The Colonel John Robinson Trail

The Col. John Robinson Historic Trail marks the route of Westford's minute and militia companies during their march to Concord on the morning of April 19th, 1775. Once informed of the alarm, Lt. Col. Robinson set off for Concord by horseback from his home on present day Robinson Rd.  He and several others from Westford arrived in time to participate in the provincial response to the expedition of the British regulars. The remainder of the militia  marched to the North Bridge, arriving shortly after the battle. Some portion of them continued onward throughout the day, harassing the regulars along the Battle Road until they reached Cambridge.

Today, members of the Westford Colonial Minutemen welcome all who are interested in retracing the steps of Westford’s first Revolutionary War soldiers.  The trail is traditionally walked by members of our community prior to the Concord Parade, which is typically on Patriot's Day. The 10 mile march starts shortly after 4:45AM and can be completed by approximately 8:00-9:00AM depending on the pace.  Note that historical clothing is not necessary to participate, simply an interest in the experience!

The April 15th, 2024 Trail March 

We invite everyone to make the march with us this coming Patriot's Day (Monday, April 15th) to help commemorate the march of 1775.  We will meet at the town common by 4:45AM so that we can step off shortly thereafter.  Visit this page as the date approaches for possible updates.

Important Notes for Participants:

If you wish to participate in all or part of the trail march, and don't want to walk all the way back, please make sure that you arrange for a return ride from Concord! 

Wear comfortable walking shoes, bring adequate water and snacks, and wear clothing appropriate for the morning's weather.  The commemorative walk will occur rain or shine (well, unless it's really raining!).

Questions? Contact us Here

Click Here to see photos from previous years

History of the Trail March:

In the early 1970s, as the bicentennial of the Revolutionary War approached, members of the Westford Minutemen researched the most probable route taken by Westford men as they responded to the “Lexington Alarm.”  From this work a map was produced and the route was named after Westford’s John Robinson, Lt. Colonel of the local minuteman regiment.  Robinson is best remembered for his role in helping to lead – along with Concord’s Major John Buttrick and Acton’s Capt. Isaac Davis – the column of minute and militia men whose march toward the North Bridge sparked the now famous skirmish with British regulars.  He later served as Lt. Colonel under Col. William Prescott at Bunker Hill and as colonel of two militia regiments later in the war.

The map that was produced from this work shows the route starting from the center of Westford, traveling down Boston, Carlisle and Old Roads before bearing right onto West Street in Carlisle.  From there it follows Lowell Road in Concord and turns left onto Barrett’s Mill Road before reaching the bridge.  While not an actual “trail,” much of the route remains quite scenic. Those who participate in the trail walk receive one of the maps, also available from the Westford Museum for a small fee.

The commemorative march was first made on April 20, 1974, with the Westford Minutemen hosting a local Boy Scout troop, along with a guest troop from Toronto, Canada.  The night before the march the participants encamped in a field off Howard Road.  A Scout patch was designed specifically for completion of the Trail march.   The Trail was marched again the following year amid the fervor of the bicentennial of the Concord fight, but then became inactive for many years until it was reestablished in the late 1990s with the help of local Boy Scout leaders.  Since that time members of the Minutemen have hosted Scout troops from Westford, Dunstable, and Lowell.

Click here
to view a map of the Col. John Robinson Trail 
(253 kb)


Last Updated 27 Feb, 2024

[Home ] [History ] [Today's Minutemen ] [Col. John Robinson Trail ] [Schedule ] [Pictures ] [Links & Resources ]