Winnekenni Park Conservation Area

castleWinnekenni Park Conservation Area

347 Kenoza Ave
Haverhill, MA 01830

Winnekenni Park (the name comes from the Algonquin dialect, which means "very beautiful") is a hilly, city-owned conservation area of more than 700 acres. Upon entering the Park, you will see the Basin and Kenoza Lake behind it. These two bodies of water make up approximately half of the Park area. Plug Pond is situated in the southwest part of the park, andWinnekenni Castle is somewhat in between Kenoza Lake and Plug Pond. It is within a few miles of downtown Haverhill and includes about 10 miles of fairly easy walking trails. It has been a favorite recreation spot, dating as far back as the early 1800's, even though it was privately owned at that time. In the late 1800's it became Haverhill's first Public Park.

  • Winnekenni Basin is the small body of water at the entrance to the Park. Only fishing and ice skating (when ice is declared safe) are allowed.

  • Kenoza Lake was originally known as "Great Pond", being renamed in 1859 by John Greenleaf Whittier as "Kenoza Lake", which means "Lake of the Pickerel". It has been part of Haverhill's Water Supply since 1871. Fishing, Boating, Hunting, Bathing, Wading, Swimming, and ice-related activities are prohibited. The Lake's pumping station is located on its northern shore, which is off-limits to the public.

  • Lake Saltonstall (Plug Pond) is a favorite recreation spot. Activities for Haverhill Residents only, during the summer months include a swimming area, municipal boating program, picnicking and bathroom facilities. It is also a state-stocked fishing area which is open to residents, as well as non-residents, year round. In 1976, the city acquired 50.8 acres of Conservation land between Winnekenni Castle and Plug Pond. For information pertaining to Boating and Fishing Programs, contact the Recreation Department at 978-374-2389.

The Castle:
Dr. James R. Nichols, a local physician and inventor, built the Castle in 1873-1875 as a summer home at this farm which he named Winnekenni. The idea for the original castle came from England. The Castle was sold to the city in 1895. In 1967, after a devastating fire destroyed the aging building, a group of citizens formed the Winnekenni Foundation, which is still in existence today. Its goal was to completely refurbish the interior of the building, and make it and its surrounding grounds available to the public for cultural and educational events. Call the Winnekenni Foundation at 978-521-1686 for castle rental charges and policies. Castle address: 347 Kenoza Ave, Haverhill, MA 01830

The Trails:
There is a map of the Winnekenni walking trails posted on the building, near the tennis courts, at the entrance to the Park. Hiking, jogging, and cross-country skiing are popular activities on the trails. Please stay on marked trails.

  • Castle Trail: The main road is Castle Road, which is what you are driving on when you enter the Park. It continues up the hill to Winnekenni Castle. You can drive on this as far as the Castle (3/5 mile), where it now becomes Castle Trail. There is no parking on Castle Road. From this point, Castle Trail leads down towards the Lake and joins Dudley Porter Trail (2/5 mile). 

  • Dudley Porter Trail begins on the running track at the Basin and continues along the shore. It leads around Kenoza Lake, and ends on Kenoza Street, across from Northern Essex Community College (NECC) (2 ½ miles). 

  • Shore Trail branches off the Dudley Porter Trail (after 1 ½ miles on Dudley Porter), and continues north along the Lake where it joins the Dudley Porter Trail at NECC (4/5 mile). 

  • Plug Pond Trail begins at Castle Parking Area, and heads south to the popular recreation area (2/5 mile). The Merrill Trail begins along Kenoza Street by NECC and continues ½ mile to the back of the Merrill House site.

Conservation Area Regulations:
The Winnekenni Park Conservation Area is open to the public for hiking, jogging, nature study, photography, x-country skiing and other activities that do not damage the land or disrupt other people's enjoyment of it. To protect this area, the City of Haverhill has adopted the following rules for public use.

It is forbidden in the Conservation Area:

  • To operate a dirt bike, ATV, or snowmobile.
  • To operate any motor driven vehicle or device on any trail, Dudley Porter Rd, field or wooded area.
  • To fish, boat, bathe, swim, wade or enter into or upon the waters or the ice of Kenoza Lake at any time.
  • To hunt, trap, carry firearms, bows and arrow, trapping gear or sling shots (arm rockets).
  • To remove, destroy or damage any wildlife nests, signs, structures, natural features or plants.
  • To remove or deface any signs, structure, natural features or plants.
  • To discard litter of any kind.
  • To make a fire without written permission of a Conservation Officer.
  • To consume or possess alcoholic beverages.
  • To have unleashed dog(s) without written permission of the Winnekenni Foundation Chairperson.
  • To be in the Conservation Area between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise without written permission of a Conservation Officer, Winnekenni Foundation Chairperson or Human Resource Director.

Violations are punishable by a fine of up to $300.00 or the replacement or repair costs of damage, whichever is greater. Please help us keep the Park clean for all to enjoy. Take a bag along when in the Area to pick up litter as you walk. Always take out what you bring in. Report illegal activities to the Conservation Office (978-374-2334) or the Police (978-373-1212).