Looking to explore the new trails at Trescott Water Supply Lands this summer? Check out their new trail guide & map to plan your next hike!
The Trescott Water Supply Lands have been busy this summer adding new trails to the property with the help of Upper Valley Trails Alliance and Hypertherm Volunteers.
Check out the updated trail map here! 2021 Trescott Trail Map
- From Downtown Hanover and the Green, drive E on East Wheelock St. and up the hill 1.7 miles to the junction of E. Wheelock, Grasse, and Trescott Roads. Continue straight on Trescott Rd. and
drive 2.4 more miles to Etna Rd. Turn L and head N on Etna Rd. 1.3 miles to Dogford Rd. Turn L; follow 1.2 miles to parking on L after sharp bend and pond.
- Park at the marked trailhead parking area near the kiosk.
What you should know
- Today’s hike is a loop on lands owned by the Trescott Water Company (Town/Dartmouth).
- This is a great route for confident backcountry skiers.
- The route follows two 18th century roads, visits two cellar holes, and returns on a new trail (2019).
- As of 2019, all trails described here are blazed with yellow and marked with brown and yellow signs, thanks to the Trescott Recreation and Hanover Trails Committees.
- Dogs must be leashed while on the Trescott Water Supply Lands and waste must be picked up and
carried out in order to protect drinking water.
Brief Hiking Directions
- Start on the Poor Farm Trail that begins at R of the trailhead kiosk.
- The trail soon reaches an historic road; turn R and continue.
- Follow the Poor Farm Trail E as it turns R off the old road.
- Continue to Knapp Road and turn R.
- Turn R on the Child’s Farm Trail for 0.6 miles and return to your car.
The Full Story
- Welcome to your water source! Drinking water for much of Hanover and Dartmouth College comes from these lands, so special rules apply for recreational use. Take a moment to check the kiosk display to acquaint yourself with these rules and pick up a trail guide.
- Start at the path to the R of the kiosk; a few steps in, a sign at L identifies it as the Poor Farm Trail East, 0.6 miles to Knapp Road. The easy trail parallels Dogford Road before swinging R at a distinctly raised, flat spot that is the site of the old Wright place. Snow may obscure it today; the photo below gives you an idea of what you’re missing. Wright was raising sheep on this land in 1855; by 1892, J.W. and W.D. Chandler had taken over his farm.
- As the trail swings L again, note blue tubes on both sides of the trail. These protect young tree seedlings from deer browse. The foresters managing this land are working hard to re-establish native trees in a place with a dense deer population – the water supply lands had essentially been a deer sanctuary for half a century while people (and hunters) were fenced out. Deer prefer to browse the northern hardwoods like maple, birch, beech, and oak that make a healthy natural forest and therefore a pure drinking water supply. This is one reason why deer hunting is strongly encouraged on these lands.
- Soon the path joins the wide old Wolfeboro Road, with its graceful stone walls and venerable sugar maples. Today, the Hanover emergency services folks insist on a different name to avoid confusion when attempting a rescue, so this section is now called Poor Farm Trail East.
Royal Governor John Wentworth ordered the cutting of this road in 1770 in hopes of traveling over it from his home in Wolfeborough, NH, to attend Dartmouth College’s first commencement in 1771. A committee of Hanover citizens was appointed to “…run a line from near the southwest corner of Hanover to the Great Pond, or Governor’s seat, at Wolfeborough, and view the situation of the land and convenience for a highway, and make return the first Monday in October next.” Members were paid four shillings and sixpence per day and spent ten days surveying the route. Hanover landowners were assessed a penny and a half per acre to raise the 120£ needed to complete the road. The road wasn’t finished in time, however, and the Governor had to travel by way of Haverhill to attend the first commencement, but by 1772 it was ready for the second ceremony.
- Wentworth, appointed in 1766 by King George III to take over management of the colony of New Hampshire from his infamous uncle Benning, helped Eleazar Wheelock secure the charter for Dartmouth College. Here he appears as quite the dandy, but indeed he was an eager outdoorsman and leapt at any chance to go camping and rusticating in his colony’s abundant wilderness. While he was on the trail happily getting dirty and sleeping on the ground, his wife was planning her fancy ballroom at their estate in the Lakes Region.
