into disrepair until 1954, when it was restored. Today, the 24-foot-high dam and opening to the underground tailrace are preserved, but visitors will have to imagine a towering 36-foot overshot wheel that powered the mill.
In the 1830s and 40s, Calvin Richards operated a mill on Noanet Brook on the northeast corner of the property. The site’s shallow slope possibly required an above-ground aqueduct 200 feet long that delivered water from upstream.
In 1923, Miss Amelia Peabody purchased a farm on Dedham Street in Dover. Over the next six decades, she acquired parcels of land stretching south to Powisset Farm, eventually forming an 800-acre estate onto which she invited the public to share her many agricultural and conservation interests. Miss Peabody developed bridle paths throughout the lands she acquired for both herself and the Norfolk Hunt Club. These, and associated fire roads, were meticulously maintained for hiking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing by the public.
Initially, Miss Peabody used part of her property to stable thoroughbred horses for show, sale, hunting, and riding. By the end of World War II, she had acquired a herd of Hereford cattle and a number of Yorkshire pigs, the best specimens of which she entered in livestock shows throughout the region. “Field days” for pig farmers and cattle breeders were frequently held at her farm. She was also interested in food crops, and planted and harvested potatoes and sweet corn. Her interest in conservation led Miss Peabody to plant native species of wildflowers, trees, and shrubs on parts of her estate. To ensure the long-term conservation of her the land, she bequeathed property to both the New England Wildflower Society and The Trustees of Reservations when she died in 1984.
Property Acquisition History
Original acreage a bequest, with endowment, of Amelia Peabody in 1984. Added to previous gifts of Mrs. Henry B. Cabot in 1975 and Henry B. Cabot, Jr. in 1979. Additional land given by Brookfield Estates in 1996.
Conservation and Stewardship
Management Planning for Our Properties
Since 1891, The Trustees of Reservations have worked to protect special places in Massachusetts and maintain them to the highest standards. To ensure these standards are met, a program of careful planning and sound management is essential. Comprehensive property management plans are created for each reservation and are completely updated approximately every ten years. We often work with volunteers, property users, and members of the community to carry out this planning, which typically involves several steps:
- Describing in detail the site’s natural, scenic, and historical resources; identifying management issues related to the protection of those resources.
- Describing how visitors use the property; outlining the opportunities that the property provides for people to become involved in the work of conservation and caring for their community.
- Developing a detailed list of management recommendations, a work plan, and a description of financial needs for implementing the actions.
- Developing a prescribed routine management program for the reservation that will guide staff work plans, volunteer involvement, and the allocation of human and financial resources.
View Noanet Woodlands management plan (part 1).
View Noanet Woodlands management plan (part 2).
Maps and Resources
Printed trail maps are distributed free from the ranger station and bulletin board in the Caryl Park parking area. Please understand that supplies periodically run out. We recommend that you download a trail map before you visit.
Planning Your Visit
Before You Go
We encourage you to visit as many Trustees properties as you can.
Wherever your travels take you, please observe all posted regulations, follow special instructions from property staff, and keep in mind the Stewardship Code:
- Protect wildlife and plants.
- Guard against all risk of fire.
- Help keep air and water clean.
- Carry out what you carry in.
- Use marked footpaths and bridle paths.
- Leave livestock, crops, and machinery alone.
- Respect the privacy of neighboring land.
- Enjoy and share the landscape with others.
Click on links below for further visitor information:
Before Setting Out
Enjoying Trustees Reservations
About Hunting on Trustees of Reservations Land
Tell Us What You Think
We’d love to hear about your visit! Here are three easy ways to let us know what you think:
Take our visitor survey. If you have a question for us, you can ask us in the survey and we’ll get back to you.
Post a comment about your visit on our Facebook page.
Share your experiences with other visitors on our website. Simply fill out the form below, and we’ll post your comment right here on this page.