“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another."
Distant Hill Nature Trail is a mile-long wheelchair and stroller accessible gravel trail that winds its way through a hemlock / beech forest. Both Distant Hill Nature
Trail, 'White Rock Woods' Nature Play Area, Distant Hill Geology Trail, and the Story Walk® trail are open to the public daily, free of charge, from dawn to dusk. There is a parking
area just off March Hill Road at the Alstead/Walpole town line. You will find a kiosk there containing a trail map and other information about the trail.
Pets are welcome on leash. Please no horses or wheeled vehicles with the exception of wheelchairs, strollers, or children's wagons. The trail is perfect for power-walking,
running, or jogging. In fact, the Surry Village Charter School
has used Distant Hill Nature Trail on many occasions as a practice venue for its track team!
Distant Hill Nature Trail, Geology Trail, Hiking Trails, Nature Play Area, and Distant Hill Story Walk® Trail are all open to the public daily, year-round, from dawn to dusk.
Parking is available at the trailhead just off the paved road
66 March Hill Road, Alstead, NH 03602
In the fall of 2013, we began building the first accessible nature trail at Distant Hill Gardens. The work was partially funded through the Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership (Q2C), a collaborative effort to conserve the Monadnock Highlands of north-central Massachusetts and western New Hampshire. The grant was applied for and administered through ACCESS, a now defunct Keene, NH, based non-profit helping people with disabilities.
Three days a week for six weeks that fall, a small group of students and teachers from ACCESS helped us start installing the base layer of our first accessible trail. It snaked its way through the woods to one of the many vernal pools on the property.
In the spring of 2014 we received a second Q2C grant and continued with the same ACCESS students to build the rough base trail to a second vernal pool. We worked throughout the summer of
2014 and completed the base for a half-mile long loop trail that connects four vernal pools and a black ash seep.
We were able to finish installing the base layer of gravel for the loop trail in the summer of 2014, thanks to the all-terrain dump tractor our friend, Ellen Jensen, graciously loaned us. ‘Goldie’ sped up the installation of gravel considerably! (‘Goldie’ is Ellen’s nickname for her tractor, made by the Italian company Goldoni.)
In May 2015, we received a third Quabbin-to-Cardigan grant to finish the loop trail with a smooth compacted gravel surface suitable for wheelchairs and strollers. The Cheshire County Conservation District (CCCD) acted as our financial administrator for these grant funds. For this section of the trail we had a middle school student supplied by The Hooper Institute in Walpole NH help with the trail building.
We finished the main loop trail in the fall of 2015 and opened it to the public in the spring of 2016.
Since the opening of the initial half-mile of trail in 2015, we used donations from the many workshops and events at Distant Hill Gardens to add another 900 feet of trail in 2016, and another 1,500 feet in 2017. This brought the total length of Distant Hill Nature Trail to just under one mile.
Thanks to the support of 120 donors through our NH Gives Annual Fundraiser in June of 2021, we were able to purchase the gravel to make the first half-mile of Distant Hill Geology Trail wheelchair and stroller accessible in 2022!
Michael Nerrie, the CEO (Chief Environmental Observer) of Distant Hill Gardens and Nature Trail, and chief builder of the trails, learned the fine points of building accessible trails at a workshop on Sustainable Trail Design in October 2013. It was taught by noted trail builder Peter Jensen of TrailBuilders.com.
Peter and crew designed and built the longest Accessible Trail System in a mountainside environment in the United States at Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield, New Hampshire.
Everyone Can Dream! ...
Additional trails and paths are being made more user friendly every year, but we can not make all the trails fully accessible.
We are hoping to purchase an off-road electric cart for the rougher, undeveloped, and steeper trails. This would enable us to transport visitors who need assistance to all the features of Distant Hill, even those sites that are not connected by accessible trails.
Between Donations, Grants, Crowd-funding and saving our pennies, we hope to slowly fund the 'Trails-for-All' construction and the equipment purchases.
... Our Dream Unexpectedly Came True!
In December 2017 we entered a contest giving away a Club Car Onward four-person electric personal transport vehicle. With the help of hundreds of our Facebook Friends, we won!
October 2018 Update: Since the Club Car Onward was delivered in May 2017, we have used it dozens of times to transport people with mobility limitations on Distant Hill Nature Trail, and on the grass paths throughout Distant Hill Gardens.
Distant Hill was listed as one of the Top 10 Places to Visit in New Hampshire!
Friends of Distant Hill (dba Distant Hill Gardens and Nature Trail) is a nonprofit,
tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.
Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Tax ID# 84-3765898
or send a check via Snail Mail to:
Distant Hill Gardens and Nature Trail, 507 March Hill Road, Walpole, NH 03608