Bailey Brook Trail

The Nelson Trails Committee sponsored a hike recently with the Harris Center to the Bailey Brook Trail. The hike drew more than 30 people on a clear and cold Saturday, February 11th.  It was led by Rick Church, of our trails committee, and Ben Haubrich, a Harris Center guide. Meade Cadot, senior naturalist at the Harris Center and Martha Pinello, an archaeologist from Monadnock Archaeological Consulting, were along to explain the natural and cultural items of interest.

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Hikers gathered at the Nelson Common and carpooled to Maury Collin’s.  The group walked up and over the hill behind Maury’s house, the area of a new conservation easement and looked across the valley toward Osgood Hill and more land protected by the Harris Center.  The hike followed a logging road back to the Old Stoddard Road where we turned east. Meade Cadot pointed out black bear markings on most of the telephone poles along the road. These are territorial markings.  Most of the poles showed teeth marks and one had bear hair imbedded in the pole itself.

Passing the site of John Sprague’s house (1784) the group entered the woods near the lower waterfall on Bailey Brook and entered the Bailey Brook trail, dedicated to the memory of Carol Raynsford whose home is nearby. The brook’s rocky banks were coated in beautiful ice formations that glittered in the mid-winter sun. The bass roar of water under the ice made music to accompany the occasion.

When we reached the upper falls with the foundations of the saw mill built by Stephen Osborn in the early nineteenth century, Rick Church and Martha Pinello helped the group understand what the old sawmill had looked like and how it operated.  When we reached the house and barn foundations, Martha discussed how to determine what the buildings would have looked like based on the foundations that remain.  It is an extensive set of old foundations with several barns and two wells.

The Tails Committee is working in two areas for further trails:  Cobb Hill on the border with Harrisville and a loop starting across the brook from the Nelson School that should afford walkers with good wetland and bird habitat along the wetland and a few old mill foundations on the brook below Granite Lake.

Anyone wishing to join the fun should contact Rick Church at 847-3206


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