Watercolor by Claire Dacey.  Click to view more. PLACE
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Town Analyses > Prosper Valley

The Prosper Valley is a basin of farmland, wetlands and forestlands shared by the four towns of Barnard, Bridgewater, Pomfret and Woodstock. Nestled between the Green Mountain foothills to the west and the Connecticut River Valley to the east, water collects from the hills of the Valley in the Gulf Stream, which then flows out into the Ottaquechee River in Woodstock. Rural route 12 crosses through the Valley, a major travel corridor in the Upper Valley region for both people and wildlife.

The Valley is full of stories. Varying topography, soils and plant communities support a diversity of animal life; the beaver and black bear are two species that are familiar sights in the Valley. Likely originally visited by indigenous people traveling along the Ottaquechee River thousands of years ago, the Prosper Valley was more permanently settled in the late 1700’s by European farmers who came north from Connecticut and Massachusetts and labored on hill farms.

Old stone walls and mills are visible on the landscape, and a lush cover of forests are now growing where once there were agricultural lands. Named for the mill town of Prosper, which once thrived at its center, the Valley is an area rich in cultural and natural history, as well as living legacies. These include a handful of dairy farms that are a testament to the working rural landscape, the Appalachian Trail corridor crossing north-south, some of the country’s first ski hills, and residents in the area who can trace their family origins to some of the first town settlers.

Photo by Corrie Miller. The Prosper Valley, taken from Gilbert Hill.

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