- The Wolfeboro Road was probably only the second road in Hanover to be properly laid out, mapped, and recorded. Like many early roads, over the years its location has shifted. The entire road remained in use through the 19th century until construction of the Fletcher Reservoir in 1893 interrupted its path. Today many sections, including this one and the stretch that goes bravely up and over Moose Mountain, are Class VI roads. No wonder Emergency Services gets confused.
- Follow the wide old road gently down the slope. A bit over 10 minutes from your car, your route swings R as the old road plunges toward what is now the Parker Reservoir, an area now off-limits to the public. Note the map posted on a tree at R. As you near the bottom of the hollow, note the gleaming golden bark of yellow birch at R, a most handsome tree.
- 20 minutes from your car, cross a stream headed for the Parker Reservoir. Pause to look upstream – at this season, with leaves off the trees, you get a good view of a well-laid stone wall running along the hillside above. One of Mr. Wright’s creations?
- Climb up and out of the little valley. At the top, the trail bears L and flattens out.
- At R note a plantation of small red pines, thigh-high at this writing. The Trescott lands experienced major blowdowns during the 2007 Patriot’s Day Windstorm, and two million board feet of logs and 3,100 cords of pulp were salvaged. This storm hit heaviest in the plantations, leaving natural stands largely unaffected. While the forest management plan for the Trescott lands calls for creating more natural, uneven-aged stands rather than even-aged plantations, this area is an exception to keep the slopes from becoming overrun by invasive buckthorn and other non-natives.
- Proceed along the level trail, catching glimpses of Parker Reservoir below at L through the trees.
- 30 minutes from your car, arrive at Knapp Road, identified by a sign just across the way and a map posted at R. Turn R and follow this historic road up the hill. Knapp Road was laid out Nov. 13, 1793, named for Lt. Peter Knapp of Hanover’s Revolutionary War-era militia. The cellar hole of his homestead is just below where this road meets another part of the Wolfeboro Road. In the late 1700s, that was a busy intersection!
- A minute’s walk up the hill brings you to a sign at L interpreting the history of the Town Poor Farm, which once stood in the field beyond the road. That’s a great place to explore in spring.
Continue to the top of a small rise and look for a small cellar hole at R in a circle of pines. Here is what seems like the remains of a very small house. Actually, most early homes had cellars under only a part, as a cellar was not easy to dig and was needed just for storage of apples and other supplies, not for the many purposes to which we put basements today. This was the home of P. W. Durkee in 1855, and by the 1880 census, government workers recorded the four Hewitts here – Elbert, 36 years old, a farmer; his 34-year-old wife Augusta, keeping house; their 12-year-old daughter Mary and 10-year-old son Charles, who both attended the District #4 one-room schoolhouse at the bottom of the hill. (Thanks to Ms. Hadden’s 7th grade group at the Richmond School, who researched this site and helped clear it of brush for their “Power of We” project in 2019.) In 1903, it was owned by Newton Frost until the Water Company bought his place and demolished it along with nine other farms.
- Continue up Knapp Rd another 100 paces to a sign at R for the Childs Farm Trail. From here, it’s an easy 0.5 miles back to your car. Before turning onto the trail, look back down the road, noting the pines ringing the cellar hole at the edge of your view. This must have been a beautiful place to live.
- Back to the mundane – is your dog still on its leash? There are porcupines nearby. Indeed, the next trail up the hill is named the Porcupine Trail for a good reason.
In the 1880s and 90s, the northeastern part of the Trescott lands were part of the home farm of Joseph Childs, his wife Christiane, and their children Arthur, Mabel, Myrtle, and Marcellus. Joseph was a major landowner with 500 acres, including a sugar orchard of 800 trees and an apple orchard of 200 trees, plus 10 cows, 12 horses, and 200 Merino sheep. The 1892 map at right shows Joseph’s location; he had set his son Arthur up in the next place north.
- Strike out through the meadow on the Childs Farm Trail. The yellow-blazed trail is mostly flat and follows the contour, except where it dips when crossing a few small drainages. You’re now passing above the most recent plantation you saw from below, and have a better view of earlier plantings and a pine-backed ridge.
- 15 minutes after leaving Knapp Road, cross a second small stream and then climb gently to a small height of land. A low stone wall angles in at L; it may be barely visible in the snow. This is one of over a quarter million miles of stone walls built in New England and New York in the early-mid 19th century, largely in response to the rise of the Merino sheep industry (left). When the landscape-altering wool textile industry eventually went south, much of the human population went west, and the forest returned to cloak the hillsides where hundreds of sheep once grazed. In the mixed-age, mixed species forest surrounding you today, larger stumps are evidence of a previous harvest of trees that got their start a century ago.
