(EDITOR'S NOTE: The following edited release was submitted to Sudbury Patch.)
On Dec. 20, 2012, two conservation restrictions were recorded that permanently protect Sudbury’s historic Pantry Brook Farm. At nearly 100 acres, Pantry Brook Farm is the largest undeveloped and unprotected property left in Sudbury, and it possesses remarkable scenic, historical, and ecological features.
This highly visible property, situated on both sides of Concord Road just to the north of Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, evokes the town’s agrarian history. On the west side, the farm’s antique homestead is perched above Concord Road, on rolling meadows among rambling colonial stone walls. To the east lie the farm’s extensive agricultural fields, woodlands, and wetlands, connecting to a large network of protected town, state, and federal lands, rendering the farm’s habitat highly valuable for wildlife.
Sudbury Valley Trustees worked closely with the Wolfe family and the Town of Sudbury to protect Pantry Brook Farm permanently through purchase of the two conservation restrictions (CR’s) - one for each of the two pieces of property that make up the farm.
“At the end of the decade, securing the future of this farm will be regarded as one of our outstanding achievements, said Ron McAdow, executive director of SVT. “Conservationists across the region should be grateful to the Wolfes and to the Town of Sudbury for making it possible to preserve this unique community asset.”
At Sudbury’s May 2012 Annual Town Meeting, voters unanimously approved the appropriation of Community Preservation Act funds to purchase the CR’s. A generous grant from the Sudbury Foundation provided $150,000 toward the purchase price, as well as an additional $25,000 toward a permanent stewardship endowment for the property. Finally, in December 2012, the Town was awarded a $400,000 LAND (Local Areas for Natural Diversity) grant, which will offset some of the Town’s portion of the purchase price.
“Protecting this magnificent farm has been a long time goal of the Town of Sudbury,” said Director of Planning and Community Development Jody Kablack, “and since the adoption of the CPA we have been working with the landowners to ensure its preservation. It is a unique property and its permanent protection will ensure that generations of Sudbury residents will have the opportunity to understand the historical roots of this community.”
Pantry Brook Farm has been in Carole Wolfe’s family since the 1700s. These conservation restrictions allow the Wolfe family to retain ownership of their land, while placing limitations on development, including prohibiting residential development. Because agriculture is one of the values protected by the CR, additional farm structures are permitted. The historic farm buildings are also protected, with allowances for restoration and limited renovation.
The CR will be co-held by the Town and SVT, with SVT responsible for annual monitoring to ensure that the purposes of the CR are being upheld. Public access is permitted on existing trails on the east side of the property, accessible from the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School parking lot. The Wolfe family plans extensive, historically-appropriate renovations to the farmhouse, barns and outbuildings, most of which retain original features. Guided tours of the west side of the farm and buildings will be scheduled periodically by the Town and SVT.
Christa Collins, SVT Director of Land Protection recognizes the efforts of all those involved. “Our deep appreciation goes to the Wolfe family. We also recognize the Town of Sudbury and the Sudbury Foundation for making this important conservation project possible as well as many donors who contributed to SVT to support our work on the project and our work going forward as co-holder of the CR.”
"The Sudbury Foundation was pleased to play in role in this effort to conserve what has not only been a high priority open space parcel for the Town but also one of the most beautiful tracks of land in Sudbury,” said Marilyn Martino, the Foundation’s Executive Director. “With this restriction, the land will remain undeveloped forever."
Check svtweb.org to view the outings calendar for upcoming walks on the property.