Riverwalk, Webster, MA

French River on a sunny summer’s day, Webster, MA

Some Easy Walks are simple strolls through woodland. Others feature something of interest like water views. The Riverwalk in Webster, MA is small (1.66 acres) but provides handicapped access to river views of the French river in downtown Webster, across the street from the Town Hall, at 350 Main Street. While the Riverwalk area presently is small, it is part of a much bigger plan to open up further access to the river.

Paved walkways, benches and picnic tables invite visitors to spend time next to the French River in downtown Webster

We found picnic tables, a canoe access ramp, broad grassy areas where visitors can sit and enjoy the river, as well as a small stretch of what may eventually be a longer paved walkway along the river. Access from the parking area is along narrow paved walkways.

Businesses surround the area, large buildings from an industrial past. Access to the river is precious, a positive for the downtown

Large businesses otherwise block access to the river in this area, so having free access to the river even in one dedicated spot is great. We see so many areas that turned their backs on rivers that flow through their community, regarding the waterways as nothing more than sewers.

Grassy spots next to the river offer great views of the water

Reimagining these spaces as positive parts of a community and putting in the work to make them attractive takes time, money and commitment. Kudos to Webster, which finished work on this park on leased land in 2011, and took ownership of the park in 2019.

More progress is planned in this area adjacent to the completed walkway

No, this is not a “destination” for folks to travel from far and wide to see. Rather, if you live in the area, or nearby, it is part of making a community more viable, seeing a local river as an asset rather than something to ignore.

Ripening berries await future visitors

If you’re passing through Webster, as we were, it is a great spot to stop and stretch your legs in the sunshine. An Easy Walk, for sure. Wheelchairs may find the slope somewhat steep toward the river from the parking area, but otherwise, those in wheelchairs, and families with baby strollers, and anyone else will manage fine. Happy trails!

Marjorie

Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress. She is a co-author of the recent community history, Bellingham Now and Then.

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