A New Trail Guide — and Better Berry Picking — at Partridge Woods

October 27, 2021   |   Rick Church & Eric Masterson

A New Trail Guide for Partridge Woods

Last year, the Nelson Trails Committee connected Hurd Hill to the Partridge Woods trail network with two new trails. You can now hike to the top of Hurd Hill via the 0.4-mile Hurd Hill Trail, and continue on to Osgood Hill via the 1.5-mile Ridge Trail. An updated trail guide is now available at nelsonincommon.org/trails.

Returning Berries to Hurd Hill

A black-and-white photo of two young men sitting on a boulder in front of a sign that says "City Hill." (photo courtesy of Rick Church)

Sid Partridge and Frank Pearce taking a rest after berry picking on Hurd Hill — also known as City Hill — in the 1930s.
(photo courtesy of Rick Church)

Upon reaching the spot where the Hurd and Ridge Trails meet, hikers will notice an area that has been cleared of trees — an effort by the Nelson Trails Committee to restore wild blueberries to this site.

Residents of Tolman Pond fondly remember picking blueberries on the summit of Hurd Hill as children, when the land was open and a trail led there from their lakeside summer community. Over the years, a few oaks and cherry trees have established themselves. Deprived of sunlight, the blueberry plants survived, but no longer produce berries.

Last year, the Nelson Trails Committee initiated a blueberry restoration project by clearing half an acre on the very top of the hill and transplanting a few blueberry plants from the edge of the clearing to the center for better light. Last year’s transplants survived, and this fall, a volunteer crew transplanted many more bushes from the adjoining woods to the clearing. Make sure to return in coming years for wild blueberry picking!

A Conservation Partnership

A September view of Lake Nubansuit from the Ridge Trail at Partridge Woods. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

A September view of Lake Nubansuit from the new Ridge Trail at Partridge Woods. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

In 2016, the Harris Center and Nelson Conservation Commission partnered to protect the 580-acre Partridge Woods parcel, which includes the highest peaks in Nelson, as well as headwaters for three separate regional watersheds: the Ashuelot River, Nubanusit Brook, and the North Branch of the Contoocook River. This important conservation project was made possible through support from generous donations from Friends of the SuperSanctuary, the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership, and the NH State Conservation Committee (Moose Plate Program).