Homestead Forest Conservation Area (Ashland)

The Homestead Forest, located in Ashland, is a property that holds evidence of once an agricultural economy that has almost ceased to exist in central New Hampshire. In 1999, the land was given to the Lakes Region Conservation Trust. In the same year, a conservation easement on the property was donated to the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. In the center of the property is a trail system which passes old foundations, swamps, viewpoints, and caves.

In the mid-nineteenth century, the 604-acre property consisted of 13 separate lots. Miles of stonewalls and rusted wire fencing line the separate lots. From the trailhead kiosk, Lambert Road continues straight ahead for a mile until it meets an abandoned road. This abandon road once connected Coxboro Road in Holderness and Leavitt Hill Road in Ashland. Scattered throughout the forest are cellar holes and foundations which identify the locations of four of five farms known to have existed in the 1800s. A sixth farmhouse, now owned by LRCT, dates from about 1825. These structures bear witness to a tradition of homestead agriculture in rural New Hampshire and to the transition from fields back to forestland after these farms were abandoned.


Trail Map

Notes: About 40 yards above the second detour, the Gibban Trail leaves on the left. The total circuit is almost 3 miles in length and involves a climb of 600 feet, nearly all within the first mile. Trails are signed and marked with yellow blazes. (Blue blazes mark internal boundary lines, red blazes mark external ones)


Forgotten Farms Quest

A Quest is an activity where participants follow a rhyming trail of clues and a curious map to find a hidden box. This Quest is a journey through early New Hampshire agricultural history at the Homestead Forest Conservation Area.

The route of this Quest runs for half mile across varied terrain. It may take up to an hour and a half to complete. If you are not comfortable being in unfamiliar woodlands and are not used to remembering how to retrace your steps, you should not attempt to follow this quest.

Download the Forgotten Farms Quest here. Have fun and good luck!

 


Parking & Directions

All parking areas are open from dawn to dusk, and are always free and open to the public.

From Meredith/points south:

  • Take Route 104 in Meredith west for approx. 1.7 mi. to Winona Rd
  • Turn right on Winona Rd. and follow it for approx. 5.2 mi. to Lambert Rd
  • Turn right on Lambert Rd.; the trailhead kiosk is at end of the road

From Plymouth/Holderness/points west, north, and east:

  • Take Route 3/25 to Ashland
  • At the intersection of Routes 3/25 and 132, take Route 132/Main St./Depot St. south for approx. 0.2 mile to Winona Rd
  • Bear left on Winona Rd. and follow it for approx. 2.2 miles to Lambert Rd
  • Turn left on Lambert Rd.; the trailhead kiosk is at end of the road