Cutchogue, NY

Downs Farm Preserve



Things to do

Hiking, Birdwatching, Photography, Nature Study, Paddling



23800 Main Rd, Cutchogue, NY 11935


The conservation of this very special place was the result of a collaboration by the Peconic Land Trust with the Baxter family, the Town of Southold, Suffolk County, the Cutchogue-New Suffolk Historical Council, and conservationist Russ McCall in the late 1990s — resulting in the protection of 105 acres of productive farmland, wetlands, and woodlands along with areas of great historical and ecological significance, including the 51-acre Downs Farm Preserve.  

The story starts with the Baxter family who owned the land and wanted to see it protected. The Trust worked with the family on a plan that resulted in the protection of Downs Farm Preserve and the adjoining 54 acres of farmland and woodlands that were purchased by the Trust and sold to Russ McCall with conservation restrictions to protect the natural resources, resulting in the following division:

  • a 51-acre parcel containing the historic Fort Corchaug site (a Native American settlement established in the mid-17th century) as well as scenic woodlands and tidal wetlands along the shores of Downs Creek that was purchased by the Town of Southold with the assistance of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for $1.2 million.
  • a 37.6-acre agricultural parcel, purchased from the Baxter family by the Trust, upon which the development rights were sold to the County in July 1997. Then, in January 1998, the Trust sold the protected farmland to Russ McCall, who granted an overlay easement to the Trust on 35.6 acres of the property, further restricting its agricultural use.
  • a 15-acre wooded parcel along New Suffolk Avenue that the Trust purchased from the Baxter family, then sold to Russ McCall in January 1998. The Trust retained a conservation easement that restricted the development potential of the property to a single residence.

Visitor Information

Historic Downs Farm Preserve and Fort Corchaug 

The Town of Southold, with assistance from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, acquired the 51-acre preserve land from the Baxter family. The Peconic Land Trust holds a conservation easement on the property which ensures the protection of the land’s natural, cultural and archaeological resources. This easement protects these important community values, forever. In addition, the Trust assisted the Town in acquiring National Historic Landmark designation for the preserve.

The Town of Southold operates a Nature Center and maintains the trails at the preserve. For more information, visit the Town's website

The trails are open daily from dawn until dusk.

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Downs Farm Preserve

23800 Main Rd, Cutchogue, NY 11935

Things To Do

Nature Study