Hawk Hill Farm

Project Description

It took five grants to acquire this 45-acre farm (23 acres of prime soils) 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.) 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.

July 2019 Update: Just after the fields at Hawk Hill Farm were restored with the help of a Connecticut Department of Agriculture grant, the volunteer stewards observed an influx of Canada Thistle in the fields in the middle tier. It was critical to remove the thistle before it went to seed in order to preserve the restoration. The seed is wind-distributed and the thistle could spread on the Hawk Hill property as well as to agricultural properties on either side of the farm.

The Land Trust Board contracted to have the fields cut before the thistle went to seed. First, a contractor was hired to cut the fields by tractor. Through his careful coordination and communication, stewards were able to identify areas on the farm that needed special attention.

In addition, two hard-working groups of volunteers cut weeds, vines, and thistle from areas inaccessible to the tractor. HighlandArt Farm donated a 1955 John Deere tractor in the hope that in the future volunteers will be able to do any cutting necessary on Land Trust properties to avoid the expense of a contractor.

Related Projects

Beacon Hill Preserve

Evans Family Meadows

Hawk Hill Farm

LaSalette Trail

Lisa Lane Farm

Stout Family Fields

Thrall Farm

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