Suffolk will soon carve a path – a walking path – within its Old Field Farm County Park that will provide visitors with new opportunities to explore and enjoy this historic 13 acre equestrian show ground that runs along the bank of West Meadow Creek in Setauket. Legislators last evening approved allocating up to $60,000 in funding leftover from other completed projects at Old Field Farm for the pathway that will extend approximately 0.4 of a mile from the park’s westernmost entrance to its easternmost gate along West Meadow Beach Road and link to a nearly two mile multiuse trail maintained by the Town of Brookhaven on what was once Trustees Road. In addition to the path made of environmentally appropriate crushed stone, the project will also add fencing and a small parking area to accommodate the addition.
Pathway proponent Legislator Kara Hahn who advocated for the project’s inclusion in the County’s 2018 Capital Program also designed the trail’s projected route. For Legislator Hahn this addition will not allow more people to discover this underutilized public parkland, but will also provide walkers, joggers and bicyclists with a safer and more scenic alternative to winding West Meadow Beach Road.
“The majestic scenery and tranquility of the West Meadow Peninsula has long served as a beacon to everyone from exercise enthusiasts to people just looking to detach from the stresses of daily life,” said Legislator Hahn. “With so many people attracted to the peninsula’s natural beauty and recreational offerings, I felt we needed to link Suffolk County’s forgotten gem to the other attractions while also making the experiences safer for visitors who have had to navigate vehicular traffic on narrow, winding roads not designed to safely accommodate both.”
According to Annemarie Waugh of Sidewalks for Safety, “The addition of a safe walkway to West Meadow Beach will be a tremendous safety benefit to all Three Village walkers, runners, cyclists and drivers and will enhance natural beauty of the area.”
With funding in place, the Suffolk County Parks Department hopes to have the new pathway opened for visitors as early as this fall.
Old Field Farm is a historic Long Island show ground constructed by philanthropist Ward Melville who commissioned famed architect Richard Haviland Smythe to create this unique equestrian facility located on a distinctive waterfront setting along Long Island’s North Shore. Originally known as the North Shore Horse Show Grounds, Old Field Farm opened in 1931 and is located on 13 scenic acres that adjoin 88 acres of protected wetlands overlooking Long Island Sound on the north and the West Meadow Creek wetlands to the south. The park was acquired by Suffolk County in 1986 and is managed through a partnership with Old Field Farm Ltd.