A JOINT PROJECT OF HOPKINTON'S CONSERVATION COMMISSION AND OPEN SPACE COMMITTEE

Bohanan Farm

  • Overview
  • Description/History
  • Trail Maps
  • River Access
  • Photos

This large, privately owned, working dairy farm has a conservation easement protecting its valuable agricultural fields and working forests. The farmers, the Bohanan/Robertson families, continue to welcome public use and enjoyment of their extensive network of farm roads and river frontage.

There are four walking routes: The Blackwater Loop with views of the Blackwater River; the Contoocook River Overlook Trail (accessed from the Blackwater Loop); the Corser Hill Loop to the hilltop cellar hole of the old Corser farmstead; and Amesbury Field Road to the Amesbury farm field at the confluence of the Warner and Contoocook Rivers. These walking routes are also popular in winter for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Directions:
From Contoocook or Hopkinton Villages, take Penacook Road towards the Transfer Station. Parking for all trails is at the Bohanan Farm trailhead kiosk on the left after crossing the Contoocook River at Tyler Bridge (945 Penacook Road).

Walking Times (from parking area):
Blackwater Loop (blue blazes): 1.5 miles round trip; 45 minutes.
Contoocook Overlook Trail (yellow blazes): 2.2 miles round trip; 1 to 1-1/4 hour
Corser Hill Loop: (orange blazes): 2.3 miles round trip; 1 hour
Amesbury Field Road: 3.2 miles round trip; 1.5 hour

Four Walking Loops

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Blackwater River Loop: This walk begins at the edge of the cornfield on Burrage Road, the road directly across from the entrance to Bohanan Farm. After a short walk along the Contoocook River, look for the sign that marks the beginning of the Blackwater River Loop. The path starts in the woods next to the cornfield and enters a flat wooded area of well-managed pine and mixed hardwood. A network of woods roads and foot paths leads past vernal pools before reaching the edge of the old river bed, now floodplain along the Blackwater River. A side loop called the Contoocook Overlook Trail leads to Horne Town Forest and a spectacular lookout at the confluence of the Blackwater and Contoocook Rivers. Other lookout points along the Loop offer river views. The relatively level terrain and wide pathways make this ideal for cross country skiing as well as walking.

Contoocook Overlook Loop: This loop trail was added in the fall of 2016 to provide access to Horne Town Forest, a 14-acre parcel acquired in 2015. The new town forest is surrounded by Bohanan Farm at the confluence of the Blackwater and Contoocook Rivers. The trail to the overlook leaves the Blackwater River Loop at the half way point, adding ¾ of a mile to the Blackwater Loop (2.2 miles total with the overlook trail). The trail follows a bluff above the Blackwater River before turning toward the Contoocook River where an overlook provides beautiful views where the two rivers converge. The trail climbs a short hill to a bluff along the Contoocook River, follows through mature woodlands with views over Bohanan fields, and rejoins the Blackwater River Loop.

Corser Hill Loop: This walk begins by turning left from the parking area at Bohanan Farm and following the gravel farm road as it passes through farm fields. Access to Corser Hill is on the right side of the road shortly after turning onto the farm road. This path follows along the edge of a field before reaching the woods road that leads to Corser Hill. (Note that this access way may change from time to time depending on agricultural activities.) The loop enters the Corser pasture through a stile at the stone fence, and climbs through the open pasture to the top of the hill where a grove of large maple trees marks the site of Ham Corser’s cellar hole. Large boulders in the field have markings where Native Americans ground their corn. Be aware of the cows grazing in the pasture in season. The path continues north through the pasture to a stile at the far end, then follows a woods road back to the juncture south of the pasture. Retrace the path and farm road back to the parking area.

Amesbury Field Road: This walk begins by turning left from the parking area at Bohanan Farm and following the gravel farm road as it passes through farm fields. After passing through the Bohanan fields, the road crosses onto the Dustin property which was protected by a conservation easement in 2014. The roadway connects back to Bohanan Farm land and the Amesbury Field at approximately 1.6 miles. The farm road traverses several interesting water features including a small oxbow pond to the north (once the river channel) and an area along the Contoocook River that still floods during high water, helping to prevent downstream flooding during heavy rains. The silver maple floodplain forest provides an unusual and dynamic environment, which makes the area an important habitat for wildlife.

History

This farm has been under the careful management of the Bohanan family since 1907 and is now being run by a member of the fifth generation of the family. The farming history of the land goes back to the 1760s, when Enoch Eastman won two acres of the land in a game of horseshoes and gave it to his son Simeon who started farming there. There is an historic marker on the farm showing the site of the second ferry across the Contoocook River, built in 1772.

In 2009, the town worked with Five Rivers Conservation Trust (www.5rct.org) to purchase a conservation easement on 413 acres, excluding an area around the house and barns. The property includes four miles of frontage on three different rivers, the Contoocook, Blackwater and Warner Rivers. In 2014, the town again worked with Five Rivers Conservation Trust to acquire a conservation easement on the 36-acre Dustin property, thereby linking the two Bohanan parcels and providing public access to Amesbury Field.

These conservation easements allow the family, and any future owners, to continue sustainable agriculture and forestry, but prevents any further development. Please treat the land with consideration and be aware that sections may be closed to public access from time to time to accommodate agricultural and timber harvest activities.

Hunting is permitted in season with appropriate license.

The four Bohanan Farm trails - The Blackwater Loop/Contoocook Overlook Trail and the Corser Loop/Amesbury Field Road -- are shown below. Please click the text or image link to open/download/print the PDF map for the loop you want.

Blackwater Loop/Contoocook Overlook Trail - Click here to open/download/print PDF map.

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Corser Loop and Amesbury Field Road - Click here to open/download/print PDF map.

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August 2013

The Hopkinton Conservation Commission is pleased to announce the installation of a canoe/kayak access ramp at the Bohanan Farm conservation property.

The gangway style ramp allows easy access to the river from the steep bank at the farm for canoes and kayaks. A drop-off area is located near the ramp and parking is provided at the informational kiosk off Penacook Road.

The ramp project is a continuation of the commission's efforts to provide public recreational opportunities at the farm property.

Photos by Bob LaPree

 

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