A former refuge for the community’s poor and infirm, this coastal landscape boasts a centuries-old farmhouse and pastures bracketed by stone walls.
What makes Westport Town Farm a special place?
At Westport Town Farm, livestock again graze on open fields. An antique farmhouse, dairy barn, corn crib, and stone walls dating back to Colonial times complete the picture of this bucolic working farm that served as a “poor farm” and infirmary for more than 100 years.
This unique coastscape offers visitors the chance to enjoy several environments, both natural and the result of human activity. The colonial-era farmstead includes a main house, barn, and a cluster of outbuildings. Extensive stone walls, which testify to the rocky nature of the soil and to the lifelong labors of farmers, roll from the building complex down through pastures and fields. Walls long covered by brush and vines have been uncovered and restored.
The pastures and former croplands roll down to a quarter mile of frontage on the Westport River, which nourishes one of the largest brackish tidal marshes in the state. Look for ospreys and gulls wafting above the river, and wading birds stalking crabs and small fish in the marsh.
Explore what this historic landscape has to offer by taking the easy, 1-mile trail from the barnyard, which follows a charming farm lane along stonewall-lined paddocks. As the trail crosses hillside pastures, it affords an expansive view of the East Branch of the Westport River then skirts the 10-acre hayfield before returning along the farm lane to the barnyard.
In the fall of 2008, The Trustees initiated a Community Gardens project that honors the Town Farm's tradition of helping to feed people in need in Westport and nearby towns. A farm manager will oversee a cadre of volunteers to help grow and harvest the vegetables. With all of the produce donated to those in need, The Trustees hope to garner public support to fund this project beyond the first year.
A 1-mile loop trail passes through fields and pasture, affording fine views of the tidal Westport River.
When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset.
The Trustees reserves the right to photograph or video visitors and program participants for promotional use, and usage of our properties implies consent. Find the full policy here.
830 Drift Road
Westport, MA 02790
Get directions on Google Maps.
From I-195: take Exit 10 to Rt. 88 South. Follow for 6.9 miles to 4th traffic light. Take left onto Hix Bridge Road. Go 0.5 mile and take left at stop sign (before bridge) onto Drift Rd. Town Farm is 0.6 mile on right. Parking will be on left.
When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset.
FREE to all.
This spectacular coastscape had been farmed since Colonial times before the progressive and humanitarian instincts of Westport residents transformed the property into a refuge for the ill, needy, and indigent in the mid-19th century.
The Town Farm, as it came to be called, continued to shelter the aged and infirm, orphans and vagabonds, for more than a century. A deaf and blind woman, Lurana Manchester, was 39 when she arrived. She remained on the farm until her death in 1894, at age 92. The farm operated well into the 20th-century, but by the time of FDR and the New Deal, federal and state human services programs were expanding. Known in final years as the “town infirmary,” it closed in 1956.
After the farm ceased to operate in the 1950s, dedicated volunteers and generous citizens worked for three decades to save the property from both deterioration and development. Today, working with the Town of Westport, The Trustees are managing this historic landscape as a cultural and environmental resource for the public.
Property Acquisition History
In November of 2006, The Trustees and the Town of Westport entered into a license agreement that grants the Trustees management authority and exclusive use of much of this historic landscape. The Trustees' goal is to re-introduce the public to this spectacular property and its history and, through that process, build broader public support for the protection and restoration of the farm. Greater programming and engagement opportunities for the public are planned.
In the fall of 2008, The Trustees initiated a Community Gardens project that honors the Town Farm’s tradition of helping to feed people in need in Westport and nearby towns. Staff will oversee a cadre of volunteers to help grow and harvest the vegetables. With all of the produce donated to those in need, The Trustees hope to garner public support to fund this project beyond the first year.
A pleasant and fulfilling experience awaits volunteers, who can come to the Town Farm for the Friday mornings, afternoon, or an hour to plant, cultivate and harvest fresh, wholesome vegetables for those in need. Gardening is good exercise, as well as a great way to enjoy the outdoors in a beautiful setting. For information on volunteering, click here.
Trail maps are distributed free from bulletin board in parking area. Please understand that supplies periodically run out. We recommend that you download a trail map before you 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:
Click on links below for further visitor information:
Before Setting Out
Take our challenge again this year and see how far you can hike and how many properties you can visit.
Rock this challenge >>
Listen to the new podcast about poor farms & Westport Town Farm!
Read about the renovation of the farmhouse at Westport Town Farm.