Thompson Wildlife Sanctuary, Sandwich

About this Location

This ‘forever wild’ sanctuary contains nearly 100 acres of important wetland habitats, much of which can be viewed from a short boardwalk trail system that meets accessibility standards. An abundance of wildlife, including over 200 species of birds, numerous turtles, frogs, and mammals, and an astounding abundance of invertebrates, can be seen from its trails.

The 303-acre wildlife sanctuary is located between the Sandwich Range to the northwest and the Ossipee Mountains to the southeast. Until the early 1900s, much of the area was cleared and utilized as a hay farm. Today much of the sanctuary has reverted to forest and wetlands. Atwood Brook, a tributary of the Bearcamp River, meanders through the middle of the sanctuary. The marsh and meadows that are found along the brook add to the beauty and diversity of the property.

Charles G. Thompson, of S. Tamworth, donated the original 150 acres of the sanctuary to NH Audubon in 1976. He chose the name of the property in memory of his wife. In 1979, Frank and Rose Church, of Portsmouth, donated an additional 66 acres. The Quimby Fund, a private trust set up by Alfred Quimby for the benefit of the Town of Sandwich and its residents, has also supported the sanctuary through additional conservation and stewardship. In 2014, NH Audubon donated a ‘forever wild’ conservation easement on the sanctuary to the Northeast Wilderness Trust, which will ensure that the conservation values will be forever protected.

Note that parking here (as with other sanctuaries) is limited, and roadside parking is discouraged. When mud season conditions pass in May, the Wilderness Trail (accessed via Middle Road) is recommended for a longer woodland walk.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

Content from Official Website

Last updated November 15, 2023