Westport Town Farm
Find Your Place
Westport Town Farm Westport, MA
40 acres

About Westport Town Farm

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.

Trails
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.

Regulations & Advisories

  • Please stay on designated trails to protect farmland, fragile natural systems, and reduce potential exposure to Lyme disease.

  • Mountain biking and horseback riding are not allowed.

  • Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.

Directions

830 Drift Road
Westport, MA 02790
Telephone: 508.636.4693
E-mail: southcoast@ttor.org

Latitude: 41.5807
Longitude: -71.0799

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.

Admission

When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset.

Admission
FREE to all.

Property History

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.

Programs

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 pleasant and fulfilling experience awaits volunteers, who can come to the Town Farm for the morning, 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, contact Steve Connors at 508.636.7038.

Stop by the Westport Farmers' Market at Westport Town Farm:
Saturdays, 8:30AM–1PM
June 14 through September 27, 2014

Maps and Resources

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.



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.


Submitted by Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition on: May 16, 2011
Over thirty students from the Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition recently traveled to the Westport Town Farm site as part of our "Serving Across the State" AmeriCorps Week 2011 project. Besides the scenery being something new and exciting for our mostly urban-based students and staff, the Trustees staff put our volunteers to work on projects at three different sites. It was a great day for volunteerism and taking in some gorgeous views. Thanks, and we hope to visit and serve again some time soon. -The Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition



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Announcements & Alerts

Stop by the Westport Farmers' Market at Westport Town Farm:
Saturdays, 8:30AM–1PM
June 14 through September 27

Listen to the new podcast about poor farms & Westport Town Farm!

Read about the renovation of the farmhouse at Westport Town Farm.

Upcoming Things To Do
Saturday, September 6
Westport Farmers' Market

Saturday, September 13
Westport Farmers' Market

Saturday, September 20
Dog walk the South Coast

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