Clay Brook Forest

July 17, 2020
A beaver pond at Clay Brook forest.

A Walk on the Wild Side — Yet Close to Home

Clay Brook Forest project map
Click for a larger map.

The Clay Brook Forest has been a place for people and wildlife to cross paths since the early days of coastal settlement. Known for a time as "Toppan’s Ox Pasture," this scenic ~32-acre property is located off Old Stage Road in Hampton Falls, with a quarter-mile of frontage along the Taylor River. Its network of four-season trails is already lightly used for hiking, snowshoeing, nature observation and dog walking. Now the Town of Hampton Falls and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests — and you —have the opportunity to assure its permanent protection and public access.

Why is this land so important?

Water: Located just downstream of the Taylor River Headwaters Complex and the 163-acre Hurd Farm Conservation Area, this project will extend the corridor of conserved lands on both sides of the Taylor River to more than a half-mile long. Clay Brook is one of several tributary streams that flow across the property and into the Taylor River.

Wildlife: Nearly 32 acres of woodlands, wetlands and riverfront provides a variety of habitat for abundant wildlife. Otter, fisher, bobcat, fox, beaver, muskrat and mink, as well as barred owl, great blue heron, and even state-threatened red shouldered hawks have been seen on the property.

Clay Brook Forest, walking trail, Hampton Falls, SPNHF
Walking trail through Clay Brook Forest - photo by James Kibler
Recreational Access: Local residents have used this land and its trails for years for walking, snowshoeing, wildlife observation and more.  The property provides the only overland access to the Hampton Falls section of the Hurd Farm trails.  This project will ensure access for future generations.

History and Rural Character: As recorded in Joseph Dow’s History of Hampton, the remnants of the "Upper Dam," used on the Taylor River from 1680-1700, are located on the parcel along with stone wall marks the borders. Tall pines tower over woodland trails that meander from the river to an active beaver pond. Public access to spots like this are part of what makes Hampton Falls the special community it is.

Connectivity: Along with the Hurd Farm and other conservation projects, this land would be part of a 400-acre conservation corridor along the Taylor River.

Climate Change: Forests mitigate climate change, providing oxygen and cooling for the environment. We have the opportunity to protect an important forest for the health and welfare of our community.


Please join us in making this conservation vision a reality!

Otters at Clay Brook Forest rest on a boulder.
Otters at Clay Brook Forest - photo by James Kibler

The Kibler Family stepped forward to purchase this property in August 2019, as the land was on the market and under imminent threat of development. Now, the Forest Society and the Town have the opportunity to permanently protect this land by purchasing a conservation easement from the Kiblers, so that the land will remain undeveloped and open for public pedestrian access into the future. To purchase the easement, cover costs and set aside funds for long-term stewardship, we must raise a total of $730,000. Fortunately, the Town of Hampton Falls generously committed $375,000, and the Kiblers will donate $100,000, leaving a fundraising goal of $255,000. As of July 2020, 77 donors have given over $65,000 — just $190,000 to raise! The Forest Society is applying to state and private grant programs for additional funding — but competition is fierce and we need your support. Please make a gift today and enjoy this land forever!