- 5 minutes later, you emerge into an open meadow that has been partly planted with young pines. At your appearance, finches erupt from feeding on seed heads in the scrub.
- As your car comes into sight, a trail joins at R – a glance over your shoulder confirms it’s the Coyote Connector, an alternative route to Knapp Road.
- As you approach the parking area, enjoy the view of Muscle In Your Arm Farm on the slope across Dogford Road, another part of the former Childs Farm. Its open sheep pastures, laced with stone walls lined with sugar maples, echo the view that you would have encountered a century ago on the lands you have just explored.
- From Downtown Hanover and the Green, drive E on E. Wheelock St. and up the hill 1.7 miles to the junction of E. Wheelock, Grasse, and Trescott Roads. Bear R to continue on Trescott Road and drive 1.2 more miles to the Trescott gate at a sharp bend.
- From Etna village, turn W onto Trescott Road and drive 1.3 miles to the Trescott gate at a sharp bend.
- Park at the marked trailhead parking area near the kiosk. Please do not block the gate.
What You Should Know
- Today’s hike takes you on a loop that begins on the Trescott Water Supply Lands, follows an historic road past two cellar holes, visits a 19th century cemetery, and returns on the Appalachian Trail. The two forested legs of the hike are linked by short walks on the public portions of Paine, Dogford, and Trescott Roads.
- You’re about to visit lands owned by the Trescott Water Company (Town/Dartmouth) and the permanently protected corridor of the Appalachian Trail as it skirts Etna village.
- Dogs must be leashed while on the Trescott Water Supply Lands and waste must be picked up and carried out in order to protect drinking water. Elsewhere, dogs are welcome if under your control.
- Archery season begins Sept. 15. Deer hunting is encouraged on the Trescott lands to improve the forest, and it is wise to wear blaze orange Sept. 15-Dec. 15. Hunting is also permitted on AT lands.
- Welcome to your water source! Drinking water for much of Hanover and Dartmouth College comes from these lands, so special rules apply for recreational use. Take a moment to check the kiosk display to acquaint yourself with these rules and pick up a trail guide.
- Take the short path R of the kiosk that leads around the fence to Knapp Rd., avoiding a logging road at L. At Knapp Rd., turn R back toward the gate and after 25 yards, turn L onto Paine Road. For over a century, this was a four-way intersection.
- The route now called Paine Road was laid out in 1782 from Jeremiah Trescott’s place to Dogford Road, “to accommodate him for Meeting.” He’d been asking for an easier route from his house to Hanover Center since 1775. Who Paine was and why the road now bears that name remain a mystery.
- Paine Road leads invitingly down a gentle hill for several minutes’ walk. Approach the dip in the old road softly; if you’re lucky, you’ll get a glimpse of a great blue heron or other wildlife in the wetland at R. This valley is not as small as it first appears – it extends over a half mile and feeds Parker Reservoir. The wetland captures sediment washing off higher ground before it can enter the drinking water reservoir.
- The old road continues up out of the hollow. Just as it swings R, stop and look for the remains of an old stone wall at L. You have found the site of the Wright-Mason Farm.
- To find the farmhouse’s cellar hole, follow the line of this wall into the woods to a pile of large, flat stones, about 35 paces from the road. From this point continue straight, another 25 paces, to a small grassy rise. The cellar hole may be invisible until you’re nearly upon it.
- Here is what seems like the remains of a very small house. Actually, most early homes had cellars under only a part, as a cellar was not easy to dig and was needed just for storage of apples and other supplies, not for the many purposes to which we put basements today. Other foundations on the N side suggest the house had an ell.
- In 1855, one H. Wright occupied this farm. Little is known about this family. By 1885, Charles Mason, Jr. owned the place. It was removed when the Parker Reservoir was built.
- Return to the road and continue E (away from the wetland). Ahead on a rise at L is an impressive “fairy ring” where five large ash trees spring from a single place. All are sprouts from the stump of a single earlier tree.
- Paine Road levels out, lined by a nice low stone wall at L and handsome sugar maples 20” in diameter. They were probably set out along the road by the Wrights and their mid-19th century neighbors, the Johnsons, when the surrounding land was open pasture or cropland. Now, the forest has returned but the maples still reign.
