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On Mill Street in Dover, just north of the split between Mill and Willow, and just south of the bridge (where South Street in Needham turns into Mill Street in Dover, don’t be confused), look for a small bridge crossing a stream, with a dam barely visible through the brush on the west side.  This is the old millrace that carries water from above the dam and discharges it back into the Charles below.  On the east side of the road, there is a green metal gate.  This marks a small corner of Village Falls Park that allows access to the water.  Carry down the raised causeway, then put in on the right where the millrace joins the main branch of the river.  If you’re quiet, you might hear rushing water under the causeway.

The adventurous may launch from here directly into strong rapids; whitewater experience is recommended. Even after the whitewater section, there are a number of shallow and rocky areas that may require lining or portaging in all but high water conditions. Many people may choose to explore this section from downriver, putting in at South Street.

The shallow areas downstream from Cochrane Dam are home to river otters and many other species, with a mix of woods, farms, and large houses. You will pass under two bridges, after the second (Rt 135) bridge, look for a narrow, unimproved takeout on river left before the river bends to the right.

  • 3.1 miles downstream to South Street
  • Launch Type: unimproved
  • Parking: gravel lot/roadside
  • Town: Dover