In 1996 the Township purchased 20 acres of the Brightside Farm located on the northeast side of Yellow Springs Road in order to preserve it from impending development. In 2000 the Township added 55 additional acres to the parcel with the purchase of the rest of the farm with the help of a significant grant from Chester County.
The Township is committed to preserving the farm as an agricultural asset for the residents to enjoy. The property is under a conservation easement with the French & Pickering Creeks Trust.
Since 2004, the farm offers 60 garden plots to township residents. A small fee is assessed to defray some of the costs of the garden. The program has been very popular, and residents meet new friends and old, and exchange ideas while growing their vegetables and flowers. Plots are approximately 20 feet square within a fenced-in area, and water is conveniently available nearby.
A paved path was installed around the perimeter of the farm in 2017 to provide a walking and jogging trail with the availability of limited parking to encourage more public use of this township asset.
While the farmhouse is rented to a family and is not available for residents’ use, in the future the Township hopes to rehabilitate selected buildings to be used for community events, rentals, and other activities. The historic bank barn is a prime candidate as it could be renovated for use by the Historical Society for its fund raising dinner, and for town meetings and educational activities.
Many residents in Charlestown have shady properties or small yards that aren’t suitable for successful vegetable, herb or flower gardening. This is where the community gardens come in.
Over 50 plots, approximately 20 feet square, are available for annual lease on the Brightside Farm property. A small fee is assessed to defray the costs of the garden and volunteers run the program for the Township. Water is conveniently available nearby and the plots are fenced to keep out wildlife. An application for a plot is available, although there is already an extensive waiting list for 2023 plots.
Both the gardening and the opportunity to meet new friends have made this program a great success.
Take time one day to walk the 1.5 mile Brightside Trail, which circles the farmed hayfields — along the edges of the fields. Parking for Horse Trailers is available on the left of the Farm’s drive, diagonal parking for cars is on the right side of the drive. To turn around and exit, trailers drive to the Y in the drive, pull into the right leg of the Y and back into the left leg to complete the turn.
The small stone house on Yellow Springs Road, near Hollow Road, is the Wisner-Rapp House, a 18th century house and saddle shop on the National Register of Historic Places. It is owned and maintained by the Charlestown Historical Society.
New Walking Trail Completed
In 2017, the grass trail at Brightside Farm was paved to encourage more visitors to walk this beautiful scenic spot in our township.
A small parking lot was constructed adjacent to the Wisner-Rapp House, which is the small historic house owned by the Charlestown Historical Society.
Benches have be placed along the trail.
Eco Assessment and Ecological Restoration Plan
Brightside Farm Park currently exists primarily as former agricultural fields left without intervention beyond consistent mowing. Residents of and visitors to Charlestown Township utilize this park and its walking path for passive recreation such as walking dogs, bird watching, and enjoying greenspace. The park adjoins Brightside Farm and its community gardens. A stream and its floodplain cut through the northwest of the park where volunteers maintain some riparian buffer plantings. Charlestown Township enlisted Resource Environmental Solutions (RES) to assess the site and create an Ecological Restoration Plan to translate the findings into actionable items that can be prioritized and implemented in a practical way to benefit the human, wildlife, and floral residents of the township.
RES performed a rapid assessment of of Brightside Farm Park to determine existing habitat type and condition, and potential interventions.