Valentine Farm Conservation Center, located just outside downtown Bethel is Mahoosuc Land Trust’s gateway property. The 150-acre property is a mosaic of fields, stream and river frontage, and forest. There, you can get information about our other properties, learn about what we do, or stop by the office to get questions answered or just to say hello. Valentine Farm is also the site of our 1.2-mile universally accessible trail, the Habitat For All Pollinator Garden, the self-guided bird trail, and our birding program.
HISTORY OF THE PROPERTY
The Valentine Farm Conservation Center was the site of the Spring Grove Farm established in the mid-1800s.
Long the home of the Valentine family, the farm on the North Road just west of Mayville furnished summer sojourners of the 1880s and 1890s with a quiet retreat that was only a few minutes ride by wagon from the Grand Trunk Railway station. Many of Bethel's visitors found the privacy and rural settings of such farms preferable to the village hotels then available.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPERTY
Valentine Farm consists of 148 acres split between two parcels on either side of the North Road. The 110-acre north parcel is the site of the original homestead. A small cabin and old barn still stand and can be seen from the road. Most of the acreage is forested, including a significant deer wintering area and red pine stands.
The 37.5-acre south parcel consists of two distinct areas: the upper area, which includes a home built in 1980 that houses the MLT office, mixed forest, two hayfields, the Habitat For All garden, and the lower floodplain area—which features a former agriculture field with 600 feet of Androscoggin River shoreland that is being managed as bird habitat, a small stream, and riparian habitat. A steep bank with a stream separates the upper and lower areas.
Enjoy this post by Enock Glidden, MTF Accessibility Ambassador, public speaker, Adaptive athlete and adventurer, on his experiences on the trail at Valentine Farm.
Read the post
THE UNIVERSALLY ACCESSIBLE TRAIL
The 1.2 mile trail was completed in 2018 it has a surface of crushed gravel and consists of East and West Loops. From the parking lot kiosk, the shorter East Loop, goes behind the office and meanders between a field and stream before curving through a mature conifer forest back towards the parking lot. The proximity of the stream and the unobstructed site lines makes for wonderful bird and wildlife watching.
The West Loop, to the right of the kiosk, runs parallel to the center field before dividing to form a loop, much like a lollipop. The loop circles through mature forest and alongside a ravine that often has terrific displays of spring wildflowers. There is a universal picnic table at the point that overlooks an active farm field. The trail also passes by the Habitat For All Pollinator Garden, which is open to the public from May-October. Where the main trail meets the garden, visitors can also take a .5 mile, loop trail around the lower field—an old agricultural field—for a terrific view of the Androscoggin River.