Land Management and Use at Cogswell’s Grant

Essex, Massachusetts


With 1,284 acres of farmland, meadows, fields, forests, and gardens, Historic New England is constantly managing use of outdoor resources. Effective land management requires a balance among conservation, recreation, preservation, and agricultural practices. We are committed to all four aspects of caring for and sharing our land today and for the future.


Our conservation practices evolve as we continue to research, learn, and engage with professional colleagues to understand best practices that ensure the sustainability of land and wildlife in our care.


We want everyone to enjoy our properties. Historic New England makes its outdoor spaces as accessible as possible, welcoming the public to most spaces daily from dawn to dusk for passive recreation.


We believe in the preservation of our cultural landscapes in which we acknowledge the interactions and modifications humans have made to the land over time. We protect and interpret these resources for the public.


Many Historic New England properties have centuries-long and varied agricultural histories that we honor and maintain through sustainable farming practices. Agricultural activity is managed with consideration for impact on conservation, recreation, and preservation.

The public is our partner in ensuring that, together, we understand and respect all four aspects of land management and achieve the necessary balance among conservation, recreation, preservation, and agriculture. Recently we’ve received feedback from members and other visitors to the property, asking for uses that represent conflicts—for instance, neighbors hoping to unleash their dogs, and other neighbors concerned about the protection of nesting birds in the fields. And there are member families concerned about unleashed dogs when visiting the property. It’s not always easy balancing such varying interests, and we are grateful for the patience of the site’s many users, particularly that of our members, and the spirit of compromise sometimes necessary. It is important that the posted guidelines for outdoor access be followed, and Historic New England is constantly evaluating its guidelines to ensure the very best practices for the use of our sites.

Thank you.

Learn more about Cogswell’s Grant