- 0.3 miles and 15 minutes from your car, look for the Mason Trail at L. Continue straight on Paine Road.
- 20 minutes from your car, arrive at a log landing – a sunny opening where timber pulled through the woods by a skidder is cut to length before transfer to a lumber truck.
- As you proceed, stone walls follow the road and head off into the woods at right angles, separating fields and pastures of another time. They were likely built by A.D. Johnson, whose home site you will soon visit, during the “Sheep Craze” of the mid-1800s. A close look reveals small stones among larger ones, indicating the land nearby was cultivated, making it worth the trouble to move minor rocks.
- About 5 minutes’ walk past the log landing is a flat spot at L, site of the Johnson-Camp Farm. This cellar hole is easily visible from the road. While it is nearly square, the farmhouse that stood over it was probably rectangular. The 1855 map shows A. D. Johnson here. By 1885, Carlton Camp lived here, of the family that gave Camp Brook its name and a veteran of the Civil War (Company B of the 18th NH Volunteers). His farm consisted of 75 acres with a sugar orchard of 150 trees and 40 more acres leased from a William Doten.
- After exploring the cellar hole, continue E on Paine Rd. At a sign and barbed wire marking an old water company boundary, walk around the large pine at R to pass through a gap in the fencing.
- Paine Rd. heads gently downhill and, on a sunny day, light through the trees catches your attention. You’ve reached a major wetland in the headwaters of Mink Brook where cattails and other marsh plants grow amid the standing skeletons of dead white pines. A big wetland in a bowl like this helps hold heavy rains like a sponge, protecting people downstream in Etna from sudden flooding.
- A mesh cage, oddly out of place in these woods, is part of a monitoring program by the Hanover Biodiversity Committee to measure deer browsing pressure on Trillium.
- Climbing up out of the bowl, Paine Rd. once again becomes a traveled way (restored to active use in 1971). Here, private land is posted in some places. Please take care to respect these neighbors.
- 1/2 hour from your car, reach Dogford Rd. Turn R and walk on its edge, following the drainage from the wetland. Just past Jones St. is a good patch of wetland wildflowers in joyous bloom at this season: orange jewelweed and white turtlehead (R). Its flowers are so sturdy that only bees are strong enough to pry them open for pollination. Walking allows you to enjoy the riot of roadside flowers blooming at this time of year – goldenrod, Queen Anne’s lace, yarrow, New England aster, and pink clover.
- 10 minutes’ walk brings you to Hanover Center Road. Turn R and take a few moments to wander through the nearby cemetery, established in the early 1840s. Most of the families who farmed the Trescott Water Supply Lands now rest here, along with their Etna neighbors. Some of their names are being memorialized on trails in the water supply lands.
- A tall obelisk near the gate marks the 1883 Chandler family plot, and just behind, an ornately carved obelisk (L) marks the burial place of Julius J. Mason and his successive wives Sarah Camp and Lydia Chandler. Other markers bear the names Bridgman, Childs, and Chase. William Hall (1825-1912), pictured below at his farm (site of today’s Parker Reservoir), is buried here. Heart-breaking are stones for “Little Baby” and other children.
- After visiting the Trescott lands’ long-ago occupants, follow the roadside fence to the far opening, turn R on Hanover Center Rd. and R again onto the Appalachian Trail S at the US Forest Service sign. Trescott Rd is 1.3 miles and under an hour away.
- The 2,190 mile-long Appalachian Trail threads through a national park that spans the eastern seaboard from Maine to Georgia. Conservation efforts along its route have protected valuable wildlife habitat and cool forests – and historic sites. The fern-lined, white-blazed trail heads between the cemetery and a forested wetland fed by Monahan Brook, a tributary of Mink Brook. Check tracks at wet spots – are all human and dog? We saw a bear track when scouting this route. Cross the brook on a sturdy log bridge and follow it up to an old field, where goldenrod reaches for the sky and apples ripen on trees planted 150 years ago. This is wonderful wildlife habitat.
- 10 minutes’ hike from the road brings you over another log crossing as the trail begins to climb gently but steadily out of the little valley. Young woods are punctuated by big bull pines.
- 9 minutes later, arrive at a trail junction marked by an orange Dartmouth Outing Club sign directing you to the L. A stone wall just beyond marks an old property line. A few minutes later, reach a Y junction with similar sign. You’ll bear R here; a service trail bears L.
