Witherle Woods Preserve

Witherle Woods Preserve

  • <p>Modern photograph of  Witherle Woods Preserve-Collection of the Castine Historical Society. Photograph by Gil Tenney</p>
  • <p>Photograph of the carriage roads in woods, c. late-19th century- Collection of the Castine Historical Society</p>
  • <p>Photograph of the Dome-of-the-Rock Hotel near Dice's Head, c. 1900-Collection of the Castine Historical Society</p>
  • <p>Photograph of Witherle Woods Preserve, c. early 20th century-Collection of the Castine Historical Society. Photograph by Baldwin Coolidge</p>
  • Listen to the audio

Today’s peaceful landscape was once the scene of a heated conflict between England and the newly independent United States.

During the American Revolution, New England soldiers attacked British troops and entrenched themselves in these woods during a disastrous conflict with the British known as the 1779 Penobscot Expedition. There is evidence that American leader General Solomon Lovell constructed a redoubt, or temporary fortification. During the War of 1812, the British occupied Castine again and built a blockhouse, batteries, and artillery roads in the woods.

Castine philanthropist George Witherle purchased the land in the 1870s. He laid out four miles of carriage roads and opened the woods as a public park. It was an ideal place for both Castine residents and “rusticators”, visitors who were tired of urban life in crowded Eastern and Midwestern cities, to enjoy the clean air and lovely views.

The Witherle Woods Preserve today encompasses 183 acres owned and managed by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Visitors can enjoy a network of trails on the preserve.

For more information please visit the Maine Coast Heritage website: https://mcht.org/preserves/witherle-woods