|Location: Heard Farm is located on Pelham Island in west central Wayland on the south side of Pelham Island Road. It is bounded on the east, south and southwest by the floodplain of the Sudbury River and part of the Great Meadows National Wildlife
Refuge; on the west by the marshland of Heard's Pond, a Great Pond of Massachusetts; on the north and northwest by private property.
Access: The public entrance to Heard Farm is at the end of Heard Road, off of Pelham Island Road. At the end of Heard Road is the public parking lot for this area.
General Description: Heard Farm consists of 85 acres of extremely diverse land, including corn and hay fields, abandoned fields at different stages of reforestation, pastures, orchards, meadow and woods. Due to the relative flatness of the land gently sloping to the Sudbury River, broad expanses of land and water are within view much of the year. The soils of the Farm are reputed to be the richest in Middlesex County, with little evidence of bedrock. There is one dug farm pond and several other depressions, which are wet most of the year. The marshlands that border much of Heard Farm are one of finest migratory bird areas in New England.
History: The original inhabitants of Pelham Island were Indians from the Nipmucks, of the Algonquin tribe. Pelham Island was not one of the original Sudbury plantation grants purchased by the group of "Watertowne" residents who wanted to found a colony westward. It was a separate grant given to Herbert Pelham, first Treasurer of Havard College, a friend and supporter of the colony, who willed the land in 1672 to his son Edward, of Newport, Rhode Island. The farming Heard family and their descendants grew in number and prominence in the town over the years and Pelham Pond became Heard's Pond and Pelham Island became Heard's Island. However, in more recent years, Heard's Island was reverted back to Pelham Island. Over the years, the farm was divided and sold off. In 1941 and 1953, Samuel A. Cutler bought portions of the
land and used it as a dairy farm until 1966, at which time it was rented to the Watertown Dairy for the raising of corn. When development of the area was proposed in 1970, the Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT) purchased it to preserve the area for conservation and open space. The town of Wayland purchased the land from SVT in 1973 with financial assistance from the Federal Bureau of Outdoor Recreation and the State of Department of Natural Resources. It is managed by the Wayland Conservation Commission and was designated "Heard Farm Conservation Area" in recognition of the significant role of the Heard family in the early history of the Island and Wayland.
Natural Habitat/Wildlife: Heard Farm Conservation Area is well known within the birding community. The following birds have been spotted at this area: Great Blue Heron, Red-tailed Hawk, Merlin, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, Downy Woodpecker, North Flicker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, Great Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Muted Swan, Wood Duck, Mallard, North Harrier, Tree Swallow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird and Common Grackle. Various species of butterflies, such as Orange Sulphur and Clouded Sulphur, Spiced Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Summer Azure, Pearl Cresent, Red Admiral and Little Wood Satyre inhabit this area. Amphibians, such as Spring Peepers and Wood Frogs and mammals, such
as Red Fox, are often seen and heard here as well. Heard Farm also provides a rich variety of plant life, including Jewelweed, Daisy Fleabane, Purple Loosestrife, Black-eyed Susan, Late Goldenrod, Rough-Stemmed Goldenrod, Spotted Joe Pyeweed, Blue Verbain, Evening Primrose, Field Thistle, Pokeweed, Sweet Pepperbush, Rough Cinqfiol, Creeping Weed Sorrel and Common Mullien.