Durham has beautiful trails and conservation areas. The Oyster River Forest and Spruce Hole Bog, College Woods, and Adam's Point are among the most popular, but are you familiar with the Doe Farm Trails? I wasn't until recently when I heard the Town of Durham has assembled an ad-hoc group called the Doe Farm Trails Initiative. I am really happy with the improvements made to the Oyster River Forest over the past two years, so I was happy to hear this, but also intrigued that there was a trail system in Durham I hadn't heard of and I went to check it out!
The parking area is very easy to spot from Bennett Road. From Route 108, make a right onto Bennett Road, and drive about one mile. Just before the narrow bridge that goes over the railroad tracks, there is a gravel parking area to the left where you'll find two signs for the Doe Farm Trails.
The first bit of the trail was very flat and easily walkable, perfect for people of all abilities and fitness levels (and great for cross-country skiing). Then I came to a sunny clearing where I saw a beautiful garter snake before continuing on the trail to the left.
This is where things start to get messy. The trail is poorly blazed and the log bridges have become soggy. I thought about turning back, but I am glad I kept going. After a few more minutes (and another soggy log bridge), I came to another clearing with a beautiful view of the Lamprey River.
This is where I turned around. I started down a couple paths that may have been trails at one point, but both were narrow, overgrown, and quickly came to a dead end.
Planned improvements to the Doe Farm Trails include:
- Replace or build five new bridges to improve water quality and trail experience.
- Construct two new trail sections to improve trail layout.
- Improve signage and trail blazing on trails, at parking area, and at river pull outs.
- Replace kiosk with post-and-beam design consistent with other Durham conservation lands.
- Improve trail connections between Doe Farm and neighboring lands used for winter recreation.
- Establish two new riverside day-use picnic areas, accessible by trail and Lamprey River.
- Improve designated Stewardship Campsite area to accommodate use by groups (with permit).
Find out more about Doe Farm, learn how you can help with the improvements, and get a trail map on the Town of Durham website (here) and check out Celebrate Durham's Doe Farm guide (here). Check back often and see the progress for yourself!