Article originally published in September 2020 by Willistown Conservation Trust.
The final conservation chapter to the 15-acre Stonehedge Farm at Plumsock and Goshen Roads in Willistown has finally concluded. The land is now protected from additional development forever.
Many a trail rider or foxhunter is familiar with the fieldstone jump at the southeast corner of Plumsock and Goshen Roads that marks the equestrian entrance to Stonehedge Farm. It is a prominent landmark leading to the well-traveled trail that runs along the western border of the farm, parallel to Plumsock Road. Surrounded on all sides by conserved land, Stonehedge has long been considered a critical unprotected property in the Trust’s focal area.
Much remains unchanged since the late 1700s in this particular corner of Willistown. Part of the original Okehocking Indian Land Grant, a 500-acre parcel of land given by William Penn to the Okehocking tribe, the first roads in Willistown were primarily Indian trails. As more people began to expand into Willistown, new cart paths were needed, and Goshen Road was laid out as the main thoroughfare between Philadelphia and Willistown. In 1929 Radnor Hunt moved to Willistown, bringing along Philadelphians desiring country estates. Stonehedge Farm and the surrounding protected land has long been an important route during fox hunts.
Nearly 100 years later, Stonehedge Farm was put on the real estate market, and slated for subdivision and redevelopment. Thanks to the Trust’s partner conservation organization non-profit Delchester Group and its group of dedicated investors, the farm was purchased and marketed specifically to conservation buyers. The Stonehedge acquisition is the 16th community conservation partnership resulting in nearly 2,000 acres of land protected in this way.
In August 2020 new owners purchased the property and donated an official conservation easement to Willistown Conservation Trust, forever protecting these 15 acres from future development. It was a love of open space and animals that prompted the family to consider moving outside of Philadelphia and into Willistown. When they found S Farm, it checked off many items on their wish list – access to nature, proximity to the city, a quiet country road, a body of water, and most importantly, surrounded by conserved open space. The family is very involved in farm animal rescue, and plan to build a small barn open to rescue “guests” as they wait for permanent homes. Further, the property’s proximity to Rushton Woods Preserve is a perfect place for their son, an avid birder, to spend his time.
The farm enjoys diverse habitat types with open meadow, undisturbed hedgerows, a patch of woodland, a small freshwater pond, and a small tributary to the Ridley Creek known as Hibberd Run. These natural resources will be forever protected, conserving critical habitat for our native wild and plant life. Additionally, the 1.5 miles of equestrian trails, connecting to a larger network of neighboring trails, will continue to allow access to both recreational riders as well as foxhunters. Thank you to the generosity of Stonehedge Farm’s new owners, and welcome to our community of conservationists!