Big Pines and a Big Bog – Two Small Bradford Gems

I was pleased to discover this map put out by the Bradford NH Conservation Commission of trails and public lands.  I knew about Bradford Bog from the state’s biodiversity site in the southwest corner of town and noticed the Bradford Pines Natural Area in the northeast corner.  Visiting both while passing through historic Bradford Center would make for a fun outing.

As I was coming from East Washington, the bog was the first stop.  There’s a boardwalk leading through a forest of Atlantic White Cedar, a tree only found in a few places in New Hampshire.  In just a quarter mile or so you come to an observation deck, where you can look out over the bog to the surrounding hills.DSC08337 DSC08340 DSC08341

A panorama view from the Bradford Bog observation deck

A panorama view from the Bradford Bog observation deck

As there’s little development in this part of town, the views are unobstructed by the doings of mankind.  What a treat!  But looking closer at hand is equally rewarding; up into the White Cedars or down into the Tamarack.  It’s a kid-friendly hike with lots to do and see in a very short distance.

Looking out

Looking ahead

Looking down

Looking down

Looking up

Looking up

Next door is the site of what once was the Bradford Springs Hotel.  Now it’s just some cellar holes and an interpretive sign.

At the site of Bradford's once grand hotel - now just some cellar holes.

At the site of Bradford’s once grand hotel – now just some cellar holes.

To get to the opposite corner of town, you have to drive through the center, and Bradford Center is a real treat.  This is where, optimistically, the first settlers built a church, town hall, school, and the pound in this, the geographical center of town.  But the real town developed elsewhere, leaving these remnants hidden away on the back roads.

An intriguing small cemetery far from everywhere

An intriguing small cemetery far from everywhere

Bradford Center church and old graveyard

Bradford Center church and old graveyard

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The old town pound just next to the school.  Coincidence?

The old town pound just next to the school. Coincidence?

But my destination was the Bradford Pines, which, prior to this point, I knew nothing about.  Turns out these are a few huge white pines, several hundred years old and remnants of the forests that once covered the state before European settlement.  They were so impressive that the timber company that owned them decided to donate them to the state for preservation instead of cutting them down for timber.  I’m lucky and thankful they did.  The biggest pines have lightning rods attached to protect them from storm damage.  It’s an easy walk to see the trees although less interesting than the bog in my opinion.  You’ll also need to watch out for poison ivy if you take kids.  But nonetheless, it’s pretty impressive, even if it’s tough to capture on camera.DSC08390

Just the base of one of the biggest of the Bradford Pines

Just the base of one of the biggest of the Bradford Pines.  I should have put something next to it so you could see the scale of these giants.

Happy travels!

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3 responses to “Big Pines and a Big Bog – Two Small Bradford Gems

    • I really liked it, and I know you will too. I love just seeing hills with no houses as you look around from the observation deck at the end of the trail. When you go, you might want to drive through the “village” of East Washington. It’s so scenic with sheep grazing by an old mill pond, etc. etc. Enjoy your trip.

  1. Pingback: Squam’s Crawford-Ridgepole Trail … or What I Love About New Hampshire | The Park Explorer·

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