A 577-acre farm situated along Octoraro Creek in Chester County will become a publicly accessible nature preserve under a $6.6 million land deal by the Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art, in partnership with the Oxford Area Foundation.
Though the deal was announced Monday, it was signed in December for part of the Glenroy Farm in Lower Oxford and West Nottingham Townships. The Oxford Area Foundation, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit, will manage the property and has plans to open it for hiking.
The purchase from the Thouron family, which owned the land for 50 years, was made possible by grants from both nonprofit organizations, but the bulk of it came from a $3.3 million grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and a $3 million grant from the Chester County Preservation Partnership Program.
The remainder of the Glenroy Farm, about 375 acres that extends into Lancaster County, was not part of the purchase.
The Brandywine Conservancy secured the grants to purchase the land and oversaw negotiations. The Oxford Area Foundation is tasked with transforming the land into a preserve.
Ellen Ferretti, director of the Brandywine Conservancy, called the transaction “an outstanding achievement.”
“The acreage and diversity of resources made this property a high priority of permanent protection in Southeastern Pennsylvania,” Ferretti said in a news release. “The transition of the Glenroy Farm property from the Thouron family to a public preserve will create a unique, contiguous area of public open space that will provide exceptional recreational and educational opportunities for the community and will have lasting effects on the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay — a national priority for conservation.”
The parcel is situated along the east side of Octoraro Creek and is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The land includes meadows, cropland, mature woods, numerous streams, ponds, and trails.
Nancy Ware Sapp, president of the Oxford Area Foundation, said her organization plans to add trails and a parking area with the goal of opening the preserve by late spring or early summer.
Cindy Adams Dunn, secretary of the DCNR, said the property will help protect the watershed and safeguard wildlife habitat.
“It is the family’s hope that this land will be valued and enjoyed by the community for generations to come,” said Rachel Nicoll, a member of the Thouron family.