Distant Hills Gardens & Nature Trail
507 March Hill Rd.
Walpole, N.H. 03608
Nature Trail Head – 66 March Hill Road
In the hills above Walpole and Alstead, N.H., sits 58 gorgeously tended acres with winding trails meandering through carefully cultivated gardens, wetlands, bogs, forests, and fields, all designed to inspire children and adults to appreciate the interconnectivity between our natural habitats and wildlife. Welcome to Distant Hills Gardens and Nature Trail, home of Kathy and Michael Nerrie since 1979. What began as a hobby to cultivate their sprawling property with ornamental gardens and showcase its natural features has transformed into an inspirational trail network and natural play land to share with visitors.
The gardens trail network snakes through the property, leading to many different habitats where native plants and wildlife species thrive together. A three-acre milkweed meadow is home to a burgeoning monarch butterfly population. Vernal pools, swamps, forest seeps, and other wetland areas support native ferns, fungi, herbs, and wildflowers and are teaming with many different frog and salamander species. A boardwalk crosses a fascinating floating cranberry bog. Artistic metal sculptures are located throughout the property along the trails adding interest and beauty. In addition, an eight-acre sugar bush produces maple syrup and a small Christmas tree plantation area supplies trees for family and neighbors.
A highlight of the property is a stone circle that was built in 2012 by Michael Nerrie. These large stones are set in alignment with the coordinates of the winter solstice and surround a fire pit and seating.
A newer addition to the property is the Distant Hill Nature Trail, a mile-long network of wheelchair and stroller accessible gravel trails, accessible via a nearby trailhead. Discover a nature play area called White-Rock Woods, an outdoor space made of natural components such as bark, logs, plants, earth, rocks, and trees for kids to interact with.
The property continues to evolve each year. According to the Nerries, the goal is to have visitors to Distant Hill leave with a better understanding of the vital connections between plants, animals, and humans, and how we can use Earth’s resources in a way that strengthens and sustains those connections.
Distant Hill Gardens is only open to the public on select weekends – the first and third Saturday and Sunday of the month in May and June, and the first Saturday and Sunday, July to October 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are also available for private tours and visits by appointment, for special events, and educational workshops. Distant Hill Nature Trail and White-Rock Woods is open daily, year-round, from dawn to dusk.