The Sawmill

At the edge of New Bedford’s urban North End sits The Sawmill, a 19-acre former industrial lumber yard on the Acushnet River. This Buzzards Bay Coalition-owned public park protects the river’s health and offers local residents of all ages a beautiful place to explore the outdoors here at the Acushnet River Reserve.

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Discover what makes the Acushnet River special at The Sawmill, a popular park in Acushnet just steps from the city of New Bedford. Take a walk, go fishing, paddle a canoe upriver, or look for birds and wildlife. Explore inside the Hawes Family Learning Center, where informational exhibits tell the river’s story. Most important, relax and enjoy this natural paradise.

The Sawmill was once home to a large, bustling lumber yard owned by the Acushnet Saw Mills Company. In 2014, the Coalition restored The Sawmill to protect clean water and create a park where everyone can explore the outdoors. Today, The Sawmill is part of the growing Acushnet River Reserve, which also includes LaPalme Farm. These places protect clean water and preserve important habitats for future generations.

three people looking out over the Acushnet River from The Sawmill

Enjoy the peaceful view of the Acushnet River from the North River Overlook, where you’ll often see wildlife like ducks, ospreys, and dragonflies.


Embark on a journey along the Acushnet River on the trails at The Sawmill. The main trail is about a half-mile long – perfect for a short jaunt through the woods and by the water. Many parts of the trail are ADA accessible, so explorers of all abilities can enjoy this special place. (Download trail map)

As you begin your walk along the main trail, you’ll cross a footbridge over the river. Peer over the bridge to see a nature-like “fishway”: a series of pools and boulders that helps fish migrate upstream each spring.

Across the bridge, you’ll meet a trail junction. Keep walking straight to cross boardwalks through a restored red maple swamp. Or turn left to make your way to the North River Overlook. This peaceful retreat looks out over the river’s quiet waters, where you’ll see ducks and geese float by. Both of these routes eventually connect in a loop through the woods and a meadow.

Habitats & Wildlife

The Sawmill sits at the head of the Acushnet River, where fresh water flowing downstream meets the tides of Buzzards Bay. The river here has many faces – it’s calm and still at the North River Overlook, but at the South River Overlook, the water ripples over rocks as it flows south toward New Bedford Harbor.

The Coalition restored The Sawmill to bring back the natural ecosystem that once thrived here. The Sawmill is now a haven for wildlife in this urbanized area. Healthy meadows, wetlands, and forests provide habitat for birds, foxes, turtles, fish, and countless other species. Look for frogs and ducks in the red maple swamp, or search for ospreys soaring over the river.

Property Owned By

The Buzzards Bay Coalition is a membership-supported nonprofit organization dedicated to the restoration, protection, and sustainable use and enjoyment of our irreplaceable Bay and its watershed.

Size: 19 acres
Hours: Dawn to dusk
Parking: Medium-sized gravel parking area; additional on-street parking
Cost: Free
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Dogs: Yes (on leash)
Facilities: Canoe/Kayak Launch, Learning Center (limited hours)
ADA Accessible: Yes (from the parking area to the red maple swamp)

Please follow all posted rules and regulations at this property.

Address & Contact Information
32 Mill Rd.
Acushnet, MA 02743
41.683366, -70.919716

Please follow all posted rules and regulations at this property.

The Sawmill
Acushnet, MA
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Upcoming Events Near Here

Nearby Places To Go

LaPalme Farm

With nearly 50 acres of meadows and forests on the Acushnet River, LaPalme Farm celebrates Acushnet’s pastoral charm.

Brooklawn Park

Located in the urban North End of New Bedford, Brooklawn Park is refuge for local residents seeking some fresh air.

Flora B. Peirce Nature Trail

A natural oasis hidden in the North End of New Bedford, Flora B. Peirce Nature Trail takes visitors on a tour of forest life.

Current Issues

Restoring Streams & Wetlands

The Coalition is working to restore damaged streams and wetlands in places like the Acushnet River, the Weweantic River, and the Mattapoisett River to protect clean water and improve the health of the Bay ecosystem so fish, wildlife, and people can thrive.

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Bay Health: Acushnet River – The Sawmill

Find your water quality score in Bay Health ›