- An odd metal object leaning against the sign is your cue to explore the large cellar hole just W of the trail (at R as you face the sign). Beyond the nearly intact cellar hole are three dressed granite foundation slabs. Metal objects of mysterious purpose are scattered about. Beyond is a complex set of foundations indicating that an elaborate barn stood here. What is such a thing doing out here in the woods? The 1855 map of Hanover shows a mysterious road linking Dogford and Hanover Center Rds with a single home near the N end. The 1892 map (R) shows two more places, owned by F. Adams, midway on the road. Today’s Partridge Road once linked Hanover Center Road with Jones Street, and it is the remains of the Adams farm you’ve discovered. The Adams family once owned all the land between Dogford and the east leg of Trescott Road. When the farm was sold and subdivided to create the Trescott Ridge subdivision in the 1960s, Partridge Road was re-routed and the Adams farmhouse (R) was bulldozed.
- Return to the trail junction and take the R fork to continue on the white-blazed Appalachian Trail. The AT follows Adams’ handsome, well-made stone wall for quite a distance. Sharp eyes will note other walls joining it to separate former pastures where tree roots now graze. The AT is busy at this time of year – the day we were out, we met 8 hikers, hailing from Florida, Chicago, Massachusetts, and Vermont.
- The AT heads up around a knob and through gaps in other, older walls. 20 minutes from the cellar hole, you’re suddenly in a thick pine forest, likely a cattle pasture abandoned 80 years ago, and the trail swings R to skirt an old field. The sound of passing cars hints that Trescott Road is near.
- The trail drops gently down the slope to another souvenir from Etna’s agricultural past – the circular foundation of a silo, now moss-covered. Nearby is a curious rectangular cement box and platform, possibly a milk cooling structure for a dairy farm.
- Soon the trail approaches the back of a kiosk placed to inform AT hikers coming the other way. While the AT proceeds straight, turn R here to take the pine needle-strewn path that leads through the woods to a small AT parking area. Turn R onto Trescott Road and walk 10 minutes back to your car.
- Arrange with a friend to leave a car at the hike’s end OR give yourself time to hike back to your car.
- Car drop: from downtown Hanover and the Green, take E. Wheelock Street east up the hill; continue as it becomes Trescott Road. Turn L onto Etna Road. Drive through Etna village, pass a cemetery on L, and turn L onto Dogford Road. Follow as it turns sharply R past a farm pond; turn L into the Trescott parking area. To reach the start point, return to Trescott Road and turn R onto Grasse Road. Follow as it turns L and heads down the hill. Stay R for Storrs Pond and Oak Hill. Park at the Oak Hill parking area at R.
- Starting point for a round trip hike: from downtown Hanover and the Green, take the Wolfeboro Road (known today as College Street) north through campus past the medical school. At the Dewey Field light, stay straight to join Lyme Road. Drive past the golf course to the rotary and bear R onto Reservoir Road (still on the old Wolfeboro Road route). Turn sharply L toward Storrs Pond and Oak Hill as the road enters the woods. Park at the Oak Hill parking area at R.
What You Should Know
- Welcome to your water source! Most of this hike crosses the Trescott Water Supply Lands. Drinking water for much of Hanover and for Dartmouth College comes from this area, so special rules apply for visitors.
- Dogs are welcome but must always be leashed; please pick up after your pet.
- You may encounter forestry vehicles; they have the right of way.
- Hiking times are approximate. Plan on 2 hours; longer if you plan to spend time enjoying the views.
- Begin your hike by walking back up the lane to a path entrance between the white Storrs Pond sign and the green street sign for Reservoir Road. Five steps in, and you’re on the clearly discernable, original route of the Wolfeboro Road. Our forebears chose a good path – it is safely out of the way of Camp Brook, which washed out Reservoir Road a few years back.
- Walk up through the hemlocks that shade the valley of this brook. You can imagine the relief of Royal Governor Wentworth, after several days’ ride on the new road, making his final descent toward his destination, Dartmouth College’s second commencement in 1772. In hopes of making it to the first one, Governor Wentworth ordered the cutting of the Wolfeboro Road, from his home in Wolfeborough across to Hanover, in 1770. At a public meeting on July 30 of that year, a committee of Hanover citizens was appointed to “…run a line from near the southwest corner of Hanover to the Great Pond, or Governor’s seat, at Wolfeborough, and view the situation of the land and convenience for a highway, and make return the first Monday in October next.” Members were paid four shillings and sixpence per day (Hanover Center’s Jonathan Freeman earned six shillings and sixpence/day as surveyor) and spent ten days surveying the route. In October, they gained approval to lay it out from the College to the Canaan line. Hanover landowners were assessed a penny and a half per acre to raise the 120£ needed to complete the road.
