Round trip distance: 3 miles
Trail marking: None
Major trails are former roads (E. Monson Road and W. Monson Road), so they are quite wide. Except when snow-covered, trails are easy to see and well-used. There are several narrow trails off-shooting from the main trails, but each meets up with one of the main trails, and it's easy to circle back to the center of Monson.
Nature walks, hiking, birding and other wildlife watching, picnicking, photography, geocaching, cross-country skiing, archeology, snowshoeing, dog walking.
· NO wheeled vehicles (trucks, ATVs, dirt bikes, and mountain bikes).
· Please do not disturb plants, animals, or cultural features.
· No camping or fires permitted.
· Carry in, Carry out all trash
Parking for a few cars is provided on Adams Rd. in front of the gate. A kiosk is located a few hundred yards down the road into the property, where the forest opens up to fields. Trail maps are available in a receptacle on the outside of the “Gould House”.
NOTE: The Forest Society does not plow or guarantee access to this property or its parking areas during the winter.
Year of acquisition: 1998, 2008
Monson Village was one of New Hampshire’s first inland towns settled by Europeans. In 1735 six settlers from Massachusetts and Canada purchased the land, which was then part of Massachusetts. In 1737 they moved there with their families, cleared the land, and built a tight cluster of residential dwellings. For a few years, the town thrived under the leadership of such people as Thomas Nevins, a sergeant in the French and Indian War who lost three sons in the Revolutionary War; Joshua Bailey, whose 11 children narrowly escaped a fire that destroyed their home; Dr. John Brown, a prominent physician whose fancy chaise carriage was the talk of New England; and Russ Dickerman’s great-great-great-grandfather, Richard Clarke.
In 1741 the borders of New Hampshire and Massachusetts were adjusted, and Monson Village became part of New Hampshire. The settlers farmed the land, traded commodities grown there, and continued to live on the land until the village was disbanded in 1770 and absorbed into the surrounding towns.
It remains unclear today what led to the abandonment of this settlement. Historians and archeologists continue to study Monson Village to decipher this remaining puzzle. Some think it may have been the result of tensions with Native Americans. Some believe the harsh living conditions simply got the best of residents. Some believe that political discord was the culprit. The puzzle remains, as do the original roads, stonewalls, and cellar holes.
Circumstances of acquisition:
Monson remained undisturbed for more than 220 years. In 1998 it was threatened by a 28-lot subdivision that would have destroyed its natural and historic beauty. A successful grass roots campaign to save this property was initiated by local residents who enlisted the help of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the State Division of Historical Resources, and Inherit New Hampshire. The property was purchased by the Forest Society in 1998. Russ and Geri Dickerman donated 125 acres of their own land to add to the Monson Reservation and cared for the Monson Center reservation ever since; Geri passed away in 2008.
In 2008 the Town of Milford required the developer of a nearby subdivision to configure the open space to abut the Monson reservation and donate those 47 acres to the Forest Society.
The land and its historical heritage are now protected forever, thanks to the generosity of Russ and Geri Dickerman and hundreds of “Friends of Monson”. With Russ’ ever-vigilant help, the Forest Society oversees the stewardship of its rolling fields, beautiful forests, walking trails, and historical artifacts in perpetuity.
N 42° 47' 6.00", W 71° 37' 26.40"
Since 1901, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests has worked to establish permanent conservation areas and promote the wise stewardship of private lands. Supported by 10,000 families and businesses, the Forest Society is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization. For more information, visit our main web page at www.forestsociety.org.