On their website New Hanover Township describes itself fittingly as “semi-rural.” With so much residential development in the area over the last 5-10 years it is easy to forget that a huge portion of the township is still undeveloped or farmland. A quick turn off Layfield Road (Route 663 as it changes from N. Charlotte St. once it leaves Pottstown) will remind you of New Hanover’s rural and farming roots. It is here that the three township parks dedicated to natural, open space cover a total of over 50 acres, preserved for public use. They each offer something a little different, but all contribute to both providing people with access to nature and to preserving the quality of life in New Hanover Township.
If you make a right off of 663 onto Little Road (not to be confused with Big Road or route 73) and follow the signs around a few bends, you will find yourself at a little gem of a park known as Pleasant Run Park. The setting is idyllic, with a farm nicely framed between the trees in the distance and a pond that occupies the center of the park. There is a nice, uncovered picnic table and a few benches for just sitting and soaking in the natural scenery. The open area would be a great place to bring the kids and a soccer ball or baseball.
Not too far away, just north of Pleasant Run Park sits another open space park, Deep Creek Park. The township has decided to leave this park in its natural state and only mows it a few times a year. Deep Creek Park would be a great place for an adventurous hiker who likes to really get out and explore nature. There is a picnic table near the entrance so you can grab a bite to eat before or after your walk. The park was recently mowed, so the fall should be a great time to visit.
Situated nearly at the corner of Layfield Road and Swamp Pike is the final open space park in the Township – Layfield Park. After going down a gravel drive, there is room to park at the entrance, which is on Dotterer Road as it comes north from Swamp Pike. Layfield Park has trails lining its 28 acres, so don’t be deterred by the actual trailhead. Look for an opening in the brush, go a few yards up a steep embankment, and when you come down on the other side, the park opens up onto its internal trails.
A trip to New Hanover Township really wouldn’t be complete without a stop at its newest acquisition, Hickory Park. The township bought the property in September of 2009 and has been making improvements ever since, with even more in the works. As the former site of the Hickory Park Campground, this park sits right at the intersection of 663 and 73 as it twists and turns at the Hickory Restaurant. The park boasts several pavilions with electrical hook-up, which can be a great benefit for parties and groups. There is also an entirely new playground to keep the kids busy and entertained. Hickory Park also has a pool with a handicapped accessible wheelchair lift. Seasonal and day passes will be available for the 2011 summer season from the township office.
PLEASANT RUN PARK
Location: 600 Schultz Road, Perkiomenville, PA 18074
Size: 11.5 acres
Suitability: Commune with nature at this simple yet beautiful outdoor space. All ages can enjoy the scenery and open space at Pleasant Run.
Facilities: Picnic table, pond, large open space
Activities and Tips: While Pleasant Run doesn’t have play equipment for the kids, they could enjoy skipping rocks into the pond or exploring the wooded area nearby.
Hours: Dawn until dusk
DEEP CREEK PARK
Location: Deep Creek Rd./Pleasant Run Road, just north of Pleasant Run Park. From the intersection of Route 663 and Deep Creek Road, facing north, turn right onto Deep Creek, then left onto Pleasant Run Road. The park will be on your right, just around the bend.
Size: 12 acres
Suitability: This park is in its natural state and is a great place to hike or just explore.
Facilities: Picnic table near entrance
Activities and Tips: This park is being kept in its natural state, so be ready for adventure when you head for Deep Creek.
Hours: Dawn until dusk
Location: Dotterer Road, east of Layfield Road and south of Swamp Pike
Size: 28 acres
Suitability: This natural park has unpaved trails that run over relatively flat ground
Facilities: unpaved trails
Activities and Tips: Another natural park, Layfield Park is a great place to get back to nature, if you bring your hiking boots
Hours: Dawn till dusk
Location: 2140 Big Road, Gilbertsville, PA 19525, near the intersection of 663
Size: 21 acres
Suitability: This newly acquired park has enough to keep the whole family busy for hours and makes a great place for parties.
Facilities: Covered pavilions with electricity, playground, swimming pool (in season), basketball court, volleyball court, grills and more
Activities and Tips: This park, acquired by the township in late 2009, has a great array of facilities with more in the works. Visit over the winter and check it out and then come back in the summer when the pool is open. Day and season passes will be available from the township offices.
Hours: Dawn until dusk
New Hanover Township
2943 North Charlotte Street
Gilbertsville, PA 19525-9718
Phone: (610) 323-1008
Fax: (610) 323-5173
Hours: Mon-Fri, 8:30am-4:30pm