Fork Factory Brook
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Fork Factory Brook Medfield, MA
135 acres

About Fork Factory Brook

Follow a network of trails through wetland, hayfields, and wooded upland to discover views and the foundations of an historic mill.

What makes Fork Factory Brook a special place?
The trails here run over an unexpected diversity of landscapes: wetland, hay fields of the former Long Acre Farm, and wooded hillsides offering views of the surrounding area, and the remains of a 19th-century pitchfork mill. Part of a much larger original farm holding, the fields of Long Acre Farm have been in agriculture for at least 300 years. Throughout the 18th century, it was a classic New England self-sufficient farming operation that pastured livestock, grew crops, and harvested hay.

Trails
1.5 miles of trails. Easy hiking.

When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1 hour, 3 hours if also visiting Rocky Woods.

Facilities
A wide range of visitor facilities are located across the street at Rocky Woods.

Regulations & Advisories

  • In cooperation with the Town of Medfield, authorized bow hunting, only with written permission, is allowed on this reservation for a limited number of hunters, according to MasssWildlife regulations from mid October through December each year, from ½ hour before sunrise all day until ½ hour after sunset Monday through Saturday. Hunting is not allowed on Sundays. Signage is posted at the property listing safety precautions, requirements, and rules for the benefit of all visitors. Learn more about hunting on Trustees reservations >>

  • Mountain biking permitted only on designated trails. Trails are closed to mountain biking March 1 to April 30, during muddy season.

  • Dogs are allowed only through our Green Dogs program.

  • Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times in Rocky Woods parking area.

Directions

Hartford Street
Medfield, MA 02052
Telephone: 508.785.0339
E-mail: charlesrivervalley@ttor.org

Latitude: 42.207000
Longitude: -71.276615

Get directions on Google Maps.

From I-95: From Exit 16B, follow Rt. 109 West for 5.7 mi. through Westwood and into Medfield. Take right hairpin turn onto Hartford St. in Medfield. Follow for 0.6 mi. to Rocky Woods parking on left. Fork Factory Brook entrance is on opposite side of Hartford St. from Rocky Woods.

From Intersection of Rts. 27 & 109 (Medfield): Take Rt. 109 East. Bear left onto Hartford St. and follow for 0.6 mi. 
to Rocky Woods parking area (100 cars). Fork Factory Brook entrance is on opposite side of Hartford St. from Rocky Woods.

Admission

When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1 hour, 3 hours if also visiting Rocky Woods.

Admission
Rocky Woods admission fees apply: Trustees members FREE. Nonmembers: Adult $4; Child (12 and under) FREE.

Property History

Throughout the 18th century, Long Acre Farm was a classic New England self-sufficient farming operation that pastured livestock, grew crops, and harvested hay. It also produced rope from hemp, processed flax and wool, made butter and cheese, and used animal byproducts to make candles and boots.

Next to Long Acre Farm, Joshua Morse operated a grist mill along the Mill Brook at least as early as 1771. In 1838–39, Henry Partridge purchased two mills, one on the south side of Main Street (Rte 109) – a cut-nail mill – and one on the north side – Morse’s grist mill. He modified both to create a factory that gives the reservation its name. Partridge and his brother-in-law Malachi Babcock, a blacksmith, had apparently developed a high-quality steel that they used in a Sherborn factory to produce edge tools such as cranberry rakes, adzes, knives, broadaxes, and possibly plows. They saw the Medfield mills as an opportunity to expand their business into hay and manure pitchforks, shovels, spades, and hoes for area farmers who, at the time, produced more than 1,000 tons of hay annually and looked after hundreds of head of livestock. Partridge's operation prospered for twenty years during which time he built a large cut-granite mill building.

For a brief time after the Civil War, new owners used this mill building for a paper cutting enterprise, but it quickly fell into disuse with the advent of coal-powered industry. When the town decided to widen Main Street in 1927, the mill building was dismantled and the granite reused in the construction of a house on Foundry Street. Much of the mill site now sits under Route 109. All that remains is its broad earthen dam and stone raceway at the southern end of the Reservation.

Property Acquisition History
Original acreage a gift of Pliny Jewell, Jr. and Mrs. Barrett Williams in 1966 in memory of their parents. Additional land purchased in 1978. Additional land given, by bequest, by Joel A. Goldthwait in 1985.

Conservation and Stewardship

Management Planning for Our Properties
 


Since 1891, The Trustees of Reservations have worked to protect special places in Massachusetts and maintain them to the highest standards. To ensure these standards are met, a program of careful planning and sound management is essential. Comprehensive property management plans are created for each reservation and are completely updated approximately every ten years. We often work with volunteers, property users, and members of the community to carry out this planning, which typically involves several steps:
 


  • Describing in detail the site’s natural, scenic, and historical resources; identifying management issues related to the protection of those resources. 

  • Describing how visitors use the property; outlining the opportunities that the property provides for people to become involved in the work of conservation and caring for their community.

  • Developing a detailed list of management recommendations, a work plan, and a description of financial needs for implementing the actions.

  • Developing a prescribed routine management program for the reservation that will guide staff work plans, volunteer involvement, and the allocation of human and financial resources.


View Fork Factory Brook management plan.

Maps and Resources

Printed trail maps are distributed free from bulletin boards in Rocky Woods parking area. Please understand that supplies periodically run out. We recommend that you   download a trail map before your visit.



Planning Your Visit

Before You Go
We encourage you to visit as many Trustees properties as you can.

Wherever your travels take you, please observe all posted regulations, follow special instructions from property staff, and keep in mind the Stewardship Code:

  • Protect wildlife and plants.
  • Guard against all risk of fire.
  • Help keep air and water clean.
  • Carry out what you carry in.
  • Use marked footpaths and bridle paths.
  • Leave livestock, crops, and machinery alone.
  • Respect the privacy of neighboring land.
  • Enjoy and share the landscape with others.

Click on links below for further visitor information:

Before Setting Out

Enjoying Trustees Reservations

Safety

About Hunting on Trustees of Reservations Land

Tell Us What You Think

We’d love to hear about your visit! Here are three easy ways to let us know what you think:

  1. Take our visitor survey. If you have a question for us, you can ask us in the survey and we’ll get back to you.

  2. Post a comment about your visit on our Facebook page.

  3. Share your experiences with other visitors on our website. Simply fill out the form below, and we’ll post your comment right here on this page.





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Announcements & Alerts

Fork Factory Brook is Green Dogs reservation. Learn more >>

Advisory: Authorized bow hunting is allowed on portions of this reservation. See Regulations and Advisories at left for more information.

Upcoming Things To Do
No events for this reservation at this time.
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