Breakneck Hill Conservation Land
Check out the Stewardship Committee page for details on any upcoming event or member information. The Stewardship Committee is in charge of maintaining and improving upon Breakneck Hill on behalf of the Conservation Commission.
Raymond Davis (Farmer Ray), President of Davis Tractor Company, purchased what is now Breakneck Hill Conservation Land (BHCL) and surrounding properties in 1949 and moved his business, Davco Farm, to Southborough. Davco Farm was home to an apple and peach orchard, tractor supply company, apiary and bee supply business, and a herd of Belted Galloways & Black Angus cows.
On June 9, 1953, a tornado ripped through the town and destroyed a large part of Davco Farm including "ripping up orchards, leveling thirteen of the fourteen Davco buildings, and leaving the sixty tractors warehoused there in a tangled, twisted heap" (Noble, pg 323).
At an Annual Town Meeting on April 9, 1979, the voters of Southborough approved the purchase of the ~88 acre parcel now known as Breakneck Hill Conservation Land from Raymond & Eleanor Davis utilizing a State Self-Help Grant and Town funds. Mr. Davis was allowed to maintain and utilize the property until 2001, when he retired from farming. 1989 brought the first original license agreement between Mr. Davis and the Town of Southborough to graze cows on the property. In 1991, 5 Belted Galloways were introduced to the property to better control invasives.
In 2001, Mr. Davis notified the Conservation Commission that he can no longer financially support the herd and a neighborhood volunteer group, Breakneck Hill Cow Fund, is organized to help keep the cows on the property. A herd of Belted Galloways remained on BHCL until 2015 through the Breakneck Hill Cow Fund which was created to “save the cows” and was a designated 501(c)3 in which their purpose was “…to promote the rural and agricultural character of Southborough through the maintenance of the cows at Breakneck Hill Conservation Area.” The Cow Fund had a lease agreement with the Conservation Commission to promote their mission and to help combat the rise of invasive plants. When the Cow Fund was dissolved, the herd was sold off and the Stewardship Committee has taken on the full time responsibility for the oversight and management of the property.