LONDONDERRY — These woods were his, and the town made it official years ago by naming them in his honor.
The life of longtime town sexton and forest caretaker Kent Allen, who passed away last month, was celebrated recently with a service of life and honor in the Kent Allen Forest. Named for Allen in 2017, the woods are a part of the man's legacy in the community and a symbol of what he cared deeply about.
Guests at the service were asked to wear Allen's familiar jeans and flannel shirt outfit, as they gathered amid the trees to honor his life.
According to his obituary, Allen's credo was “deeds, not words,” and he lived that belief daily.
Allen was a landscaper for over 55 years, maintaining commercial and residential properties in town. He had recently retired after caring for the community's cemeteries and forest land.
Allen's vision for the forest began after he approached the town about doing a project to make the land more usable for residents to enjoy.
That included clearing out brush, fallen trees, weeds and other materials to create clean paths and trails throughout the woods.
Allen also spearheaded an effort through a past warrant article to have the forest put under the management of the town manager.
"It's been a lot of work, but it's been a lot of fun," Allen once said. "And I've met a lot of nice people."
The forest's cleared paths and plantings make up about 12 acres near the Town Common at Pillsbury and Mammoth roads. The land was deeded to the town by the Mack family in 1984.
Rustic stone walls border the property and lines of flowering apple trees can be seen through the tall trees, as well as nearby historic sites including the Londonderry Presbyterian Church, Grange Hall and Lions Hall.
Calling Allen "the heart and soul" of the town forest, the town will now continue Allen's mission to care for the woods and seeks volunteers to serve on a new Kent Allen Forest Committee. The ad hoc group would work to continue the ongoing maintenance and beautification of the town forest.
Anyone interested in serving on this committee can contact Kirby Brown for information and a form at 603-432-1100, ext. 120 or email to email@example.com.