This is a widely diverse area with good birding, trees ranging from seedlings to 260 years old, old farm fields, woodlands, swamps, granite outcrops, a colonial era foundation and well, and a self-guided nature walk with 26 numbered points of interest (published separately). Hogg Hill Meadow, a flooded wetland that attracts many birds and other wildlife, is largely encompassed by the trail system. Miles of old stone walls are found through these woods.
Trails vary from wide and straight to winding single-tracks; flat to quite steep (but short) hills, smooth to very rocky and rooted; woods to fields. From this trail network one can also access additional trails on the north and west sides of West Road.
The town carried out a timber harvest on this property in 2010. Evidence of this can still be found in the form of freshly cut stumps, downed trees, lots of woody debris, and a large log landing adjacent to the Stage Road Parking lot that is just beginning to grow in.
The intent of harvest was to improve the health of the forest, encourage new growth in both maturing trees and the understory, to improve wildlife habitat, and to produce income.
The income from the harvest is to be reinvested in the town forest properties. To date it has been used for trail maintenance and improvements, as well as periodic mowing of the open fields.
There is an abundance of wildflowers to be found in these woods. Below is a partial listing of wildflowers observed here by our local naturalist over that last several years.
|Celandine Poppy (Chelidonium majus)||Common cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex)|
|marsh marigold (Caltha palustris)||Buttercups (Ranunculus sp.)|
|Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)||Wood anemone (Anemone quinquefolia)|
|Lady's slipper (Cypripedium acaule)||Blue its (Houstonia caerulea)|
|Partridgeberry (Mitchella repens)||Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)|
|Gay wings (Polygala paucifolia)||Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota)|
|Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)||Wood lily (Lilium philadelphicum)|
|Dwarf ginseng (Panax trifolius)||Hawkweed (Hieracium sp.)|
|False Solomon's Seal (Smilacina racemosa)||Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)|
|True Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum biflorum)||Sessile bellwort (Uvularia sessilifolia)|
|Heal all (Prunella vulgaris)||Indian cucumber root (Medeola virginiana)|
|Wild Lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemum canadense)||White baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)|
|Asters (Aster sp) MANY species of asters||Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)|
|Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)||Starflower (Trientalis borealis)|
|Trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens)||Indian pipe (Monotropa uniflora)|
|Cow wheat (Melampyrum lineare)||St. John'swort (Hypericum perforatum)|
|Violets (Viola sp) many species||Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)|
For more information visit the Hampstead Conservation Commission online or contact:
The West Road Conservation Area has two primary trailheads:
There are several additional trail heads on West Road, all but one with no parking. One is an old log landing and does have space for 3-4 cars.
Access can also be gained from the end of Cambridge Road, where there is ample parking in the street.
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