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The Weymouth Pines

By Linda Tancs

When Scottish Highlanders settled in the Sandhills region of North Carolina in the 1700s, the vast forest consisted of original growth longleaf pines that reached heights of 100 to 120 feet. It didn’t take long for merchants to extract the trees’ resin for products like tar, pitch, turpentine and rosin for the naval industry. That activity might’ve depleted the longleaf pine were it not for the purchase of a substantial tract of land east of Southern Pines by the grandfather of a well-known local author. He named the tract Weymouth because the pines reminded him of trees in Weymouth, England. That region later established the first natural area in the North Carolina state parks system, Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve. It boasts the oldest known living longleaf pine in the world, dating back to 1548.

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