Hughes Property Trails

In 2013, the Town of Hopkinton purchased the Hughes property at 192 Hayden Rowe Street, for use for active & passive recreation, and for open space. There is a large open area by the street (former house site and yard), a section of the former railroad bed, and an extensive wooded area with a rough trail. The Trails Club has led walks on the property every year since it was purchased, but otherwise it has been largely unused.

At the 2016 Town Meeting, funds were approved for the creation of a dog park on the property, and for improvements to the trail. The Trails Club is working to coordinate those improvements, and seeking additional funds for the work. This page will provide information about the project as it progresses.

Project Updates

November 13, 2019: Work continued through the summer, with Eagle Scout candidate Ethan Ritterbusch coordinating the creation of two side loops off the main trail. HCAM News interviewed Ethan about the project. The parking area has been improved quite a bit, with the debris piles removed, and the main trail has been extended a bit further. Work is finishing up for the season.

June 2, 2019:
 In conjunction with National Trails Day, a work day was held at the Hughes property. The work focused on cleaning up the land around the parking area (192 Hayden Rowe St.) to present a more inviting/attactive face to the community. Rocks were harvested (!) and the ground was smoothed out. Arrangements were made to remove several unsightly large piles of brush and debris. The trail itself is still a work in progress. The path is nearly cleared to its eventual end/turnaround point, with a temporary gravel roadbase to support heavy equipment. Once the clearing is complete, the trail will be set to its final state...a bit narrower than the temporary road, with a smooth stonedust surface.

January 13, 2019:
Time for a long-overdue update. A dog park is no longer being considered for the Hughes property. Instead, the dog park is now proposed to be sited at the Fruit Street property. Work has begun on the trail improvements. The trail is now completed to base coat across the upper field, into the woods, and through the wetland area.  A new-to-use technique is being employed in the wetland area of placing a woven fabric directly on top of the existing surface and then placing the roadbase material on top of that.  This avoids the need to remove the top organic layer, which would be a concern in that area.  We are hoping to get through this area this season, as future work is primarily in upland, and therefore less affected if there is a rainy spring.

Some answers to questions raised at the January Club meeting:

Q: There have been rumors of more tree cutting planned for the southern portion of the field, adjacent to the Deer Run neighborhood. Are these rumors true?
A: There is a tree down across the pedestrian path from Deer Run that will be cleared at some point, but no other tree cutting is planned.

Q: What are the plans for the Hayden Rowe parking area?
A: The current gravel area is primarily to facilitate the construction work. The parking lot on Hayden Rowe will have 4 official spots but there is room for more cars.  It will remain base coat material.  Whether or not the parking lot will be expanded will depend on trail and other uses.  For example, there is still a consideration that the garden area north of the parking area would be used for a community garden.  In that case, more parking would likely be needed.  There is room for such an expansion.  There are no current plans for trees or other screening, but this project is still a work in progress and those concerns have been passed along.

December 8, 2016: The Trails Club's revised design for trail improvements at the Hughes property was taken to the Community Preservation Commission last evening. The new design is for a "lollypop" loop trail entirely on the eastern portion of the land, with the western section of the existing trail left as-is. The work to protect the wetlands, including the construction of a bridge, is no longer part of the proposal. The CPC voted unanimously to accept the Trails Club's funding request for the project.

November 30, 2016: An informational meeting on the project was held at the Hopkinton Town Hall to share the designs and get feedback from the community. The original plan was to make the entire existing trail into a stone dust surfaced trail, similar to the Center Trail. Many concerns were raised, mostly about the foot traffic into the surrounding neighborhood. Based upon those concerns, the design was revised to keep the changes on the eastern portion of the property and to leave the western section of the trail largely untouched except for some work to protect wetlands in the area.