- Royal Governor John Wentworth, appointed in 1766 by King George III to take over management of the colony of New Hampshire from his infamous uncle Benning, helped Eleazar Wheelock secure the charter for Dartmouth College. Here he appears as quite the dandy, but indeed he was an eager outdoorsman and leapt at any chance to go camping and rusticating in his colony’s abundant wilderness. While he was on the trail happily getting dirty and sleeping on the ground, his wife was fixated on having a fancy ballroom at their country estate in Wolfeborough.
- In about a half mile, just as the road starts gently downhill, look R for a trail coming in from Reservoir Road where it joins Grasse Road. If you want to return to this side of the Trescott lands, you can park at the ball field near the water filtration plant and take this path over a foot bridge.
- You are near the foot of Fletcher Reservoir, first of two impoundments built on Camp Brook to provide water to downtown Hanover and Dartmouth College. This reservoir flooded a section of the Wolfeboro Road, so we will bear L and head uphill to avoid this section and the protected area around it. Because the public is not permitted within 250 feet of the waters, we’ll have to take a few side trails, but these are not without their delights!
- After six minutes’ walk from the trail junction, a mowed ski trail comes in from the L. A few yards further, look closely for the turn to the R as the ski trail veers off to the L – your goal is a sign, posted a short way into the woods at the Trescott Lands boundary. Time to leash your dog, if your pup is along for the hike.
- This trail takes you over an old woods road and soon, a newly built bridge over an intermittent stream. The trail is marked in most places with flagging and is well trodden, following the contour of Stone Hill (more about Stone – a person, not a geological feature – in a moment). Side trails built by mountain bikers come in at L in several places; avoid these and stay on the generally straight path.
- Soon, you’ll see a stone wall ahead. Head for the break in the wall and emerge from the forest to a vantage point. This unusual view of Velvet Rocks, with the waters of Fletcher Reservoir at R, is your reward for the detour off the old road.
- Head downhill, following stakes in the open field, to rejoin the Wolfeboro Road at a well-marked opening in the trees. Look R to see where the old road went west, and turn L to resume your pilgrimage. Red boundary signs on the R and orange blazes on trees indicate the reservoir buffer, not open to the public (or dogs hoping for a swim).
- Walking on the old road is easy and grades are gentle. Keep your eyes out for the cellar hole at L of the old Stone Farm, on a small rise (double circle on the map). Plans to dam Camp Brook meant that farmers in its watershed would be displaced. In 1893, Dartmouth College simply swapped farms with Charles Stone. It’s said that he milked his cows here in the morning of the move, then herded his cows down the Wolfeboro Road and through downtown Hanover, and installed them in their new barn near Mink Brook just south of town, where he milked them that evening.
- Continue east on the Wolfeboro Road to Mason’s Four Corners. Now a log landing, the Four Corners was once a major intersection where the Wolfeboro Road crosses the more recent Knapp Road. Look for a sign posted on a tree opposite, confirming your location.
- Knapp Road was laid out Nov. 13, 1793, named for Lt. Peter Knapp of Hanover’s Revolutionary War-era militia. The cellar hole of his homestead is on the northeast corner of this intersection. By 1855, J. J. Mason lived here, followed by Charles Mason by 1892. The 160-acre Mason Farm had a 100-tree apple orchard and 200-tree sugarbush. Mason also kept 12 dairy cows and 70 Merino sheep. In the days before the Civil War, Hanover was one of the four top sheep towns in New Hampshire (after Walpole, Lyme, and Lebanon). The water company purchased Mason’s farm by 1903 for $4000.
- At the NW corner of this intersection stood the one-room District #4 schoolhouse (1807). Look for an interpretive sign here for more about these historic sites.
- The Wolfeboro Road was probably only the second road in Hanover not only to be properly laid out but also to be mapped and recorded. Like many early roads, over the years its location has shifted, with and without the benefit of surveys and deeds. The entire road remained in use through the 19th century until construction of Fletcher Reservoir in 1893 interrupted its path.
