Farnum Hill Reserve consists of seven miles of trails and is rated 4 -05 or difficult. Trails are on 820 acres where visitors can climb and run along ridges, this area includes very hilly and rocky terrain.
Located 0.9 miles South of U.S. 4, on the East side of Poverty Lane (Old Kings Highway memorial plaque on low bolder) and is also 2 miles South of U.S. 4, on Rolling Ridge Road, at the junction of Maple Hill Road; also 2.4 miles South of Mechanic Street, on the West side of Slayton Hill Road, and at the end of Marie's Way.
Farnum Hill is a north-south trending ridge with three distinct summits. South Peak has the highest elevation, at 1336 feet. Magnificent views are afforded in all directions from numerous points along the ridge.
The terrain varies from gentle slopes to steep ledges. Several small streams flow intermittently from the ridge to lower elevations. The bedrock, which is exposed in many places, is a metamorphic rock called schist. Glacial boulders, mainly granite, are numerous throughout the reserve. These boulders, some the size of cars, were probably carried by glaciers from north of the reserve in the Quarry Hill - Boston Lot area.
Flora & Fauna
During the 1800s and the early part of this century, most of this area was pasture. Old fence lines and stone walls abound. Some old fence boundaries represent abrupt changes in the stages of forest regrowth. Recent tree harvesting has also altered uniform growth patterns. With a few exceptions, most of the reserve is forested by typical upland forest stands of mixed hardwoods and hemlock.
There are pure stands of white pine, red oak and hemlock. The hemlock stands provide deer with winter yarding areas. Native wildflowers such as trout lily, bunchberry, wintergreen, pyrola, Pointed-leaved ticktrefoil, yellow violets and Canadian mayflowers may be found in the reserve.
Wildlife species are diverse and abundant. These include white-tailed deer, bobcat, rabbit, fisher cat, red fox, raccoon, ruffed grouse, woodcock, several kinds of woodpeckers, hawks, barred owls, and many songbird species.
The area around Farnum Hill is rich in early Lebanon History. King's Highway, the first planned colonial road in Lebanon is now a class VI road running along the north boundary of the reserve. Original planners proposed that the first village in Lebanon be built in the north slopes of Farnum Hill. However, early settlers chose other sites for their first villages. The Aspinwall family combined two large lots into one large farm. They resided for 95 years on what was then known as Aspinwall Hill. The farm was sold to Deacon James Perley Farnum in 1852, and he and his on and their families occupied it for an additional 69 years. At that time the hill became known as Farnum Hill.
In 1780 the town meeting house was rebuilt on King's Highway east of the reserve. In 1781 the first town pound was built in this area. A vein of copper ore was discovered on the northeast slope of Farnum Hill and the Mascoma Mining Company was organized in 1892. A shaft, reputedly 75 feet deep, was sunk into bedrock east of the present reserve. However, the ore was probably below commercial grade and the mine was closed.
In recent times, the Dr. W Myric Wood, Jr. family owned much of the land in this area of Lebanon. It was the desire of the Wood family to create a natural reserve with 820 acres of their property. Through a complicated process involving the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, private donations, and a significant contribution by the Wood family, title to the reserve was transferred to the City of Lebanon in 1982. Through the persistence of the Wood family, this beautiful reserve of upland forestland will be enjoyed for generations to come.