Mainstone Farm Anniversary Walking Route, Stop #1

Introduction: Welcome to Mainstone Farm

The year 2022 marks five years since 218 acres of this property were permanently protected from development with a conservation restriction, referred to as a CR. We think that is worth celebrating!

This self-guided interpretive walk highlights how Mainstone Farm was conserved and explains how members of the community continue to care for these trails. There are four more audio stops along a 2-mile, easy-to-intermediate loop trail within the Mainstone Farm CR.

Each stop has a QR code that links to both an audio narration and a text transcript. Maps of the trail with stop locations are available at the kiosk.

Thank you for coming out to enjoy this wonderful property!

Stop 1: How Mainstone Farm Was Conserved

Hamlen Woods and Mainstone Farm are part of a complex of conserved lands owned by the Town of Wayland, Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT), and other private entities. Additional protected lands, including Mainstone Hills, Reeves Hill, and Turkey Hill, contribute to an extended network of wildlife habitat and public trails.

Many of these lands were once part of an expansive property that was acquired by an ancestor of the Hamlen Family in 1868. Over the decades, succeeding generations of the family farmed the land and also conserved portions of the property, some of which became part of the Hamlen Woods reservation.

As some neighboring lands were developed and others were conserved, the Hamlen Family continued to own and manage the 218-acre Mainstone Farm at the corner of Old Connecticut Path and Rice Road. The picturesque farm was beloved by passersby who enjoyed watching black-and-white Belted Galloway cows graze in the meadows.

By the early 2000s, Mainstone Farm was the largest remaining parcel of undeveloped and unprotected land in Wayland, and many area residents hoped it could be permanently conserved. At the same time, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts enacted the Community Preservation Act, or CPA, which permitted towns and cities to collect a small property tax surcharge for important local projects like land conservation.

Realizing that this surcharge could raise the funds needed to protect Mainstone Farm, Wayland residents approved CPA in 2001.

Over the years, SVT, the Wayland Community Preservation Committee, and the Hamlen Family discussed options for conserving Mainstone Farm. The value of the land was set at 17 million dollars after an appraiser determined the farm could be divided into as many as 128 house lots—a scenario that would have destroyed the bucolic landscape. The Hamlen Family agreed to protect the farm from development and offered to place a permanent conservation restriction on the land in exchange for $15 million.

The community stepped up to meet the challenge. In 2016 Wayland residents voted to spend $12 million dollars of CPA funds to protect Mainstone Farm, and Sudbury Valley Trustees raised the remaining $3 million dollars, our largest fundraising effort to date!

The deal was completed in April 2017, and new hiking trails on Mainstone Farm were opened to the public in September of that year. Another part of the interest in preserving this landscape are the wonderful vistas from Old Connecticut Path of the pastureland and the pond from Rice Road. No one wanted to lose these picturesque qualities of the local landscape.

Now, the rolling pastures and wooded hillsides of Mainstone Farm will forever be part of the fabric of Wayland, kept intact for future generations to enjoy.

We are grateful to all of the partners who contributed to the success of the project, and we are excited to celebrate this fifth anniversary of the land’s conservation. If you would like to hear more about the property from Devens Hamlen’s perspective, watch this short video, produced by Electa Tritsch.