The Doe Farm natural area is an 87-acre property which lies directly on the Lamprey river and helps protect this valuable watershed. Once a working family farm, it is now an easily accessible green space that is surprising in how isolated it feels. Of course, that’s once you get away from the railroad tracks that run parallel to the access road. I couldn’t find a map online at the time of this writing, but there is one in the ample parking area.
The first thing that struck me (no, not the train) was the profusion of wild geranium along the sides of the trail. Upon taking a closer look I also discovered a profusion of poison ivy. At the end of the road leading into the property are the remains of the Doe house and other buildings. Nearby is the family cemetery.
The naturally occurring forest, already rich in oaks and maples, was given a hand in 1920 by the Boy Scouts who planted thousands of red and white pine and Norway spruce seedlings. Local scouts continue to assist with trail and bridge maintenance. One of the most pleasing aspects of the property is the Lamprey river frontage (approximately 3700 feet) which not only provides habitat for wildlife such as beaver, raccoon, otter, ducks and other waterfowl, but also alluvial thickets that host many, many wildflowers. Some of the species are Wild Geranium, Celandine, Ragged Robin, Bluets, Pink Lady Slipper, white and purple Violets and speedwell. During low water periods, you can access Moat Island which is approximately 15 acres on which the wildflowers continue to flourish.
How to get there –
Head for the town of Durham, NH
From Route 108 turn on Bennett Road, at the railroad bridge approximately 0.7 mi from the intersection with Packers Falls Road. Parking is available off Bennett Road near the railroad crossing.
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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