Geography of Cheshire County, New Hampshire

Geography of Cheshire County, New Hampshire

Cheshire County, located in the southwestern part of New Hampshire, is a region characterized by its diverse geography, scenic beauty, and rich cultural heritage. From the rolling hills and fertile valleys to the winding rivers and pristine lakes, Cheshire County offers a landscape that is both picturesque and varied.

Topography and Landforms:

According to Philosophynearby, Cheshire County covers an area of approximately 729 square miles and is situated within the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire. The county’s topography is characterized by its rolling hills, wooded forests, and fertile valleys.

The eastern part of Cheshire County is part of the Monadnock Plateau, which is characterized by its gently rolling hills and scattered lakes and ponds. The plateau is home to Mount Monadnock, one of the most prominent peaks in New Hampshire and a popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.

In addition to the Monadnock Plateau, Cheshire County is also home to several river valleys, including the Connecticut River Valley to the west and the Ashuelot River Valley to the east. These river valleys are characterized by their fertile soils and agricultural landscapes, providing habitat for a variety of plant and animal species.


Cheshire County experiences a humid continental climate, characterized by warm, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. The climate is influenced by its location in the northeastern United States, as well as its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Appalachian Mountains.

Summers in Cheshire County are typically warm and humid, with average temperatures ranging from the upper 70s to low 80s Fahrenheit. High humidity levels can make the summer months feel even hotter, with occasional afternoon thunderstorms providing relief from the heat.

Winters in Cheshire County are cold and snowy, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-20s to low 30s Fahrenheit. Snowfall is common during the winter months, with occasional winter storms bringing significant accumulations of snow and ice to the region.

Spring and fall in Cheshire County are characterized by mild temperatures and changing foliage, as the landscape comes alive with blooming flowers and vibrant colors. These seasons are popular for outdoor activities such as hiking, leaf peeping, and apple picking, as residents and visitors alike take advantage of the pleasant weather and natural beauty of the region.

Rivers and Waterways:

Cheshire County is intersected by several rivers and waterways, which play a vital role in shaping the county’s landscape and providing essential resources for agriculture, industry, and recreation. The most significant river in the county is the Connecticut River, which forms the western boundary of Cheshire County.

The Connecticut River and its tributaries, including the Ashuelot River, the Cold River, and the Great Brook, provide important habitat for fish, wildlife, and aquatic plants, as well as opportunities for recreational activities such as fishing, boating, and kayaking.

In addition to the Connecticut River, Cheshire County is also home to several smaller rivers and streams, such as the Millers River, the Contoocook River, and the South Branch Ashuelot River, which drain into larger water bodies and contribute to the county’s overall hydrological network.

Lakes and Reservoirs:

While Cheshire County is not known for its large natural lakes, it is home to several reservoirs and man-made lakes, which provide water storage, flood control, and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. One of the largest reservoirs in the county is Otter Brook Lake, located near the town of Keene.

Otter Brook Lake, covering approximately 167 acres, offers a variety of recreational activities, including boating, fishing, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. The reservoir is surrounded by wooded hillsides and provides habitat for a variety of fish species, including bass, trout, and pickerel.

In addition to Otter Brook Lake, Cheshire County is home to smaller lakes and ponds, such as Spofford Lake, Wilson Pond, and Goose Pond, which provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and wildlife observation.

Vegetation and Wildlife:

The diverse geography and favorable climate of Cheshire County support a rich array of vegetation and wildlife. The county’s natural habitats include forests, wetlands, grasslands, and riparian zones, each providing essential habitat for a wide variety of plant and animal species.

Forests in Cheshire County are dominated by species such as oak, maple, pine, and birch, which provide food and shelter for wildlife species such as white-tailed deer, black bears, and various species of birds. Wetlands and marshes are home to waterfowl, wading birds, and amphibians, while grasslands support populations of grassland birds and pollinators.

The waterways of Cheshire County support a variety of fish species, including bass, trout, and perch, as well as other aquatic species such as turtles, frogs, and crayfish. Additionally, the reservoirs and lakes provide important habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife species, making them popular destinations for birdwatching and nature observation.


The geography of Cheshire County, New Hampshire, is characterized by its diverse topography, scenic beauty, and rich natural resources. From the rolling hills and fertile valleys to the meandering rivers and pristine lakes, the county’s landscape offers a unique blend of outdoor adventure and rural charm. Whether exploring the trails of Mount Monadnock, paddling along the Connecticut River, or enjoying a picnic at Otter Brook Lake, Cheshire County invites visitors to experience the wonders of southwestern New Hampshire in all their natural splendor.