Town Forest and Heidke Parcel

Brief History

This area was formerly the George Nickles Farm and was bought by the town in 1852 for use as the Town Farm, to house and care for the poor of Carlisle. In 1925, the Town of Carlisle established the 77-acre Town Forest on this site. Since 1994, the Town Forest has been managed by the Carlisle Conservation Commission. This area has hilly hardwood forests, mature red and white pine stands, wetlands, a vernal pool, and old overgrown fields.

An 8-acre parcel of land (the Heidke parcel ) was added along the southeastern border in 1978 for conservation purposes to connect the Town Forest land with Brook Street. This area is almost entirely wetland but could potentially link the Town Forest and the Greenough Land across Brook Street.

Dog Wades in Town Forest Stream

Interesting Features


The Town Forest has several streams. There is a beautiful stream with clear, deep water flowing between well-cut banks in the southern part of the property. The streams are crossed by wooden bridges.

Woods and Wetlands

The Town Forest is a beautiful and peaceful place to walk. The mature forests provide welcome shade in the summer and some beautiful foliage color areas in the fall. As is true of most of Carlisle, there are areas of wetlands on the property, mostly bordering East Street and in several locations along the southern and eastern boundary. A vernal pool has been certified on the Town Forest and it is a recognized habitat for Blandings turtles.

Hiking Trails

Several trails crisscross the Town Forest. Some of the trails are quite wide, as they are old logging roads. The trail from the East St. entrance heads southwest across a wetland, paralleling the northern boundary of the property. Several trails lead south from this trail into the interior of the property and to the south border, allowing for several loop walks. A trail spur leads to the wetlands of the Heidke parcel, where it is soon lost in the swamp.

The trails are popular with the residents for hiking, jogging, cross-country skiing, dog-walking, and bird-watching.

Trail maps are available online on the Trails Committee website and can be purchased in hard copy at Town Hall and at Ferns Country Store.

Getting There

The only public entrance to the Town Forest is on the south side of East Street, about 1.8 miles from the town center. A large wooden sign marks the location of the entrance. There is no parking lot. Please be careful to park off the road and watch for oncoming traffic.

Planning Documents