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Cobb Town  Forest

Strafford’s largest town-owned property is 108 acres of contiguous forest on Hemenway Road. Approximately equal portions lie on opposite sides of the road. In 1962 it was gifted to the town by Gardner Cobb.  The property has been logged several times by the town.

Most recently in 1999, a large portion was clear cut having been damaged by a severe ice storm. It has recovered considerably since.

The Strafford Conservation Commission manages the forest on behalf of the Town. To allow the public access, several trails have been cleared on the northwest portion of the property. The Fen Trail is about a mile long and provides access to an unusual fen via a boardwalk. This has become a significant attraction for local residents and for surrounding towns due to its prolific showy lady slipper blooms in late June.

A second trail climbs Cobb Hill.  After half a mile climb and descent, it reconnects with the Fen Trail. Both trails are marked with yellow tape or paint. There is parking at the trail head across the road for several cars.

On the east side of Hemenway Road leaving from the parking area is the East Loop. This trail is a .8 mile loop circling more wetlands. It hosts a different community of plant life including 5 different orchids.  Numerous board walks protect their habitats.  The main attractions are the carpets of Marsh Marigolds, the yellow lady’s’ slippers , the moccasin flowers, rattle snake orchids and spotted choral root.  Look also for an area of exceedingly tall straight white pine with round leaf pyrola and beaked hazelnut below. The trail crosses several small streams and is often wet. In late May there are usually over 50 yellow Lady’s’ Slippers in a colony about half way around the loop. Other interesting flora include leather wood (Dirca palustris) and Lung lichen (Lobaria pulmonaria).

All of this property is open to hiking, camping, hunting, biking and all forms of foot traffic. We do discourage vehicular and horse traffic.

The property boasts a variety of habitats which in turn support a wide variety of flora and fauna. There are bear, moose and deer feeding areas along with many unusual plants including sun dew, showy lady slippers, purple fringed orchids, bog candles, lady's tresses, lungwort, turtle heads and moccasin flowers.

A photo album of flowers from the Cobb Town Forest can be found at this link.

Additional information on the Cobb Town forest and the town trail system can be found here.

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