Total Acres: 320
Year Conserved: 1993/1994/2011/2013
The Tompson Street Reservation is the largest property within the Greenbelt Reservation system. It features exposed bedrock known as Cape Ann granite,vernal pools woodland and swamp. There are traces of many trails that used to be wagon paths for early settlers to access their woodlots, but have since been overgrown with scrub growth. The land consists mainly of young trees and shrub growth due to numerous fires, the most devastating occurring in 1947, and the most recent in the summer of 1993.
In 2011, with generous local community support, Greenbelt was able to purchase an additional 6.2 acres along Bray Street. This “gateway” parcel provides much improved access and parking for visitors. Greenbelt is extremely grateful to our funding partners for the purchase of the “gateway” parcel, including the citizens of Gloucester, the Gloucester Community Preservation Committee, Fields Pond Foundation, Roy Foundation, New England Mountain Bike Association, other members of the mountain-biking community and many other private donors.
Vernal pools, also called vernal ponds are temporary pools of water, which tend to reach their greatest depth in spring, due to snow melt. They are usually devoid of fish, and therefore allow the safe development of newly hatched amphibian and insect species, like tadpoles, toads and salamanders.
For more information about vernal pools, consult the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team at www.capeannvernalpond.org
Site of the 1716 Second Parish Church. Establishment of this church meant that West Gloucester residents did not have to make the several hour journey through the woods and across the bay to the First Parish Church in downtown Gloucester. Look for the stone circle and metal cross that mark the site on the Old Tompson Road.
Thompson (note spelling, we spell differently) Street, passable only as a foot trail, runs north and south through the property between Concord Street and Bray Street. Sunset Mountain, located near the cemetery in the southern end of the reservation, features a spectacular vista looking out over Cape Ann.
The largest granite boulders can found just south of Mt. Jacob cemetery.
Walk to Sunset Mountain
Walk to Eagle Rock
Tompson Street Reservation is located along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway, part of the congressionally designated Essex National Heritage Area. The Area’s extensive historic, cultural and natural resources tell the story of the region’s role in the nation’s early settlement, maritime trade and industrialization.
There are two parking areas on different sides of the Reservation. The largest parking area 6-8 cars)exits at approximately 125 Bray Street. A kiosk and trail head will help guide you to many trailsthat traverse the Reservation. A smaller, additional parking area (3-4 cars) and trailhead are located at Jacob Cemetery, on Fernald Street in West Gloucester.
Parking GPS Locations
Mt. Jacob Cemetery
Rt. 133/Essex Street
Bray Street/Old Tompson St
Bray Street Gateway
Eagle Rock Trail/Bray Street Gateway
From Route 128/Exit 13/Concord Street, go west on Concord Street. In 1.2 miles, turn left onto Bray Street. Trailhead and parking are 0.1 miles ahead on the left. Space for 3-4 cars.
Red Maple Swamp Trail/Norcross Gateway
From Route 128/Exit 13/Concord Street, go west on Concord Street. Trailhead and parking are directly across from the off-ramp. Space for a dozen cars.
Sunset Mountain Trail/Mount Jacob Cemetery
From Route 128/Exit 14/Route 133, go west on Route 133. In 0.35 miles, turn right onto Fernald Street. Trailhead and parking are 0.1 miles ahead on the right, at Mount Jacob Cemetery. Space for 4-5 cars.