- As a member of Dartmouth’s new Board of Trustees, Wentworth hoped to cross it for the first commencement of four students in 1771, but not all the communities in its path felt obliged to cooperate in its construction (except Hanover, of course!). It wasn’t ready for another year, and was still just a rough trace, not a “road” as we imagine it. In 1771 the governor ended up going by way of Haverhill.
- The Wolfeboro Road continues E, still marked by old sugar maples but obscured by brush. Here again, we must take a detour to avoid the reservoir buffer, this time for the Parker Reservoir. After imagining the busy neighborhood that once existed here, continue up Knapp Road, itself lined with stately old maples and stone walls. In a few minutes you’ll notice another sign at R for the trail to Dogford Road. Turn R here.
- The hillsides beyond are partly open and are being replanted. These lands experienced major blowdowns during the 2007 Patriot’s Day Windstorm. Two million board feet of logs and 3,100 cords of pulp were salvaged. This storm hit heaviest in the plantations, leaving natural stands largely unaffected. The forest management plan calls for creating more natural, uneven-aged stands rather than even-aged plantations.
- Catch glimpses of Parker Reservoir as the trail turns SE to rejoin the old Wolfeboro Road after a short dip.
- Back to Royal Governor John Wentworth – he visited Hanover for the third and last time in 1773, once again for the College’s commencement exercises, presumably traveling over his new highway. He was not able to attend in 1774, and by the summer of 1775 he had fled New Hampshire after war broke out with Great Britain.
- Back to the mundane – is your dog still on its leash? Give yourself a gold star and know that there are porcupines nearby.
- Turn L, uphill, returning to the old road. It climbs gently but steadily, and stone walls become more impressive. You’re seeing the handiwork of one Wright, who owned the farm at the final cellar hole we will visit today. He was there in 1855; by 1892, J.W. and W.D. Chandler had taken over his farm. As the gate and Dogford Road come into view, look for the cellar hole at L – it’s the largest yet. Find the threshold stone and admire the drylaid stonework, all done without benefit of power machinery.
- From here, you have a choice. If you dropped your car at the Dogford Road parking lot, head N on the light trail that leads from the cellar hole and parallels the road for the short distance to the lot. You can also continue by foot, or in your car, along the route of the Wolfeboro Road by following Dogford Road straight E to where it turns just past an historic farmhouse at L.
- If you are feeling adventurous, have 15 minutes, and seek the very best Wolfeboro Road experience of all, park on the shoulder of Dogford Road at the turn (there is room for one carefully parked car) and proceed on foot up the old road as it continues as a Class VI road through a pasture.
- Note the cattle fence, which is electrified. Grasp the gray plastic handle to cross the fence – carefully – and immediately replace the handle behind you. This is the home of Scottish Highlander cattle, but the public is still allowed on the old road, which is easily distinguished by the early stone walls and towering maples that line it. You’ll pass pieces of antique farming equipment and sap buckets along the way. Step carefully (for obvious reasons) and do not approach the long-horned cattle if you encounter them.
- Proceed, if cattle and other conditions allow, to the crest of the hill. From here, you can see the path of the old Wolfeboro Road as it continues down into a little valley and then up the other side.
- Stop here – this is the one section of the Wolfeboro Road that is no longer a public way, due to town meeting action in the 1980s, when a single vote sealed the road’s fate. The road is closed from a small bridge at the end of Elm Road until it joins Hanover Center Road. Yet the Wolfeboro Road, a beautiful scenic and recreational asset for Hanover, remains an important historical reminder of the early regional vision and political leadership that was to benefit the entire region.
- Turn back toward Dogford Road and enjoy the most beautiful view of all – Velvet Rocks and the lush farm landscapes that seem not to have changed since the early 19th century.
Learn more about the Trescott Water Company Lands.
As of Dec. 15, the Trescott Water Supply Lands are open for public recreation. Please help keep this beautiful area open for all to enjoy, by observing simple rules that protect our community’s drinking water quality. MORE
When you shop at smile.amazon.com, we hope you’ll consider designating the Hanover Conservancy to receive a donation of 0.5% of your purchase – at no cost to you. ‘Tis the season!
2017 Winter Trips – our colorful trip card will arrive in current members’ mailboxes right after Christmas. Look for yours!