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Andrews Woods (15 Acres)

Permanently protected by the Town of Rockport and managed by the Conservation Commission.

Trail Difficulty: Easy


Andrews Woods is a 15-acre parcel of woodland with hiking trails that is located between Phillips Avenue, Ocean Avenue, and Haven Avenue in northern Rockport, just southeast of Halibut Point State Park. 

This woodland (like much of Rockport) sits atop a ledge of 440-million-year-old granite, sloping gently toward the sea. When the last glacier retreated from the area some 15,000 years ago, it left behind only a thin layer of silt, scattered with large “glacial erratics.” Trees initially struggled to take root, but as leaves began to accumulate, the soil began to turn into the rich, porous loam found on the floor of the woods today.

Present-day tree species in Andrews Woods include oak, flowering shad, black cherry, and pitch pine. Among the shrubs and other plants in the woods are anemone, trillium, low-bush blueberries, blackberries, huckleberries, pink lady slippers, winterberry, Solomon’s seal, and Canadian mayflower.

History, Stewardship, and Conservation:

The current Andrews Woods parcel was formerly part of a farm that had been owned by William Andrews and his heirs from the early 1700’s until the late 1770’s.  The Town of Rockport acquired this land through a tax-taking in 1963, and Andrews Woods was finally voted into conservation at a Rockport Town Meeting in May 2021.

The Rockport Rights of Way Committee has been helping to maintain the trails on this property since the ROW Committee was first established in 1989.  A group of dedicated neighbors and community members also formed the Friends of Andrews Woods group in 2005, which was led and organized by Rockport resident and Andrews Woods neighbor Bill Mueller.  The Friends of Andrews Woods group has actively kept the trails clear (in cooperation with the Rockport ROW Committee), educated the public about these woods, and created a trail map and dedicated website for the property*.

The Friends of Andrews Woods group played an instrumental role in raising public awareness about the importance of preserving Andrews Woods, and in advocating successfully for its long-term protection, which was secured in 2021 when it was voted into conservation by the Town of Rockport. Cape Ann Trail Stewards also wrote letters to the Town advocating for the permanent preservation of these woods in advance of the 2021 vote, as did the Mass DCR, Trustees of Reservations, Mass Audubon, and the Rockport Open Space and Recreation Committee and ROW Committee.

*(Note that the former Andrews Woods website is no longer active, and going forward the CATS website will be the primary online source of information for Andrews Woods).

Cape Ann Trail Stewards and Andrews Woods

Cape Ann Trail Stewards officially took on Andrews Woods as one of our Stewardship Sites in the spring of 2023 at the request of the Friends of Andrews Woods group.  As a result of the 2021 Town Meeting vote putting the property into conservation, Andrews Woods now falls under the “care, control, and custody” of the Rockport Conservation Commission, and the Conservation Commission has requested that the ongoing on-the-ground care and maintenance of Andrews Woods remain with local community groups working on the Town’s behalf. 

CATS remains in regular contact with the Conservation Commission regarding stewardship of Andrews woods, and the original Friends of Andrews Woods group volunteers are now working with Cape Ann Trail Stewards to maintain the trails on this property.  CATS also continues to work in close collaboration with the Rockport ROW Committee regarding maintenance, group trail work days, and potential future signage and mapping updates for Andrews Woods. 

Parking and Access:

There are several trail entrances to Andrews Woods accessible from Phillips Ave. and Haven Ave., and there are areas of roadside parking available on both Phillips and Haven Avenue. 

See Map below for parking information:

Other Nearby Trail Connections:

You may easily combine an excursion on the Andrews Woods trails with additional trails along the Atlantic Path and/ or Halibut Point State Park for a longer combined hike.

Atlantic Path

There are several ROW footpaths along the northern part of Phillips Ave. and off Haven Ave. (which are all located directly across the street from Andrews Woods) to access the Atlantic Path, a 1.5 mi. public right-of-way where one can walk along the seaside, running from Pigeon Cove at its southern end, to the edge of Halibut Point at its northern end. 

Note that while some sections of this path are easily walkable over grassy uplands or wide, flat ledges, other sections are more uneven and challenging traveling across sea rocks (particularly at the northern end).

For more information and a map showing both the Andrews Woods trails and the adjacent public footpaths to connect to the Atlantic Path, refer to the Rockport Guide to Public Paths, Beaches and Town Landings pdf guidebook published by the Rockport Rights of Way Committee, and available on the Town Website (click on the above title to access the link to this guide). 

The information and maps on the Atlantic Path and Andrews Woods are found on pages 12-17 of the guidebook (which correspond to pages 9-11 of the pdf document).

Halibut Point State Park

One may also walk from Andrews Woods to Halibut Point State Park.  A Trail Map of Halibut Point can be downloaded from the Mass State website (click to access the link to the map). 

    • The entrance to Halibut Point State Park is approximately 0.6 miles from Andrews woods if one walks along the roadways from the nearest Phillips Ave. entrance of Andrews Woods (travelling via Phillips Ave. to Granite St./ 127 to Gott Ave.—refer to the above Andrews Woods Parking Map to see this route).   
    • It is also possible to access the Halibut Point trails from Andrews Woods via the Atlantic Path (refer to the above section on accessing the Atlantic Path from Andrews Woods).  The point at which the northern terminus of the Atlantic Path meets the Halibut Point trails is just under a half-mile walk from the nearest Andrews Woods entrance at the northern section of Phillips Ave.   

However, be advised that the northernmost section of the Atlantic Path (just before reaching the Halibut Point trailhead) is challenging walking on uneven, loose boulders, so this not a recommended route for novice hikers. 

When viewing the Halibut Point trail map (see above link), the intersection of the yellow property (labeled “Sea Rocks/ Town of Rockport”) and the darker green Trustees of Reservations property is where the Halibut Point trail meets the Atlantic Path (note that the Atlantic Path is not shown on the Halibut Point map, but runs through the yellow property and southward).

There is an additional map of the Halibut Point trails shown together with the Atlantic Path in the Rockport Guide to Public Paths, Beaches and Town Landings (see link provided in the above section on the Atlantic Path).  The Halibut Point map is found on page 10-11 of the guidebook (corresponding to 8 of the pdf document).

Cape Ann Trail Stewards | PO Box 690 | Essex | MA | 01929

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