Difficulty: Easy-moderate. The 1.7-mile Hundred Acre Wood Trail is well-maintained and marked. The trail changes in elevation slightly and includes some challenges, including rocky areas, exposed roots and bog bridges.
How to get there: From the town of Blue Hill, drive south on Route 15-Route 176. Across from Beech Hill Road, turn left onto South Street-Route 175-Route 172. Drive 6 miles. Turn left onto Hales Hill Road. Drive 0.7 mile to a four-way intersection. Drive straight through the intersection onto High Street. About 500 feet from the intersection, the trailhead to Hundred Acre Wood will be on the left. Park on the side of the road, out of the way of traffic. Blue Hill Heritage Trust plans to build a parking area for the trailhead.
Information: Hundred Acre Wood Trail is located on a 113-acre parcel of land in north Brooklin, donated to the Blue Hill Heritage Trust in 2012 by Stephen Winthrop and his wife M. Jane Williamson. The couple wished “to conserve its natural character and share a place to walk in the woods,” according to the sign at the trailhead.
The 1.7-mile loop trail was designed and constructed during the summer of 2013 with the help of consultant Cathy Rees, trail manager Ken Burgess, the trust’s volunteer crew and the Brooklin Youth Corps. It officially opened to the public on Sept. 14, 2013, after a traditional ribbon cutting. Marked with blue blazes, the trail travels close to the edge of the property and passes through a wide variety of habitats.
“I would classify the trail as easy to moderate,” said Burgess. “The inclines are gradual, and there are 17 8-foot bog bridges to traverse the areas that are sometimes wet.”
The trail would also be suitable for advanced trail runners and snowshoers.
Winthrop, Williamson and their two daughters named the property “Hundred Acre Wood” after the fictional home of Winnie-the-Pooh, a popular children’s book character created by English author A. A. Milne in the 1920s and later revived by Disney.
Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood is a magical place, home to a forlorn donkey, a bashful piglet and a friendly tiger. You won’t find any of these fantastical creatures in Brooklin’s Hundred Acre Wood, but you may stumble across resident Maine wildlife such as hares, porcupines, squirrels, deer and birds as you walk through a variety of forests, blueberry grounds and small wetland areas. The first map of the trail, available through the BHHT website, includes two natural highlights: a white cedar forest and a glacial erratic.
BHHT plans to construct a small parking area, but for the time being, trail users are asked to park along the side of the road, well out of the way of traffic.
At the trailhead, BHHT has posted a tick warning, a map and the following public use guidelines: carry out all trash; stay on established trails; trails are for foot traffic only; keep dogs on leash; day use only; use caution in areas of slippery or loose rocks and icy areas; camping and fires are not permitted unless explicitly authorized; hunting by permission only — contact the BHHT; in the event of an emergency, call 911; and if the trail needs attention or to report unusual activity, call BHHT at 374-5118.
BHHT — a nationally accredited nonprofit, membership-based land conservation organization founded in 1985 — currently owns or holds conservation easements on 6,293 acres of land throughout the Blue Hill peninsula, including 18 miles of hiking trails.
For information, visit bluehillheritagetrust.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the BHHT office, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, in the William Carleton House at 258 Mountain Road in Blue Hill.
Personal note: Hundred Acre Wood is where I first saw a porcupine in the wild. Unfortunately, my dog Oreo was with me, so the event was more disruptive than I would have liked. But let’s rewind for a moment.
Ever since I learned that porcupines spend much of their time climbing trees to eat bark, I’ve wanted to witness the act. I’ve lived in Maine my entire life, but the only time I had ever seen a porcupine is as roadkill or in captivity (at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray). Of course, on my many hiking trips, I’ve seen plenty of evidence of porcupines — teeth marks on trunks of birch and maple trees, as well as the massive piles of poop they leave at the bottom of the trees in which they sleep.
So, it’s a bit of an understatement when I say that I was excited when I saw the spiky critter scaling a tree in Hundred Acre Wood on Sept. 14, the day the trail officially opened to the public. My dog Oreo didn’t feel the same as I did about the porcupine. Afraid that he’d rush it, I secured his leash around a nearby tree, then approached the porcupine’s tree to quickly take photos and video before continuing on the hike. I normally would have sat quietly and watched longer, but I figured Oreo’s whimpering and yipping was causing the wild animal unnecessary stress.
My overall impression of Hundred Acre Wood is that it seemed a lot bigger than 113 acres, probably because of the many changes in the landscape as we walked the 1.7-mile loop. One moment we’d be walking through a cedar stand, and the next, we’d be in a sea of ferns, then following cairns through a clearing of bedrock, moss and blueberries. Needless to say, it was an enjoyable experience.