Open Space Committee, Town of Peterborough, New Hampshire

Shieling State Forest

Trails at Shieling Forest cross Dunbar Brook twice, passing by huge glacial boulders, a wildflower garden maintained by the Peterborough Garden Club, remnants of the Hadley brickyard and a granite quarry. A barn on the property has been renovated for use as a meeting/conference venue, available to conservation groups at no charge.

"Shieling," a Scottish word for "Shelter," is the name Bill and Elizabeth Yates McGreal gave their farm on Old Street Road after moving to Peterborough in 1941.  Elizabeth wrote many books, including the Newberry Medal-winning Amos Fortune, Free Man, about the man who bought his freedom from slavery and lived out his days in Jaffrey.  The Lighted Heart tells of the McGreals' life here in their adopted homeland.

Elizabeth gave the farm and its 48 acres to the state, along with an endowment for educational programs in forestry and conservation.  Those 48 acres are rich in history – geologic, natural, and human.

Remnants from the Hadley brickyard lie along the stream-bed, rejects perhaps from the Unitarian Church or from the old Middle Hancock Road scholhouse that now resides next to the Monadnock Center for History and Culture.  The Ridge Trail leads to a granite ledge where drill holes and squared edges give evidence of a former quarry.  A bridge across Dunbar Brook leads to a wildflower garden tended with care by the Peterborough Garden Club.