The Nature Conservancy Westmoreland, New Hampshire 03467Official Website
In 1964, the Warwick Preserve was the first New Hampshire property donated to The Nature Conservancy. The preserve is located on Butterfield Hill in a quiet part of southwestern New Hampshire, not far from the Connecticut River. Its rugged terrain includes the rushing waters of Partridge Brook and a mixed forest of hemlock, sugar maple, red oak, and basswood. Forty-foot-high rocky outcrops provide views of the river. Large boulders litter the forest floor below the rocky ridges creating habitat for snakes, porcupines, and bobcats.
While most of New Hampshire tends to have acidic soils, the calcium-rich bedrock in Westmoreland has resulted in rich, alkaline soils that provide habitat for a diversity of plant life that is uncommon in the state. Rare plants found here are the broad beech fern, a beautiful purple and white orchid called the showy orchis, spotted wintergreen, and long-spurred violet. Other alkaline-loving plants found here include maidenhair spleenwort, spring beauty, and Dutchman’s breeches. A visit to the preserve in late spring or early summer will reveal some of these plants as well as neotropical migrant birds, including warbler and thrush species, and scarlet tanagers.
Currently, only the 36-acre Warwick parcel is accessible which offers 1.5 miles of trails for enjoying the wildflowers and birds. The trails are rugged and moderately steep, ascending from 480 feet of elevation to 900 feet in just the first third of a mile. Above the rocky outcrops, the trails are easier and follow gently curving contours through a mixed forest, which includes some beautiful stands of red oak. While the preserve is worth visiting throughout the year, there are icy conditions on the steeper sections of the trail during the winter so make sure to bring appropriate gear or wait for the warmer seasons to enjoy the trails.
From NH-9 take NH-12 north for 6.4 miles, bringing you to east Westmoreland. Take a left onto South Village Road, which you will follow for 3.7 miles before arriving in the village of Westmoreland. From here take a right onto NH-63 and travel 0.9 miles to arrive at the Warwick Preserve access point. Parking space for three to four vehicles is available, just South of a small white-railed bridge.
The AllTrails website has a description and map of a hike at Warwick Preserve.
Restrooms on site
Wheelchair accessible trail
Content from Official Website
Last updated October 20, 2023