Clay Hill Memorial Forest
Clay Hill Memorial Forest is full of history, education and serene interpretive hiking trails!
Clay Hill Memorial Forest was once part of Clay Hill Farm which was home for many servants whose labors enabled the farm to grow from 300 to more than 4,000 acres in the early 1800’s. During the Civil War it was at times used as refuge for John Hunt Morgan.
It is is now a regional center for environmental education and research dedicated to helping people find comfort in nature. The Center, managed by Campbellsville University, brings excellence in science education to the people of the Commonwealth through an amazing array of displays: an alternative energy building, a center for sight-impaired children, a “living wall”, a waste-water purification wetland circuit, a slave cabin & cemetery, a natural cob bench, a pond observation deck & boardwalk, and five miles of trails that are a bird watchers delight.
Clay Hill Memorial Forest consists of about 158 acres. Oak and hickory dominate on the drier upland sites. American beech and maple dominate on wetter sites. The forest is accessible by 5-miles of trails that vary in grade from gentle to difficult and in length from 1-3 miles.
Facilities include a small arboretum with identified trees and a trail that teaches students about ecological succession. There are several springs, two small streams and an old pond with an observation pier. In addition to forests, there is a tall grass prairie, prairie wildflowers and a walnut tree plantation.
The Joan White Howell Environmental Education Center and pavilion are our main teaching facilities. The Center is a fully equipped classroom/laboratory suitable for about 25 students. The center houses a 250-gallon aquarium, a tropical butterfly display, modern classroom equipment including computers, high speed internet, a full array of field equipment, and a greenhouse. The pavilion is of shelter house design and is large enough to seat 100 students. Both the pavilion and center are served by a constructed wetland wastewater treatment facility. Also we have two small amphitheaters that seat 75 students and a gazebo with plaques describing to history of Clay Hill Farm.
The Kentucky Utilities Alternative Energy Facility demonstrates solar and wind energy. This is a hands-on facility where children can learn how electricity is made from renewable and nonrenewable energy sources. Solar energy provides the electricity for our James Sanders White Lumber Drying Kiln and for our lighting our maintenance building.
Our newest structure is the Ken Weddle Center for Sight Impaired Children. This center features hands on exhibits and a sculptured bench, made of clay, sand, and straw where students can see with their hands.
To schedule a field trip to Clay Hill visit their website and fill out the form.
Clay Hill Memorial Forest Trails
The Clay Hill Memorial Forest has 4 hiking trails offering almost 6 miles of trails. All trails are color coded and well marked with interpretive signage along the route. Clay Hill Memorial Forest is approximately 8 miles from the city of Campbellsville.
The Little Angel Spring at Clay Hill Memorial Forest trail is 1.4 miles in length; its signs are green. It leads through a mature beech maple wood where you can see some of the largest trees at Clay Hill. To get to the spring you have to descend about 100 feet along a trail that has steps and a handrail. At the spring there is a small observation deck, a marble statue of an angel and a plaque memorializing Joan White Howell. The spring is home to a unique group of insects, some of which do not occur anywhere else in Kentucky. This spring contains some of the highest quality water in the Upper Green River.