UVLT’s 250-acre Lyme Hill Conservation Area abuts a number of parcels conserved by private landowners. Our land is a mix of forested slopes with stream frontage and wetland. Lyme Hill Conservation Area is a popular destination for recreationalists including hikers, horseback riders, mountain bikers, runners, dog walkers, cross country skiers, and snowmobilers.
Lyme Hill has 3.5 miles of multi-use trails, including an official snowmobile trail. Hike to the summit, out to the wetland, around the looping forest trail, or cross over to the Lower Grant Brook Trail which connects to other trails in Lyme.
Coming Soon: The Lyme Hill Story Walk Trail
Led by volunteers, Tara McGovern and Curtis Cote, an innovative and creative new trail is taking shape at Lyme Hill. “The goal of the Story Trail is to create a family friendly hiking destination which encourages young children to get out onto local trails and to creates an enthusiasm for hiking at a young age, as well as develop respect for the forest and nature, to have fun, and read a book.” explains Tara. Volunteers from Hypertherm constructed the metal stands and brackets.The trail was specifically designed to have the stands mounted into the natural landscape of glacial erratics that are scattered all over the hillside at Lyme Hill. UVLT is partnering with Lyme’s Converse Free Library to select story books for the trail.
Lyme Hill Conservation Area can be accessed from a large parking area located on Route 10 in Lyme about 1.25 miles south of Lyme village. The trails may also be accessed on foot or bike from River Road, where there is a wide shoulder on the west side of the road just south of Grant Brook.
The Story of Lyme Hill Conservation Area
In 1991, Michael McGean and Thomas Alden gave UVLT a parcel of 37.3 acres at the top of Lyme Hill. The parcel was small and isolated, with no road frontage, but it encompassed one of the town’s most visible landmarks. It was the first property that UVLT acquired for long term ownership and remained the only one for some years.
In 1993, Bayne and Jeanne Stevenson proposed to donate 3.3 acres to UVLT. Their property had 550 feet of frontage on Route 10 and included this small meadow backing up to a perennial stream. Questions arose: would conserving a small property on a busy state highway be desirable? UVLT’s Trustees and the Stevensons agreed that UVLT would study conservation options and could use the gift as a “trade land” if long term ownership didn’t make sense. Years went by, and UVLT continued to own the property.
In 1996 UVLT began a major initiative to conserve land along Grant Brook. Over a four year period, UVLT purchased and conserved two major properties and negotiated with several neighbors who donated conservation easements. Ultimately, 420 acres (in total) – 237.4 owned by UVLT and 183 protected with conservation easements) acres were conserved, including four parcels connecting the Stevenson frontage to the lot at the top of Lyme Hill. The Grant Brook conservation projects were supported by the Lyme Conservation Commission, the Connecticut River Joint Commissions, the Lyme Foundation, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, the Nature Conservancy, and the Audubon Society of New Hampshire.
In 2011 UVLT acquired an adjacent 15.8-acre wetland through a gift from David and Barbara Roby. The land was conserved in consultation with the NH Department of Environmental Services and the Roby’s gift helped the Town of Lyme obtain permits it needed for improvements to the Town’s beach and ball field.
The trailhead has been improved with the help of many volunteers including a group of Hypertherm associates who installed wood planks to cross wet areas, cleared and cleaned up the edge of the field and put down wood chips on the trail. We thank all who have participated to conserve this wonderful area and help others enjoy it.
Environment and Nature Based Activities for Children – A Resource for Parents
Several years ago Maggie Stoudnour created an outdoor, environmental education curriculum for children grades K-6 at UVLT’s Lyme Hill Conservation Area in Lyme, NH. More information about visiting Lyme Hill Conservation Area is available at the bottom of the page. Many of the activities are simple, requiring no more than normal household materials, others require a few special objects that you may or may not have in your house, but that can be found easily online. These activities were meant for Lyme Hill, which is a wonderful place to visit with your children while keeping distant from other families and visitors, but these activities can take place in a variety of settings, including your own backyard.
Just north of the driveway entrance to the Lyme Hill Conservation Area, UVLT has installed a quarter-acre garden/meadow full of plants that native pollinators use for their habitat and food. The plantings support and initiative of the Upper Valley Pollinator Partners to create pollinator gardens as a means to educate the Upper Valley community about the causes for the decline in native pollinators, share information about the biology of native pollinators, including their food and habitat requirements, and to persuade area residents to create new pollinator habitat. A grant from the Lyme Foundation helped us prepare the soil and buy native seeds for the planting.
Gilbert Cemetery, the first burying ground in Lyme, stands on high, wooded ground overlooking Grant Brook. This cemetery is the burial site of many of the original settlers of the town. The first burial, that of nine-year-old Elizabeth Sloan the daughter of one of Lyme’s founding families, took place in 1766. Many of the grave markers are from the 1770’s and 80’s. There are also some very picturesque views of the Connecticut River. Recent work has restored the old stones preserving important documentation of Lyme’s early history. To find the cemetery, follow the trail off of River Road until you come to a sign pointing the way to the cemetery.