Newcastle Inn

La Verna Preserve Features Thick Forest, Rocky Beach

Few areas in Maine can provide a snapshot of Maine’s natural beauty and geologic history like the La Verna Preserve.

The 120-acre preserve is just one of many outdoors places to visit during a stay at Newcastle Inn. The preserve has 2.5 miles of walking trails that take visitors through thick forest, across overgrown farmland and along a 3,600-foot shoreline that ranges from rocky to sandy. The northern portion of the preserve is thickly wooded with red oak, white birch, red and white spruce, and white pine as the dominant species. The southern portion is populated by dense stands of white and red spruce approximately 60 to 100 years old.

The center of the preserve, however, reflects more of the land’s human history. Stone walls, cellar holes, and stone piles bear witness to early settlers. Abandoned long ago, the land is filling in with high bush blueberry, red raspberry, white pine, sweet fern, bracken fern, and huckleberry. The shoreline ranges from the steeply sloping ledges near the southern tip of Brown’s Head to the beach at Leighton’s Cove. The most abundant type of rock along the shore of the preserve is metamorphic rock, formed by heat and pressure at some time in its history. Most of the rocks here are thinly layered, with the layers tilted in various directions. The coastal bedrock also contains igneous rock, which was formed when molten rock cooled and hardened.

The Pemaquid Watershed Association accepted the formal transfer from The Nature Conservancy of the preserve in the village of Chamberlain in Bristol, Maine, in 2009. The entrance to the preserve is along Route 32, about 12 miles south of the Newcastle Inn. We can help with directions.

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