Frances Hill

This land is dear to Trust founders, Marian and Bill Harman, who lived here until moving to a lower maintenance home in 2018. “The old deed mentions Orchard Pasture, Rowdle Towdle, Gideon Pasture, and Spaulding Pasture, but there are no pastures here now. The land is completely wooded, mainly with oak, maple, ash, and white pine. When we first walked into these woods, in 1973, it was difficult to walk at all because of dense underbrush. Conditions have changed a lot. Trees are much bigger now, the understory is less dense, and trails criss-cross the land.”

The northern part, 18 acres, was a gift of the Lambert family to the Westford Conservation Trust, in order that the land would be preserved in a natural condition and be open for the enjoyment of the people of Westford. The southern part is also conservation land, although it is privately owned. It is protected by a Conservation Restriction and a trail easement.

In the northern part, a Red-tailed Hawk family is raised here every spring, and Red and Grey Fox, Opossums, Skunks, White-tailed deer, and Coyote are seen here regularly. Many birds, including Wood Thrush and Great Crested Flycatcher, are also summer residents. Wildflowers such as Round-leaf Pyrola, False Solomon Seal, and Polygala bloom along the trails. Very large Red and Black Oaks dominate one section of the forest.

Proceeding uphill to the south, the land gradually rises toward the top of Frances Hill. After crossing over a stone wall, the trail passes near a wet area, which features Hemlock, Jack-in-the-pulpit and other wetland plants. Nearby is a forest clearing, which is home to completely different plants and animals. This is mowed once a year, and has evolved into an interesting wildlife area. In the clearing is a small pool which becomes completely dry in late summer. Spice bush is abundant in this part of the forest. The leaves of this bush have a delightful aroma most of the year. Leaves, twigs, and berries can all be used to make Spice Bush tea.

As the trail winds uphill toward Hunt Rd., the land becomes drier, and White Pine and Oak dominate the canopy. Wildflowers such as Rattlesnake Plantain, Pink Ladies Slipper, and Columbine can be seen here. A Red-bellied Woodpecker family has used an old Ash tree for its nest, and a Broad-winged Hawk is often heard. Migratory Warblers move through here in spring and fall.


This woodland, on the Westford-Chelmsford town line between Lowell Road and Hunt Road, is open to the public for trail uses. Trail entrances are marked on Lowell Rd., Hunt Rd. (at the town line), and Chamberlain Rd. (at the intersection with Frances Hill Rd.).

Parking: Moderate

Trail Map

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Parking, trailheads and trails for Frances Hill


Topographic Map

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  • Hiking
  • Birding
  • Wildlife Viewing


Poison ivy is abundant in some areas of these trails, and in the spring, some areas are quite wet. So it's best to wear long pants, socks, and boots.