Tucked into a much larger network of some 15,000 acres of protected land, the Loverens Mill Cedar Swamp preserve provides another opportunity to get up close to the rare and always beautiful Atlantic White Cedar. Even though its much farther for me to drive, I like this swamp because it has fairly extensive boardwalks that allow deep access to the swamp (although some of them were in need of repair the last time I went out). Stewarded by The Nature Conservancy, I attended a botanist-led walk through the swamp that taught me a lot about the symbiotic relationships that exist only in an Atlantic White Cedar Swamp; most prominently with the Hessel’s Hairstreak butterfly which cannot survive without it.
In addition to the swamp, there are trails that take you along the North Branch of the Contoocook river, one of the most beautiful rivers in New Hampshire. As the name implies, there was a mill on this site, lately named Loverens and originally built in 1798. Over the years the mill (under different ownership) produced staves for buckets and barrels, shingles, siding and other building products for nearby towns. As you continue to follow the river upstream you may get lucky and get a glimpse of the resident otters.
Wildflower lovers will rejoice here in spring where you’ll find bluebeard lily, sheep laurel, pink lady slipper, trillium, goldthread and more. In the swamp there are dense stands of cinnamon fern and the peat moss mat is thick and lush. Please take care not to step off the boardwalk though as you can seriously damage the peat layer.
How to get there –
Head for the town of Antrim, NH
From Route 9 between Routes 123N and 31S, turn north on Loverens Mill Road, cross the bridge, and park in the area on the right. The preserve is located along a dirt road across the road, and slightly north of the parking area. It is marked by a sign. Follow this road 0.25 miles to the preserve trailhead, which is marked by a sign.
Additional info here and trail guide with map here.
More photos can be found here.
Happy trails and remember to carry out what you carry in (and pick up after those who don’t) and please leash your dogs! Also please respect local rules and regulations.
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