Teawaddle Hill Farm
On the last brisk day of March 1969, family and friends gathered in a quiet pine grove on the Teawaddle Hill Farm in Leverett. As snowflakes swirled in the air and champagne chilled in a nearby patch of snow, Bill and Gwyn Mitchell were married to each other—and to the land. Their commitment carried them through the loss of their home and barns to fires, and the daily labor and cost of working the land. Today, they still live on that 154-acre property that has been in Gwyn’s family since 1961, and they raise beef cattle on this last remaining piece of an 18th century farm complex that once produced sheep, and later dairy cows.
Teawaddle Hill Farm is a rich landscape of open pasture, working fields, woodlands, wetlands, and streams. It also has one of the best views of Brushy Mountain and the now conserved 3,486-acre Paul C Jones Working Forest. A generational transfer of ownership caused Gwyn and Bill to recognize that this special property could easily become desirable housing lots, and the historic farming operation could be lost forever.
Because of Kestrel’s expertise protecting farmland through the Agricultural Preservation Restriction program, Gwyn and Bill contacted us to find out how to ensure the land would be protected with enough fields and pastures to sustain the farm into the future. But because of its lack of prime agricultural soils, an APR would only have protected a fraction of the land. Working with Kestrel enabled them to save the whole farm, guiding them through the process of applying for state funding to place a Conservation Restriction on the property.
It was a long and sometimes challenging process, as several siblings control the family trust that holds the land, and funding was required from multiple sources. With community support from individual donations, a Massachusetts LAND grant and Community Preservation Act funds, the land is protected forever, providing public hiking access, adding to an extensive wildlife corridor from Leverett into North Amherst and Shutesbury, and preserving a farming legacy for future generations.
Massachusetts Department of Agriculture
Town of Leverett