While the heart of campus is a great place to stroll, Durham and the University of New Hampshire (UNH) also feature a lot of walking trails both on and off campus grounds, including some you don’t need a car to get to. The trails are a great way to get off campus in the summer, and, in the forests, enjoy a reprieve from the summer heat.
UNH owns several pieces of land across the state and multiple are in Durham. College Woods sits right on campus and has two entry points on campus: one by the Chase Ocean Engineering Laboratory behind the Field House, and another past the UNH police station. Either of these entry points will take you to a number of trails in College Woods, but the second entry point will take you to a bridge over the Oyster River and its dam, from which UNH and the town of Durham draw their water.
Go beyond that bridge and along the trails, either straight ahead or on the left, and you will reach Mill Road. Cross Mill Road and walk west, and right before the railroad tracks is the entry point for West Foss Farm, another of UNH’s properties. Follow the trail and you will enter West Foss Farm, passing vernal pools and ponds along the way. If you follow the trail for just under a mile, you will end up in Thompson Farm.
Thompson Farm, also known as Highland House, contains both forest and open field trails. Entering Thompson Farm, you will encounter the forested portion of the property. Forests take up most of Thompson Farm, but if you walk to the other end that sits along Bennett Road, you will enter the agricultural fields, where forage, or livestock feed, is grown for our dairy operations.
If you don’t want to walk through three different areas, UNH also has East Foss Farm, which can be accessed through West Foss Farm, but also within a 15-minute walk from campus. Walk on Mill Road, away from downtown, and turn onto Foss Farm Road after about 1/3 of a mile. Continue for another 1/3 mile, and you will come upon a dirt road on your right between two houses, which will lead you into the trails of East Foss Farm. East Foss Farm has a variety of tree species, wetlands, fields, and even some historical elements, such as an old foundation.
The town of Durham also owns a variety of properties that are good areas for a walk. Town Landing, about ½ of a mile from campus, can be accessed by walking down Main Street, past downtown, and down Newmarket Road (Route 108). Town Landing is on the left side of the road at the bridge, and has paths dotted with historical signs along Oyster River.
Lastly, at the end of Woodman Drive is a short, forested trail that leads to a view of Oyster River and a small graveyard of the Woodman family—just beware the poison ivy.
Speaking of poison ivy, remember to stay safe. Look out for poison ivy, check for ticks, stay on the trails and don’t trespass. Have fun, and if you need a map, maps can be found on the websites for UNH Woodlands and the town of Durham.