Close your eyes and listen to this audio from two days ago on the Simpson Farm in the morning.
by David Miller
Loveland, Ohio– The Simpson Farm is a 40-acre Conservation District in the heart of the West Loveland Historic District. The easiest way to locate it is through the entrance directly across the street from Kiwanis Park on Wall Street. Look for the large rock with the plaque honoring former Mayor and resident of the neighborhood, Cecil “Butch” Dale Bauer.
There is, of course, plenty of parking at Kiwanis, plus a small playset, basketball hoops, a ballfield for baseball or kicking a soccer ball.
If you park in Kiwanis Park be sure to look around for the buzzards perched in the trees in the mornings and evenings. This has in recent years become their annual gathering place. You will probably also see them perched and sunning in the trees in the morning as you enter the Farm.
But the Simpson Farm is the gem of this part of town. Most of the Farm is virtually untouched with large Ohio native trees and fauna. There is a trail that was illegally built through the farm, but we recommend getting off that trail to discover all it has to offer. There is abundant wildlife and following a deer path is the best way to explore, making your way to Phillips Park on Rich Road.
Have the children bring binoculars, magnifying glasses, cameras, and tree and bird books. It is an extraordinary place to spot birds, spring growth, and you might be amazed at their fossil finds. If you don’t have trail-books to help you identify birds, trees, and insect species you can use an app on your phone.
Speaking of phones, if you have the capability to identify GPS locations, and if you go during rain or after and discover the beautiful seasonal waterfall you can send us the geolocation and a photo so we can share it with our readers.
There are eighty-foot ravines with grand vistas looking toward Historic Downtown.
Keihoffer Run Creek runs through the Farm. This creek is the one people are familiar with because the headwaters are the creek running through Symmes Park and runs below the stone-walled bridge on Wall Street. The Farm has a total of 5 small streams cascading down the steep ravines from Phillips Park and the Fallis and Rich Road area that empty into the Little Miami, a State and National Scenic and Wild River.
If you go, the children could also take a trash bag with them to collect any litter they find along the way.
If you go early morning and follow deer paths you are likely to find matted grassy areas still warm from the deer bedding down the night before.
This wildlife abundant forty acres is as diverse in habitat as found anywhere in the Loveland area, with forested hillsides and many acres of bottom flood plain. This important flood plain has many of the plants and soil characteristics of a wetland and is vitally important in tempering the flow of rainfall from the developed land surrounding the Loveland High School and adjacent subdivisions. The floodplain collects and pools the rain in a natural detention basin, either slowly releasing the rain into the underlying aquifer or slowing its flow into the flood-prone Little Miami River. Despite all the development above the Simpson Farm watershed, the flow into the lower end of Keihoffer Run has not increased dramatically over the years. The flood plain grasses and plants also filter out contaminants and pollutants before they can enter the Little Miami River which has National and State Scenic River designation.
The view from atop the Simpson Farm looking east over the Little Miami River valley into Clermont County on a foggy morning is a breathtaking vista, reminiscent of the Smoky Mountains.
The protective Conservation District covenant, recorded on the deed of the Simpson Farm, is unique to the State of Ohio and perhaps the nation in that it permanently protects publicly owned land and vests the future of the parkland only at the ballot box, by future voters.
If there is a park around that truly belongs to the residents it is the Simpson Farm. Residents spent two years and more than $20,000 saving the land from the bulldozers and a proposed condo project. They circulated initiative petitions twice putting measures on the ballot and each time the vote was 65% in favor of protecting it in perpetuity.
The most amazing way to enjoy your adventure is to “get off that man-made” trail and blaze your own. Your children will discover the best way around a large fallen tree – over or under or going till they reach the end. They will discover that if they just follow one of the streams they will eventually find a dry way to get to the other side either by finding the nature-laid rocks mid-stream or the fallen tree nature built for you as your own bridge. They will discover that sometimes the hill is very steep and teach themselves to dig in sideways one step at a time. Off the path, they might sit under a large tree and discover the snowflake-like experience of a downy woodpecker’s shavings falling around them. They will discover things they cannot in a book, on TV or tablet or phone, or in an indoor classroom.
The Simpson Farm is the gem of this Staycation resort of Southwest Ohio.