Thousands of people drive past Reedy Meadow every day on Route 128, vaguely knowing it to be that large patch of tall swamp grass you see around the Wakefield/Lynnfield line.
The place is historically and ecologically significant. As noted in this "Then and Now" article back in January, a part of Reedy Meadow close to present-day Exit 41 was home to one of the first-ever sawmills in America starting back in the 1660s up until some time a century or so ago. The large wetland also provides habitat to numerous species of migatory birds and other wildlife, and it's beneficial to local drinking water supplies. According to the Lynnfield town website, It also has the distinction of being the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the state, and it's also been designated a National Natural Landmark by the federal government.
There's also one or two places in Reedy Meadow for those who want to take a short hike and enjoy some outdoor time without having to bother driving to New Hampshire or further up 128. So with that, this photo gallery shows Wakefield's side of the Reedy Meadow Conservation area, following a couple of years of doing a fair amount of photography showing the Lynnfield side of the meadow.
The area yields good photos any time of the year, but this point in the spring is mercifully bug-free compared to what awaits in a month or two.
The Reedy Meadow Conservation area in Wakefield is located at the end of Audubon Road, with a sign marking the entrance that heads off to the right. The trail is prone to muddiness and was not easily accessible during a preliminary visit back in early April. When the water levels are low, it's a loop trail through wetlands and woods that takes less than an hour - it can be reached via either the first right or left from the main entrance trail.
In Lynnfield the Partridge Island Boardwalk is a short walk into Reedy Meadow that can be accessed from Main Street near New Meadow Road.
Last spring, I was out in Reedy Meadow for a separate batch of photographs running along the railbed that will some day become the bike trail running from Wakefield and Lynnfield into Peabody. Here's a look at the part of the marsh that people in both towns will get to know a lot better if and when that trail becomes a reality.
Just for the heck of it, I also threw in a quick video of Reedy Meadow taken from the observation deck at the very end of the Partridge Island trail in Lynnfield.
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