Dyer Conservation Area
Kestrel Nature Retreat
The Dyer Conservation Area on River Road in Hadley has a rich history. The 35-acre property was once part of the “Forty Acres’ Farm,” associated with the Porter Phelps Huntington family, who helped settle North Hadley, building their homestead in 1752. The land was once cleared up to the top of Mount Warner to support agriculture on the homestead.
Today, this protected conservation area is uniquely located on the Connecticut River Scenic Byway (Route 47), opposite the Porter Phelps Huntington Museum. The Scenic Byway designation encourages tourism along a roadway that highlights the local iconic landscape. The property is also within walking distance to Mt. Warner Reservation, a 156-acre forested area protected in the 1980s by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation with assistance from Kestrel Land Trust, and now owned and operated as a signature property by The Trustees of Reservations.
The Dyer Conservation Area is a rich mix of field, wetland, and forest habitat. The western quarter of the property is a hayfield, and just to the east of the field, a narrow red maple swamp runs along the base of a forested hillside. Where this swamp crosses the property’s southern boundary there is a small pond with white water-lilies.
A small stream runs through the conservation area, and silvery glade fern is abundant in the rich soil along the stream. There are also many wildflowers throughout, like white baneberry, red trillium, dwarf ginseng, and jack-in-the-pulpit. Canada mayflower is abundant, while trout lilies and pink lady’s slipper bloom here in the early spring. The conservation area also features a forested slope near the stream, with a red oaks and lush hemlocks
In the future, trails will be enhanced or created to provide recreational access to the diversity of natural areas on the property. It will also link into a new regional trail that allows hikers access across private land to connect to the Mt. Warner Reservation trails.
The Nature Conservancy