Take It Outside: UNH Properties Offer Swimming, Biking, Hiking and More
If you’re starting to feel like summer is getting away from you but you can’t manage to get away, you might want to check out the sundry outdoor recreational opportunities UNH has to offer. Let’s start with water activities. For swimming (at your own risk; there aren’t any lifeguards), there’s Mendum’s Pond in Barrington. Located off Hall Road on the Little River, the pristine 200-plus acre setting is a great spot for kayaking and canoeing. Or you can take a hike through the woods, and picnic or sunbath along the lake. There is also a playground. No pets or alcohol allowed.
Once a reservoir for the Newmarket Manufacturing Company, a cotton textile manufacturer founded in 1822, Mendum’s Pond became the property of UNH first in part in 1930 when Arthur W. McDaniel donated a portion of the property to the UNH Women's Athletic Association. He gave the rest of the area to the university in 1970 for $1.
A day pass is $6 for adults; $4 for youth 6-17; benefited faculty and staff, summer students and children five and under get in free with a sticker from Campus Recreation. Visit here for boat rental fees.
Mendum’s Pond recreation area is open Tuesday - Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Aug. 15 and on Labor Day; Sept.1 to Sept. 29, weekends only, noon to 6 p.m.; closed Aug. 16 – Aug. 24. From the Lee Traffic Circle take Rt.4 west toward Concord; turn right onto Hall Road. The entrance is on the left.
If you want to stay on campus, you can take a dip at the outdoor pool next to the Whittemore Center. The 1.8 million gallon pool ranges from beach-shallow to 10 feet deep. Built in 1939 as one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal Works Project Administration, the pool has five swimming areas: salmon, perch, shark, whale, and lap lanes. The minnow area is about 3 feet.
A day pass is $7 (ages 4 to adult). Punch cards are available at $25 for 5 visits; $50 for 10. A ‘dash pass’ for those who want to swim after 5 p.m. is $70 for the season. Visit here for more information.
The pool is open seven days a week from noon to 7 p.m. through Aug. 13 and Aug. 14 to Aug. 27, noon to 6 p.m. Operation times for Aug. 28 through Sept. 3 will be announced.
If you’d rather be hiking or biking or even walking, there are plenty of opportunities in College Woods, at the East and West Foss farms, and the Thompson Farm, all in Durham, and at Kingman Farm in Madbury. Entrances are marked with large trail maps and informational signs.
College Woods is one of the most popular places on campus for hiking, mountain biking (outside of the Natural Area) walking, running, and bird watching. Its 250 acres were preserved in 1893 after the New Hampshire Forestry Commission advised against cutting the timber on benefactor Ben Thompson’s 64-acre woodlot. (The board was looking for a way to increase its liquid assets).
Entrances to the woodlands are located on Mill Road, Main Street below the tennis courts, and behind the field house. A mile-long equal access trail was finished in 2007 making it easier for people who use wheelchairs or other assistive devices to further enjoy the area. In 2011, the main bridge crossing the Oyster River was replaced.
In addition to recreation, College Woods is used for research and instruction, which is why those who venture into the forest are asked to stay on designated trails and not disturb the vegetation. A map of the area can be viewed at https://colsa.unh.edu/woodlands/sites/colsa.unh.edu.woodlands/files/imag....
Kingman Farm, a research facility located on Route 155 about two miles from campus, has an extensive trail system running throughout the 330-plus acres. In the fall, mountain bike races are held on the land to raise money for the UNH ski team. Trails.com says Kingman Farm has an “exceptional local mix of trails” for mountain biking.
UNH acquired the Kingman Farm in 1961. View a map of the property here. Foss Farm was separated into the 164-acre East Foss Farm and 93-acre West Foss Farm in 1841 when Boston and Maine Railroad came through. Both properties were acquired by UNH in 1923. East Foss Farm has three loop trails that can be accessed off Foss Farm Road. One takes you by an old cemetery while another passes a beaver pond.
The West Foss Farm is best accessed off of Mill Road where a trail starts near a stand for pine trees. Follow the railroad tracks to the open field where two small ponds are located. Trails.com gives the Foss farms a 3 out of 5 ranking for mountain biking. Visit the Foss farms for mountain biking, birding, and hiking. View a map here.
Adjacent to Packers Falls Road, the Thompson Farm has agricultural fields, streams, an active beaver swamp, and a small working farm area. The 205-acre property, with its extensive trail system, was given to the university in 1972 by Ina Thompson in exchange for her being able to take firewood and vegetables from the land.
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