Neighbors who look out on the field bordered by Cheney Avenue and Old Street Road joined to purchase the field from a developer working in the area. They then gave the land to the town in 1986 as designated conservation land. Each fall they pass the hat to pay for its late-season mowing after nesting bluebirds and bobolinks have fledged their young.
Neighborhood conservation often is the most effective, as neighbors know best the irreplacable features of the land, whether bluebirds, a streamside walk, a winter skating pond, or spectacular views of Mount Monandnock all year long.
The Wheeler trail (parking area on Route 101 downhill from the Route 123/Old Street Road intersection) loops through Cheney Field before rejoining Wallace Brook.
Historically the field was an orchard, and pasture for animals from the nearby Highland Farm stone barn, built by Elizabeth Cheney Kaufmann, daughter of rags-to-riches American Express stagecoach founder Benjamin Pierce Cheney. Rumor has it that the stone barn was so dark and dank that their cows gave little milk.
Cheney Avenue Field
The "conservation buyer" in this case was a group: neighbors and other donors who recognized the benefits of adding the field to the town's conserved open spaces.