One hundred years ago, most of southwestern Connecticut was an open field.
However, over that time, it has largely become suburban and developed. Open fields were replaced by houses and wooded areas.
From a news release from Aspectuck Land Trust:
Aspetuck Land Trust is pleased to announce that its newly acquired 34-acre Randall’s Farm Nature Preserve, a scenic expanse of meadows, small ponds, forested wetlands and hardwood forest is open to the public and available for hiking and nature study.
Once a working dairy farm operated by the Randall family, the property was acquired by Mrs. Henry B. duPont III, of Southport in 1983. The land, including two leased residences also on Sport Hill Road (Route 59), was donated to the Aspetuck Land Trust in late 2011 by Mrs.duPont.
“Thanks to a very generous gift from Joan duPont, this beautiful reminder of our farm heritage will always be protected from development. In concert with our organization’s open space conservation mission and regulations, a network of trails is now available to the public to walk across and enjoy forever,” said Princie Falkenhagen of Easton, President of Aspetuck Land Trust.
Before the housing development boom that continues to put pressure on open space vistas, Easton was once dominated by forest and farms. In colonial times, a “long lot” system of land division by local government leaders deeded large parcels of land at a very attractive price to earlier settlers. The goal was to encourage settlers to move inland from increasingly populous coastal Fairfield and clear the land for agriculture in the more remote, unsettled interior. The land division of 1671 created two special sections in northern Fairfield that would eventually become Weston and Easton.
“I grew up in this area,” said Mrs. duPont, “and I have long enjoyed the beauty and serenity of farmland that is now becoming scarce. I am very pleased to be part of establishing a nature preserve like this which future generations can enjoy.”
Aspetuck Land Trust maintains 44 trailed nature preserves on more than 1,700 acres in Easton, Weston, Westport and Fairfield. A recent survey of 645 members and supporters found the five most popular activities at its preserves were (in order of popularity) hiking, dog walking, getting children outdoors, bird watching and photography and painting. In addition to those activities, horseback riding will be permitted at Randall’s Farm Nature Preserve if advance permission is obtained from Aspetuck Land Trust. Signage for the Randall’s Farm Nature Preserve directs the public to a small parking area on the west side of Sport Hill Road roughly midway between Adams Road and Westport Road.
“Tax deductible donations of land over the 46 year history of Aspetuck Land Trust have created a valuable resource for all to enjoy,” said David Brant, Executive Director of Aspetuck Land Trust. “We are always pleased to talk with landowners about whether land they own meet our criteria for open space conservation and the related tax advantages of donation.”
For more on this story, visit: Aspetuck Land Trust opens new nature preserve – The Hour Publishing Company: Stamford.