Lyme Town Forest
From Lyme Common, travel 1.6 miles north on Route 10. Turn right onto Pinnacle Road. In 1.6 miles turn left onto Orfordville Road. Look for the large blue sign marking the Town Forest parking area, on the left in 0.8 miles. The trail starts here.
A walk from the parking area to the waterfall will take 1 to 2 hours one way.
Beaver Pond Trail: A moderate trail beginning at the parking area and terminating at Mud Turtle Pond Road. Provides access to the other trails, passing by a beaver wetland and crossing Whipple Brook.
Ridge Trail: A short up and back walk with nice views when the leaves are off.
Western Forest Trail: A wide trail which leaves Mud Turtle Pond Road just south of the Beaver Pond Trail and provides the main access to the western part of the forest.
Waterfall Trail: Leaves the Western Forest Trail near the height of land. Caution: this right turn is easy to miss! Watch for signs and trail markers. The small waterfall is lovely during the wet part of the year.
Ledge Trail: A new trail which is an alternative to a section of the Western Forest Trail. The view point provides wonderful mountain views of Smarts, Cube, and Mooslilauke. Caution: Sections of this trail are exposed and steep, similar to what might be found in the White Mountains. Also, porcupines frequent the ledges, and may be hazardous to the health of your dog.
The 382-acre tract includes a 1985 acquisition from the Sevigney Company, and an addition purchased in 2002 with proceeds from timber sales. Whipple Brook and Mud Turtle Pond Road, a Class VI road linking Whipple Hill Road with Orford's Strawberry Hill, bisect the Forest. The Lyme Town Forest is a certified NH Tree Farm.
As in much of Lyme, homesteaders farmed here in the early 1800s. Look at walls and cellar holes on Mud Turtle Pond Road near the Beaver Pond Trail. The land is once again nearly covered with forest which has now been logged on several occasions.
The Lyme Town Forest’s impressive array of habitat types provides suitable homes for an equal diversity of wildlife. Otter, mink, and beaver frequent the wetlands, with fisher, weasel, deer, porcupine, raccoon, snowshoe hare, woodchuck, skunk, and red fox on drier soil. Amphibians, such as salamanders and frogs, breed in the vernal pools which vanish in summer and so are free from predatory fish. Woodcock, wild turkey and grouse, hawks and owls, and a variety of songbirds round out the bird list. Moose, black bear, and bobcat also pay an occasional visit to find food, cover, and water in the forest.
The Lyme Conservation Commission worked with O’Brien Forestry Services beginning in 1996 to create a forest management plan for the Town Forest. Well rooted in the principles of sustainable forest management, its goal is to shift the forest from its present even-aged structure to a variety of age classes and habitat types, to offer more diverse wildlife habitat and protection from disease. Riparian buffers along streams and wetlands remain undisturbed, to provide habitat and protect water quality in Whipple Brook. An initial cutting in 1996-7 removed low quality trees and those with little value to wildlife.
Former skid trails form the network of trails. For his Boy Scout Eagle project, John Gamble led a team to improve rough sections of trail.
Leave flowers and other plants growing where you found them. And please, carry out what you carry in.
Visit Town of Lyme online for more information or contact:
Lyme Conservation Commission
PO Box 126
Lyme, NH 03768
Phone: (603) 795-4639
Check for nearby geocaches to Lyme Town Forest.
Leave No Trace Principle
Keep wildlife wild: do not feed, follow, approach, or otherwise harass wild animals. Doing so may alter their natural behaviors.