It took five grants to acquire this 45-acre farm (23 acres of prime soils) in 2015 and then $54,000 in personal donations and a $10,000 tag sale to restore the 1870’s “bank”-style barn, now filled with hay. This former dairy farm links to adjacent open space and farms forming a 350-acre cultural landscape on the west side of Bloomfield.
Hawk Hill Farm is one of the oldest continuously operating farms in Bloomfield, dating back to 1746. Multiple generations of the Kelly family operated the farm from the 1860’s to the 1980’s. The post and beam barn was in poor to failing condition when it was bought in 2015. WLT raised $35,000 to successfully stabilize the structure, added electrical power and rebuilt the large sliding front doors. Challenges for this barn remain to be crumbling and cracked concrete walls along with water infiltration during the spring season.
The farm also includes an easy, one-mile walking loop from the barn on Duncaster Road that connects to trails in the adjacent LaSalette Park with views of the Hartford skyline and Metacomet Range. (See Trail Maps for more info, and follow signs to avoid active farm operations.) Plans call for the trail to become part of the LaSalette Trail, a regional walking trail that will connect Filley Pond Park in the center of town to the New England Scenic Trail in Penwood State Park.
A UCONN Extension case study provides additional information about this unique project.