Agriculture easement would preserve Lyndeborough view

LYNDEBOROUGH – The wide panorama from the top of Parker’s Hill across the apple orchards toward Milford is considered one of the best views around here. Now the Russell Foundation of New Boston is collecting money to buy an easement that would preserve the view. The agricultural conservation easement would be for 95 acres of the former Woodmont Orchards property on Center Road.

The Lyndeborough Conservation Commission recently voted to use up to $30,000 of its land acquisitions funds, and the Russell Foundation will provide up to $60,000 and coordinate the search for other funds, including federal grants.

All but five acres of the property, which surrounds the house at 182 Center Road, would be placed under easement to prevent further development.

The asking price is $420,000, which is considered a “fire sale price,” and property owner David Milton will make a contribution as part of a match for various grants.

Under the easement, the land would be kept open for passive recreation such as hiking, bird watching and snowmobiling, except during parts of the planting and harvesting season. All-terrain vehicles would be prohibited.

Miracle spring?

On the land is what has come to be known as a “miracle spring” that provides water once said to cure illnesses.

The land was developed by George W. Parker, probably in the 1890s, and he had the water bottled and sold it around the area.

Milton said he was unfamiliar with the story of the spring and had not tasted the famous water. The spring is now protected by a cement cap.

Milton purchased the property a few years ago and operates it as an adjunct to Fitch’s Farm Stand, which is a short distance down the hill in Milford.

Parker Farms is described in the town history as “one of the best farms in town.” In addition of apples, George Parker raised a variety of peaches and plums.

The first recorded owner of the property, Edward Bevins, is believed to have been the first settler in that part of town.

George Parker was a veteran of the Civil War. His apple production was said to be among the best in the area. He also raised peaches, pears and plums.

The history of 1905 notes: “There is a spring on his farm, the waters of which are said to be medicinal to a considerable extent.”

A booklet produced in 1908 for prospective summer boarders extols the virtues of the spring as a “cure for dyspepsia among other ailments.” The booklet also contains an analysis of the water, done by the state In 1893. The testers found “carbonate of magnesia, carbonate of lime, sulfate of lime, chloride of soda, silica, and traces of carbonate of iron and alumina.”

The Parker orchards were continued by his grandson, also George, who lived on a neighboring property, now 182 Center Road, until it was purchased by Woodmont Orchards in the 1980s.

David Milton purchased the property a few years ago and operates it as an adjunct to Fitch’s Farm stand, located down the hill. He said he is diversifying, replacing some of the old apple trees with peaches and pears, or clearing to raise corn.

The Land Trust is acting solely as a collection and holding agency, and tax-deductible contributions may be sent to Souhegan Valley Land Trust, P.O. Box 417, Milford, NH 03055.