Editor's note: Each Sunday throughout the summer, Lancaster Newspapers interns will report on a hiking trail they experienced firsthand.
It's plain to see where Homewood Nature Preserve gets its namesake.
An easy-to-moderately-difficult 0.8- mile trail loop located along Keneagy Hill Road in Paradise Township, it has both steep and rolling hills, with sights that can make hikers feel right at home.
The land, donated by Barbara Dunlap to the Lancaster County Conservancy in 2000, offers views and access to Eshleman Run, a headwaters tributary of Pequea Creek.
The 39-acre preserve is easy to find as it's marked by a big red barn on Keneagy Hill Road.
Lancaster County Conservancy director of stewardship Tom Stahl said hikers can park in a grassy area in front of the barn doors.
"That barn is like a landmark," Stahl said. "I usually tell people to look for the big red barn."
The trail begins next to the barn, going down a small grassy hill toward the woods before winding up a narrow dirt path to a more wooded area.
Be on the lookout for spider webs that have been spun across the trail route. It was discovered the hard way, multiple times, that webs are constructed right around head height.
Long pants or high socks also are a good idea to protect hikers' legs from overgrowth and possible poison ivy plants that are close to the narrow parts of the trail.
The trail eventually opens up to a woodland valley, where hikers can see and hear the sounds of Eshleman Run.
According to the online guide, the stream is named after early settler Jacob Eshelman III. However, maps spell the name of the stream as Eshleman Run.
The guide says Eshleman Run has excellent water quality, and the preserve does permit fishing.
Stahl said native brook trout can be found in the stream.
Continue on up a steeper hill and eventually out to a grassy field that runs parallel to the wooded area, then back out to the road that leads hikers to the barn where the hike began.
Along the way, be on the lookout for more than 115 species of plants, 25 species of birds and 30 other species of animals that inhabit the preserve.
Seasonal floral specialties at the preserve, according to the guide, include field perennial wildflowers in the summer, red maples in the fall and woodland wildflowers in the spring.
The conservancy has managed Homewood to revitalize the property and former crop fields to include native species of plants, trees and meadows.
Stahl said that new native trees were planted on the property about 10 years ago as a part of a reforestation process to grow the wooded areas on the property.
Homewood is open year-round and, like all Lancaster County Conservancy parks, is open dawn to dusk.
The preserve prohibits alcohol, bike riding, hunting, camping and fires. Pets are welcome but must be on a leash.
For more information about Homewood Nature Preserve or other conservancy parks, call Lancaster County Conservancy at 393-7891 or visit lancasterconservancy.org.
Next week: Farmingdale Trails at Noel S. Dorwart Park.