Estabrook Woods

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The Estabrook Woods is a wild tract of more than 1,200 acres (4.9 km2) of woodland, hills, ledge, and swamp two miles (3 km) north of the Town of Concord.[1] It is the largest contiguous and undeveloped woodland within thirty miles of Boston.[2] However, the woods have a history of human disturbance dating back to the Algonquian Native Americans who used controlled burning to clear tracts of land.[3] Later, colonists cleared much of Estabrook for agriculture and pastures, although vegetation has since rejuvenated.[3] The Woods are named for the Estabrook family, prominent in the area since colonial times.[4] The first Estabrook in the area, Capt. Joseph, purchased his farm, now part of Estabrook Woods, from the Pelham family, then of Rhode Island.[5]

Henry David Thoreau is intimately associated with this area, which he called Easterbrooks Country. In his Oct. 20, 1857 journal entry, one of several on the woodland, he writes: “What a wild and rich domain that Easterbrooks Country! Not a cultivated, hardly a cultivatable field in it, and yet it delights all natural persons.”[6] The woods are also home to the unimproved Estabrook Road, which Minutemen used at the start of the American Revolutionary War.[7] Today, stone markers mark the path taken by Minuteman traveling south toward Concord.

The Estabrook Woods are bordered by Lowell Road to the west, Monument Street to the east, and Bedford Road (Rt. 225) to the north.

Though accessible to the public, most of Estabrook is privately owned by Harvard University (672 acres), Middlesex School (180 acres), and a number of smaller landowners.


  1. ^ Description of Estabrook Woods, Concord, Mass
  2. ^ Middlesex School Plans in Estabrook Woods
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, James Savage, John Farmer, Boston, 1860
  5. ^ History of the Town of Lexington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Vol. II, Charles Hudson, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1913
  6. ^ Barefooted Brooks Clark, Estabrook Woods
  7. ^ Middlesex alums protest school's plan to use Estabrook Woods - The Boston Globe

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Coordinates: 42°29′44″N 71°21′14″W / 42.4956°N 71.3538°W / 42.4956; -71.3538