An extensive trail system, often over hilly and challenging terrain, and a lake trail along the shore of Lake Cochichewick.
Weir Hill’s double-drumlin ensures that any loop hike requires ascending the hill. Find your way by following the color-coded trails, marked with circles painted on trees.
YELLOW TRAIL Follow the yellow circles for the grand tour along Lake Cochichewick. Recently added boardwalks and fencing are designed to restore shore damage and prevent erosion. Be sure to pass through the stone railroad tunnel. The Stevens Pond causeway passes under the grade of the long abandoned Essex Railroad.
BLUE TRAIL The blue trail will take you to the top of Weir Hill. Much of the blue trail is through a cleared area, which was created as part of an ongoing barrens habitat restoration.
FLORA AND FAUNA
Brush removal and recurrent and controlled burns now maintain the meadows in order to provide habitat for a variety of diverse wildlife. Over 40 butterfly species can be found at Weir Hill. The frosted elfin butterfly comes to feed on the abundant yellow false indigo.
As the yellow trail descends to the lake, you will enter a grove of mature beech trees. About halfway around the yellow trail loop, look for a pair of large border oak trees growing along an old farm wall.
Early records indicate that much of Weir Hill was a “sheep commons” before being granted to private owners in 1715. The northwestern corner, including Weir Hill’s entrance was the Johnson Farm.
Nathaniel Stevens established Stevens Mill here in 1814. His son Moses Stevens acquired most of Weir Hill throughout the late 1800s, extending his country estate from Osgood Hill to the north, down to the mill to the south. It was through this acquisition that the hill remained protected from any major development throughout the twentieth century.
In 1897, Stevens founded the North Andover Country Club at Weir Hill, with a clubhouse on the lake shore. The country club was moved to the golf course across the lake in 1907. Look for fragments of the stone foundation remaining along the shoreline, and a stand of birch trees in a long-abandoned tennis court.
The Trustees acquired 189 acres from the Stevens family in 1968. Additional land was added to the reservation in 1975 and 1994, including the field across the street from the parking area. Trustees is a non-profit organization devoted to protected more than 100 reservations and special places in Massachusetts. In North Andover, Trustees owns and manages Weir Hill, Ward Reservation and The Stevens Coolidge Place. If you use Weir Hill often, consider becoming a Trustees member!