One of our favorite places to walk or jog when we’re in New Hampshire is the trail that runs along the shore of Willand Pond between Somersworth and Dover. The pond provides municipal drinking water, so no swimming is allowed, but people enjoy fishing, canoeing, and sailing on the 66-acre pond.
Along the one-mile trail there is a picnic area with several tables. Spread out along the sides of the trail there are also fitness stations, such as balance beams, a sit-up bench, posts for support while stretching, and pull-up bars. Where the trail runs through marshy areas, there are low boardwalks, but most of the path is dirt. The boardwalks are made of a synthetic lumber that has a lot of flex, and so are very springy to run across!
Dogs are allowed and are required to be leashed. However, our experience has been that many people disregard the leash laws and enforcement is poor. I do wish people would be responsible enough to keep their pets leashed, but since it is an issue, you should be aware.
On the Somersworth side of the trail is a parking area and a not-very-clean porta-potty. There are no trash cans to be seen, either at the picnic area or either end of the trail. Please pack out your trash! Informational signs tell of the area’s history as a recreation center; the park that was by the pond boasted a dance hall, penny arcade, and bandstand, and was accessible to local factory workers by streetcar. You can even walk into the remnant of a pit where bear cubs were once kept and displayed.
What we like about this trail, in addition to the pull-up bars, is the distance markers every quarter-mile. The unpaved surface is also much easier on the joints than walking on asphalt or a concrete sidewalk! Wild blueberries grow along the sides of the trail and there is plenty of shade.
All in all, despite the lack of trash service and toilets, Willand Pond Trail is a good place to jog or walk and squeeze in a bodyweight workout.