Bancroft Castle: The Hidden Ruins on Gibbet Hill

Recently we’ve been on a hiking binge and found a trail with a hidden gem at the very top! Located in Groton, MA , Bancroft Castle resides at the top of Gibbet Hill, a quick five minute trail walk that takes you up to the stone remains of the once summer home turned sanatorium. The beautiful stone works are completly hidden from the road that runs no more than twenty feet next to it. The close proximity of both a farm, and residential houses make it feel as if you’ve stumbled into a weird time loop to the past.

The hardest part was not the hike itself, but finding where the trail began. When I searched online, not much came up but I did find a helpful article that allowed me to piece together exactly where to go. The easiest way we found the hill was to arrive at Gibbet Hill Farm located at 60 Lowell Rd in Groton, and then used the map provided on their website to find the trail.

The trail starting from Gibbet Hill farm leads you across a field, basically following the fence counter clock wise until you reach a dirt path running along the tree line. Once we ventured on the dirt path we found the actual start to the trail, two stone pillars that are marked only by a very small “Groton Trail Network” sign on a nearby tree.

There is a small shoulder off to the left of the pillars where you can also park, but it was easier to take the scenic route through the farm in the sense of actually finding parking.

Once on the actual trail it was maybe seven minutes of walking up a hill before we reached the castle, and the view was breathtaking! I’m not exaggerating when I say the ruins are hidden as they’re cloaked in trees and varying plants that have grown over and around them over the years.

The view when you reach the castle, hidden quietly among the trees.

Once we reached the castle, it was a magical yet eerie experience, with the shade of the large trees and a plethora of creepy birds, it was as if the castle didn’t want to be disturbed by our presence. We took our time exploring and I loved how the stone fireplace on the would’ve been second floor was still in tact. The main spire also held a fireplace, with initials and markings of hikers past etched into the stone, the site was one that I didn’t think I’d find in our backyard.

Once we’d explored to our hearts content we headed back down the trail and said our fairwells to the cows. With the air of adventure in our lungs we headed home, but look forward to revisiting the castle soon, preferably with a picnic lunch.

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