Sunday, November 20, 2016

Day 20: Old Farms Preserve

Wildlife and bird sanctuary; woods and meadow on traprock uplift, in southeast Cheshire.

Size: 6.3 acres
Nearest Road: Old Farms Road
Public Access: Yes
Acquisition: December 1998
Donor: Barbara Consolo, James Krieg, and Robert Roth

The Old Farms Preserve was donated to the Cheshire Land Trust by three adjacent landowners on Old Farms Road that wished to see the land preserved rather than developed as housing.  They purchased three undeveloped subdivision lots totaling six acres, and gave the land to CLT in December 1998.
Located in the far southeast corner of Cheshire, Old Farms Preserve is just north of the Old Lane Road / Old Farms Road intersection.  The preserve is bordered to the north and south by residential properties, to the east by Old Farms Road, and to the west by the Town of Cheshire's large (200+/- acre) Dedominicis Property.

A mixture of woods and meadow-like conditions cover the property.  The forested areas contains relatively young and small trees.  This is due to the area having been disturbed by farming and then subsequently for subdivision development, along with shallow and rocky soils that prevent vigorous tree growth.  There are also a few small wet patches.  The western portion of the preserve slopes down sharply towards the Dedominicis Property, where the soils get better and the trees larger.

Mix of forested and meadow habitat - Old Farms Preserve

Running though the center of the preserve is a large powerline.  Eversource Energy's transmission line maintenance program periodically performs tree and shrub cutting to make sure the vegetation does not interfere with the powerlines.  This work also has the effect of maintaining the area as shrub and meadow habitat.  Having this and other small open areas right next to large preserved forested areas is particularly beneficial to many wildlife species such as raptors.  The "interface" between the two areas is called "edge habitat".  If three different habitat types come together, the intersection point is called a "covert".  Coverts are considered quite valuable for a wide range of wildlife diversity.

A sign announcing the Old Farms Preserve was installed by local boy scouts in 2015.  A lightly-marked trail winds from Old Farms Road, along the power lines, and then down the hill, connecting up with trails on the Dedominicis Property.  
Old Farms Preserve is open to the public.  Look for the sign along the west side of Old Farms Road, just north of Old Lane Road.  

Do you live next to or near the Old Farms Preserve or the adjacent Town open space?  Have you ever hike the trails in the area?  Tell us about what you've seen on this land!  Please join the Cheshire Land Trust at to help us protect and maintain this and other great open space properties around Cheshire.  

For more information about the Town of Cheshire's Dedominicis Property, and a trails maps, see the Town of Cheshire Open Space webpage. (Note: CLT is not affiliated with the Town or its open space program.)

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