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Town of South Berwick
State: ME
County: York


Ogunquit River Watershed

The Ogunquit River begins in an area of forested and emergent wetlands between Emorys Bridge Road and Ogunquit Road, among a group of six houses. It runs south through forest and crosses Bennett Lot Road. Turning east the river passes a few homes as it crosses Old County Road and crosses into York.

Salmon Falls Watershed

Driscoll Brook flows into South Berwick from Berwick, crossing first under the Boston and Maine Railroad tracks and then under an old, unused bridge. From there the brook flows past dense development in the heart of downtown South Berwick passing under Route 236 and Main Street before joining the Salmon Falls River.

Lord Brook drains a small forested wetland near the intersection of Dow Highway and Lords Lane. It flows southwest for a half mile, past dozens of homes before crossing Dow Highway and entering Eliot.

Shoreys Brook flows into South Berwick from Eliot at Oldfields Road. At this point the brook is already under the influence of incoming tides and the water is brackish. It pools behind a small culvert on Dover Eliot Road then again behind a barrier near a farm before finally flowing into the Salmon Falls River.

Quamphegan Brook begins in a wetland area behind the Marshwood High School. It runs south bordered by the schools athletic fields to the east and a large farm to the west before widening in an area of beaver activity. The brook then passes into a residential area and crosses under Quamphegan Road where it begins to change to brackish water. It turns east, passing through a culvert under a private driveway and pooling behind a culvert on Oldfields Road where it is joined by a small stream from the north. Quamphegan Brook then flows for three quarters of a mile past several more homes and empties into the Salmon Falls River.

The Salmon Falls River forms South Berwick’s western border with New Hampshire. It flows five miles from the railroad bridge to the confluence with the Cocheco River and the beginning of the Piscataqua River. On its way it crosses four bridges, the waste treatment plant, and a hydro electric dam. The majority of development is in the center of town, and transitions to farms and finally forest as the river flows south past Vaughan Woods State Park. There is a boat access point on the south side of the Eliot Bridge.

Great Works River Watershed

Dennett Brook originates near the power line right of way on the South Berwick border with North Berwick. It flows south through a small emergent wetland in an undeveloped area of forest, crosses Dennett Road, and joins Boyd Brook north of Thurrell Road. This brook begins just north of Brown Hill. It flows southwest, parallel to Thurrell Road for three quarters of a mile, passing a few homes and a small farm. Boyd Brook then crosses the road and enters a mile long stretch of undeveloped forest. The brook emerges near a farm on Rodier Road, where it passes through a large culvert and flows into the Great Works River.

Hussey Brook crosses into Berwick from North Berwick near a large farm on Dennett Road. It winds its way through a forest, running for just under a mile before joining the Great Works River.

Chicks Brook originates in a marsh area north of Mt. Agamenticus. It flows through a wide area of forest between Bennett Lot Road and Mountain Road, encountering no development until it passes a few homes on Emorys Bridge Road and runs into the Great Works River.

Hoopers Swamp is an emergent wetland that sits on the South Berwick border with York between Mountain Road and Belle Marsh Road. The surrounding area is mostly undeveloped, with a few homes near the northern end. Hoopers Brook runs out of the swamp, crossing Belle Marsh Road and flowing north through a mile of forest. It runs into a small marsh in the back yards of several homes on Emorys Bridge Road. The brook crosses the road through a small culvert and flows into the Great Works River.

Cox Pond is located next to Witchtrot Road. The 19 acre pond is mostly surrounded by forest and emergent wetland with a few homes near its northern end. A small stream flows out of the pond and runs northeast along Witchtrot Road. It crosses Bennett Road and then joins Bennett Brook just west of Earls Road. Warren Pond is 25 acres in size and sits in a hilly area between Belle Marsh Road and Earls Road. Other than a few homes there is no development around the pond. It drains out of its western edge forming a small stream that flows past a few homes on Earls Road and eventually joins Bennett Brook. This brook originates behind a home on Bennett Road. It flows north past a few dozen homes then passes under Emorys Bridge Road and joins the Great Works River.

Knights Pond is near a few farms on Knights Pond Road close to the South Berwick border with Berwick. It is 46 acres in area and is divided into to parts by an old causeway at the southern end. Along with the farms, a few small homes are scattered around its shoreline. A small stream drains out of the northern end of the pond and flows north, entering Berwick briefly as it skirts the edge of a large farm and then joins Lovers Brook. Adams Brook and Lovers Brook both flow into South Berwick from Berwick near several farms on Pond Road. They each flow for about a tenth of a mile before converging and crossing under Pond Road. Lovers Brook then continues southeast for three quarters of a mile through an area of forested wetland and crosses Knights Pond Road through a large culvert. The brook then flows under an old bridge and joins the Great Works River.

The Great Works River flows into South Berwick from North Berwick near a large farm on Dennett Road. The river flows south, twisting and turning often as it makes its way through a forested area and then passes under a bridge on Great Hill Road. It continues to meander past a few farms on Rodier Road, still heading south. The river then passes under a bridge on Hooper Sands Road and turns east, still winding dramatically as it begins to encounter increasing development. A little further downstream it flows close by a large junk car lot on Emorys Bridge Road. The Great Works River follows this road for another two miles before crossing under it at a bridge near the power line right of way. The river begins to widen as it gathers water from its many tributaries and flows through a mile long stretch of forest and past a large subdivision south of Agamenticus Road. Turning west the river passes dense development along Dow Highway and flows over a hydro electric dam on Brattle Street. Just downstream of the dam the Great Works River forms Leighs Mill Pond, which forms behind a causeway on Vine Street. The river makes its may through a narrow passage under the road and then empties into the Salmon Falls River.

