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 Wagon Hill Farm - Durham, NH - 8/30/14 
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 Wagon Hill Farm - Durham, NH - 8/30/14
I'll make this one quick. I doubt there's much interest in it but I know almost all of you have seen and driven right by it. Wagon Hill Farm is a conservation area in Durham that sits on the shores of Little Bay and the Oyster River. If you looked up the bay while crossing the General Sullivan Bridge headed up route 16 you'd see it on the right. We had to be in Portsmouth for dinner Saturday night but my wife wanted to take the girls for a little hike in the afternoon and we decided on this place we'd never been to. It's a well preserved 140 acre farm that gives you a glimpse into what the New England coast looked like before it was developed. About half rolling fields and half woods it's a rather enjoyable place to walk. Trails are not well marked but are easy enough to follow and with a map you can find your way around simple enough.

We started by climbing up the hill to the namesake wagon. The trails through the old fields are just mowed and worn paths that were easy enough for even my one year old to walk on, although she kept wandering into the high grass trying to get the flowers after her sisters left her i the dust. The open top is worn down to the ledgy rock underneath and has nice views over the rest of the farm and peeks of the bay.

Climbing Wagon Hill. So simple a baby can do it! :D
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Trails are a mix of mowed paths, boardwalks and lined wooded paths
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VFTT
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After the wagon we followed the trail down into the woods and passed a creek to the small sandy beach and picnic area on the bay where the tidal Davis Creek flows in. Views were nice across the water to the shore of Durham Point and out to some small islands. Lobstermen and sailboats cruised around as traffic steadily flowed across the general Sullivan Bridge in the distance well out of ear shot. The girls had fun throwing rocks, picking flowers and chasing butterflies before having a snack and moving on.

Eventually you should end up on the shore of Little Bay
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Davis Creek enters into the bay near the picnic area
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You can watch the boats do their thing or traffic flow over the bridge
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Is there anyone on these boards who hasn't driven across this?
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Our kids chose to just pick flowers and throw rocks! :D
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The wooded trails were lined with branches and often had wood chips laid down for better footing. we hugged the shore of the Oyster River, passing a spur to a great little point of land near Smith Creek before turning back towards the fields and farmhouse. We checked out the community gardens and headed off to downtown Portsmouth, only a couple miles away but a whole different world of hustle and bustle. Personally I prefer the farm! :D

The shady wooded trails were entirely lined with branches and sticks which made following them childproof
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The trail we took hugged the banks of the Oyster River and led to a neat little point near Smith Creek
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Smith Creek at high tide
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Headed back through the fields past the old farm house, orchards and gardens
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Bat houses on the farm house
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So that's it. Short and sweet. Trails are easy and well graded and maintained and we spent about two hours wandering 1.5 miles or so with lots of little breaks along the way. This is a great spot for a quiet stroll only minutes from the cities of Portsmouth and Dover yet away from it all. If you want any more info on this one you can click right here...

http://www.ci.durham.nh.us/boc_conservation/wagon-hill-farm

And a printable trail map of the place...

http://www.ci.durham.nh.us/sites/default/files/fileattachments/boc_conservation/map_2_wagon_hll_farm_base_map.pdf


Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:36 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman

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I love the pics of the youngest picking flowers and chasing after her sisters, truly a memorable pic!!! I think it is so cool that you guys do all this fun outdoor stuff as a family and hopefully that will carry over as they get older. Makes you wonder why more families don't do stuff like that!

Funny thing about the bat box in the picture, I obtained a bat box ohhhhh about 12 years ago, put it on the outside of my house, (south facing as required) and never not once have had a bat go in it! YET they have taken over the entrance way to my barn and I have the bat guano to prove it!! With that said, I have yet to see any at dusk when they come out, like I have in years past. I know they are there, I just haven't seen them flying around, sadly enough, likely due to the issues with the white nose syndrome....

On the other end of my barn I have another pile of poo and it is Squirrels overrunning the barn trying to get at the grain bin. POO EVERYWHERE :shock: Then of course you have the horse poo that requires daily maintenance. Just interesting about the bat box though...


Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:21 am
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I don't know why more families don't do it either. Good, healthy and relatively inexpensive fun. What's the old saying, the family that plays together stays together? I can hope! Either way they're only little once. Gotta make the most of every chance we get.

The bat house thing reminds me of all the bird houses we have around. None of them have any birds living in them! They live in trees, on flood lights, in bushes and on gutters...all around them, but none want to move into the houses. :? We have bats around every evening, but I have no idea where they live. Maybe in the bird houses! :D


Wed Sep 03, 2014 4:34 pm
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Thanks for another gem! Not only are they a wonderful planned destination, but when you're on whatever highway in the area and the traffic's just not moving, you can look for the exit and spend your time here! Like we did with Vaughn Woods last month.

