Baboosic Greenway

The Baboosic Greenway represents a significant regional endeavor aimed at interlinking five rural towns in New Hampshire through a robust, multimodal infrastructure. This initiative is an instrumental step in bolstering safety, enhancing accessibility, and boosting mobility throughout the Souhegan River Valley.

Stretching across 21 miles (33 kilometers), the Baboosic Greenway seamlessly connects five municipalities within Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. The greenway largely follows the former routes of two abandoned railway lines, namely the Manchester and Milford Branch spanning Bedford, Merrimack, and Amherst, and the Brookline-Milford Branch traversing Milford and Brookline.

The Route

The Manchester and Milford Branch was opened in 1900 with a partnership between the Concord and Montréal Railroad and the Boston & Maine Railroad in an effort to compete with other railroad companies’ access to the region, including to bodies of water in which to harvest ice for delivery to Boston.

Amherst Station, previously situated along the route, 1900-1909
Amherst Station, previously situated along the route, 1900-1909 (Nashua City Station n.d.)

The branch moved little freight along its line, but primarily consisted of transporting local school children, most heading south to attend Milford High School. In the morning, trains would be readied in New Boston, run into Manchester, and then run down to Milford via the Manchester & Milford Branch. The train would then trace that route back to New Boston. The usual schedule along the line was a mere two round trips a day to accommodate the school children, and these trains were usually "mixed trains", combining freight and passengers in the same train.

The primary purpose of the rail line became moot when competing railroads in the region were consolidated, eliminating the competition altogether. As a result, Boston & Maine decided to close the Manchester and Milford Branch in the 1920s and the rails were removed in 1930 (Nashua City Station n.d.). After the closure of the rail line, the corridor was broken into approximately 35 private parcels and merged with adjacent land, now resulting in a fragmented route with many independent landowners.

Building a Rail Trail

Since 1983, the Town of Amherst has had various, grassroots attempts to convert the abandoned rail bed into a functional rail trail for the community, resulting in significant progress in particular segments of the route. The creation of a major route like the Baboosic Greenway is a lengthy and complicated process which requires dedicated volunteers to coordinate a long-term effort with creative problem-solving. The area’s current network of roads was created over hundreds of years and required the efforts of generations of our residents. The planning and development of a major off-road trail is no different in this regard.

Each segment of the proposed route offers unique challenges, from geographical obstacles to reluctant land-owners and more. Some of these obstacles may be plainly obvious (e.g., a river with no bridge), while others may be completely hidden until well into the development process.  It is paramount that volunteers working on trail planning understand that their efforts to further the development of the route are invaluable, despite the fact that the process may be very challenging or require a persistent effort that spans many years.

In 2017, the Amherst Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee was formed and significant progress has developed since.


Amherst North-01The Bedford town line to Walnut Hill Road along the Milford and Manchester Branch rail bed
Amherst North-02Walnut Hill Road to Baboosic Lake Road along the Milford and Manchester Branch rail bed
Amherst North-03Baboosic Lake Road to Boston Post Rd along Amherst St
Amherst South-01Amherst St to Boston Post Rd (near Mulberry Ln) along the Milford and Manchester Branch rail bed
Amherst South-02Boston Post Rd to Merrimack Rd along the Milford and Manchester Branch rail bed
Amherst South-03Merrimack Rd to Boston Post Rd (at River Rd)
Amherst South-04River Rd to Homstead Ln along Boston Post Rd
Amherst South-05Davis Witty Ln to Buck Meadow Conservation Land
Amherst West-01Boston Post Rd to the Milford Town Line along Amherst St