To see the locations of these resources in Google Earth follow this link.

If you do not have Google Earth software you may download it by following this link.

Water District: South Berwick Water District
District Website: http://www.southberwickmaine.org/Public_...
Water Source: Groundwater Wells
# Accts Serv: 1300
Other Towns: none
Sewer District: South Berwick Sewer District
District Website: http://www.sb-sd.org/
Receiving Waters: Salmon River
# Accts Serv: 1050
Other Towns: none
(Click the Title of the article to learn more.)
Fish Communities and Habitats of the York River Watershed
Publications, Websites, and Tools
Report on a survey to assess the ecological integrity of fish communities and associated freshwater habitats in the York River.

Great Works Regional Land Trust
Community Assistance Providers

Serving the communities of Berwick, Eliot, Ogunquit, and Wells.

Ogunquit River Watershed Management Plan
Outreach Publications
A guide for the protection and restoration of the Ogunquit River.

South Berwick Comprehensive Plan
Publications, Websites, and Tools

Seal:town seal, click to enlarge
Population:7252 (U.S. Census Est. 2006)
Area:32.9 square miles


South Berwick has maintained its rural, New England town character in spite of significant population growth in the past two decades. This growth has been characterized by suburban development not connected to the village center. The loss of open spaces, threats to water supply, loss of rural character, sprawl, and traffic congestion are among the most serious challenges facing South Berwick.

The Town’s natural resources provide wildlife and fisheries habitat, recreational opportunities, drinking water supplies and scenic values. They are an essential part of South Berwick’s rural character and established historical land use patterns which are still evident today. Many thousands of acres of open space and forestland have been conserved in South Berwick. Most of this is owned by Town and State government as well as The Great Works Regional Land Trust and includes the Vaughn Woods State park and the Mt. Agamenticus conservation area. Numerous parcels are in tree growth status and wide areas of conserved forest cover the eastern and southern portions of town. In order to protect drinking water in town, the South Berwick Water District has established source water protection areas. The District allows controlled public access within these protection areas. This includes public use of land for recreational purposes such as hiking and cross country skiing. The Town owns 2 tidal boat launch ramps and picnic rest area facilities on the Salmon Falls River, as well as a Town Forest, a ski/sledding area and a number of vacant parcels of land.

South Berwick is in transition from a rural community to a more suburban town as development continues. Over the last 10 years, growth has occurred in all sections of the Town. Land has been developed where it has become available and affordable. Many rural roads have existing frontage developed, and more recently, lot prices have justified the construction of new roads into traditionally rural lands. South Berwick has a viable economic agricultural and forestry base of small farms and woodlots, which also provide scenic and recreational values as desired by the public. Rising valuations, operating expenses and development pressure are causing land owners to reassess their operations and in some cases sell out to development. Between 1980 and 2000, the total number of housing units (year-round and seasonal) in South Berwick increased by about 67 percent, from 1,487 units in 1980 to 2,488 units in 2000. According to 2000 Census, South Berwick's population increased by approximately 12% from 1990 to 2000, with 6,671 residents in 2000. South Berwick is projected to have a population of 7,573 in the year 2015.

Manufacturing accounts for the largest percent of jobs in South Berwick followed by education and health services. Agriculture, forestry and fisheries accounted for less than one percent of the full time labor force. This clearly depicts the decline of a formerly significant sector the local economy. In addition shellfish beds along the Salmon Falls River have been closed to harvesting.

to learn more see The South Berwick Comprehensive Plan


Prior to settlement by Europeans, South Berwick had been seasonally inhabited by the Newichawonnock Tribe, who came to fish in the Salmon Falls River and grow crops. The area was called Newichawannock by the Abenaki people, meaning "river with many falls".

In 1634 the first settlers in South Berwick built a sawmill and gristmill at Assabumbadoc Falls (site of the Great Works Dam). In 1651, the sawmill was upgraded to handle up to 20 saws. The mill became known as the "Great Works Mill" from which the Great Works River derives its name. The Salmon Falls River was instrumental in South Berwicks early timber industry providing a means of transporting lumber to shipping ports on the coast. By the 1700’s there were numerous sawmills along the river which experienced significant pollution from sawdust. Shipbuilding also became an important factor in the development of the town and by the 1700’s many shipyards were in operation along the Salmon Falls River.

South Berwick was attacked in 1675 during King Philip's War, then raided again in 1690-1691 during King William's War and settlement was abandoned until 1703.

On February 12, 1814, South Berwick was set off and incorporated from Berwick.

During the 1800’s, various mills were erected at the rivers to utilize their water power. In 1831, the Portsmouth Manufacturing Company established a cotton textile mill at Quampheagan Falls, the head of navigation on the Salmon Falls River. The mill provided substantial employment and attracted many workers to the area. The population of South Berwick grew steadily at an average of 13% per decade from 1830 until 1890. The mill closed in 1893, and most of its brick buildings were razed about 1917. In 1922 a dam and bridge were constructed along with a hydro electric plant, which provided new power to the growing town. Population growth slowed after mill closures and the Great Depression at the beginning of the 1900’s, but began increasing again in the middle of the century as people began to discover it a s beautiful place to live and work. Between 1980 to 2000, the population grew by 29% from 4,046 to 6,671.

The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farm, Wells, Maine Copyright 2006 All rights reserved. Collaboration with NOAA CSC, Charleston SC