I did the same thing with my kids when they were little. Lawrence borders Andover and North Andover; plenty of good stuff there!


Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:02 pm
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Peak Bagger
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Thanks for the heads up on this one. I will surely bring my non-hiking
Family to check it out.


Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:28 pm
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That's really nice GG. I wish I lived up here when my kids were growing up.
All they got to see were the shores of Long Island, and the crimes of NYC!

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Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:02 pm
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Keyz56 wrote:
That's really nice GG. I wish I lived up here when my kids were growing up.
All they got to see were the shores of Long Island, and the crimes of NYC!


No Central Park? Or or is that what you meant by crimes in NYC? :D

I'm glad these places are here too. But most of them are relatively new and didn't exist even when I was a kid. This one for example was just a farm slated for development until 1989 when it was purchased and saved by the town of Durham.

One nice thing about these little places is the more people enjoy them and see the value of the little places the more they seem to band together to make more of them. Instead of house lots the land gets preserved and gets trail systems developed for future generations to enjoy. Not always big and grand but they all have something to offer and they are everywhere now. Everyone has some in their backyards practically. They just need some love and exposure to thrive, so go find them and use them and share them. That's what I can try and do to help out. :D


Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:34 pm
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Granite Guy wrote:
Keyz56 wrote:
That's really nice GG. I wish I lived up here when my kids were growing up.
All they got to see were the shores of Long Island, and the crimes of NYC!


No Central Park? Or or is that what you meant by crimes in NYC? :D

It's funny how in the movies they make Central Park look like a nice place to stroll thorough..."IT'S NOT"! Maybe on a Sunday afternoon, but you can't go in that place without seeing and getting approached by the junkies and homeless. Plus at night, they'll rob your a*s! I don't know what it's like now, but 15 years ago.... :shock:
Long Island was cool up until the very early 90's. Then came the drugs and crime. But before that, it was really nice. I used to take the kids to Montauk Point every summer for a weekend. CLICK HERE
And the beaches of the south shore...like the Hamptons were nice. A bit pricey, but real nice. CLICK HERE

I'm glad my grandkids have it different. My daughters kids were born up here in NH, and my sons kids were born in Florida.

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Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:59 am
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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Wow, thanks for the report....we drive by this all the time on the way to go shopping in Newington or Portsmouth and I thought it was just a sledding hill. I didn't realize there were trails. I'll definitely check this out with my wife.

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Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:59 am
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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I'm not going to write a TR but just thought I'd mention that I did do this hike on Sunday with my wife. Like a vulture, I just wait for your TRs on all of these local hikes, then I swoop in and do them, using your information. :lol:

Anyway, we really enjoyed it and will definitely return in the fall when the leaves are changing colors. I still can't believe we've driven by this for the 3 years I've been in Newmarket and never realized it was a public place with trails. Great views of the Oyster River and Little Bay, and just the grounds themselves are very scenic.

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Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:42 am
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BobC wrote:
I'm not going to write a TR but just thought I'd mention that I did do this hike on Sunday with my wife. Like a vulture, I just wait for your TRs on all of these local hikes, then I swoop in and do them, using your information. :lol:

I hear ya Bob. I do the same sometimes. GG showed me some nice close to home, easy hikes.

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Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:08 am
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Glad the reports are of use and that you enjoyed it Bob. I'll keep leaving anything of interest out for the vultures! :D

I bet the place is really nice when the colors change like you said. My daughter actually asked if we could go back when it snows, so of course I'm thinking great, we'll get some use out of the snowshoes here. But I asked her why and she said because it looks like a great sledding hill! :?


Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:00 am
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Peak Bagger
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GG thanks again for this TR. I made it over there on Saturday. It was great! I only wished I had a bathing suit on. What a really nice place. I did bring a picnic. I just wanted to mention there is a great farm stand across the road.

Terry


Mon Sep 08, 2014 1:41 pm
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Flatfoot
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One of our favorites...really incredible spot that as a student at UNH I drove by hundreds of times only thinking it was a wagon on a hill. Finally once we had our son we turned in and discovered a really cool spot.


Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:44 pm
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If you like this one check out the Bellamy River Sanctuary and Wildlife Management Areas. Similar trails and terrain right up the road.

http://forum.hike-nh.com/viewtopic.php?t=6169


Mon Sep 15, 2014 6:34 pm
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