Two Special Properties on Aquidneck Island Preserved

By ecoRI News staff

AQUIDNECK ISLAND, R.I. — The Aquidneck Land Trust recently announced the conservation of two properties: a 12.5-acre site known as the Arnow property in Middletown and the 14.8-acre Wild Moor property off Hammersmith Road in Newport.

The Arnow property, off Howland Avenue and adjacent to Newport Memorial Park, features woodlands, open fields, well-kept stone walls and a scenic barn. The conservation easement on the property was bought at a discounted sale from Dr. Lewis Arnow.

“I’m glad my mission and the land trust’s aligned,” he said. “I’ve been on this beautiful property since the late 1960s — it means a lot to me to know my property is now preserved forever.”

The site is private, but hosts games for a cricket league on one of its fields, and includes valuable woodland habitat. In addition to its wildlife and scenic values, the property features prime soils and is partly within the Maidford River watershed.

“The Arnow property touches on almost every conservation value we try to protect: habitat, scenic, water resource, historic, prime farmland,” said Chuck Allott, the land trust’s executive director.

The property will be protected as open space in perpetuity via a conservation easement.

The Wild Moor property, formerly the Berry Hill estate, has a storied history and significant conservation values, with some 400 plant species and 35 animal species recorded on the property over the years. The conservation easement was generously donated to the land trust through a private LLC.

The estate includes beech trees of varying ages and a diversity of native species, according to the land trust. Habitats range from cleared scenic rock outcroppings, to upland deciduous woodland, to wetlands. Notably, the conservation agreement only protects certain areas of the property. The full 22-acre estate will be divided into four lots, of which two have existing houses. New houses or structures may be built on the two remaining undeveloped lots in specified building zones. The lots will be owned privately, with the land trust holding the conservation easement on sections of each lot.

“We would have loved to have been able to protect the entire property, which has tremendous historic, scenic and wildlife conservation values,” Allott said. “However, through this donation, we ensure parts of the property, including significant tracts of wildlife habitat, will be protected forever.”