Nelson Meade County Farm Park
County Farm Park is located on the east side of the City of Ann Arbor. This 127-acre tract of county land was bought from Claudius Britton in 1836 for $1200. A poor house and insane asylum was built in 1837 and used until 1917 when a brick hospital was constructed and named the Washtenaw Infirmary. The infirmary stood until 1967 when it was ordered to be closed or modernized. In 1972, the infirmary was vacated (and eventually razed) and Project Grow began using 8 acres of land for their gardens.
The Parcour exercise trail was constructed in 1976 (the fitness equipment was replaced in 2001). In 1991, the Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center opened in the northeastern corner of County Farm Park, where the infirmary stood years ago. The park was formally renamed "Nelson Meade County Farm Park" in 2013 to honor the lifelong contributions of Commissioner Meade upon his retirement.
Britton Woods Nature Area
This 18-acre woodlot, named after the last private farmer to own County Farm Park, is an interesting mixture of upland and floodplain tree species. Oaks, hickories, and cherry reflect the upland nature of this wooded knoll, while maple, ash, ironwood, and hornbeam reflect the floodplain soils deposited by a glacial water course. Together with trillium and other wild flowers, Britton Woods is a reflection of the Ann Arbor landscape in presettled times.
County Farm Nature Area
County Farm was primarily used as agricultural land, it has since renaturalized with lush fields, dense hedgerows, and brushy cover. In this renewed habitat, known as "Old Field Succession", rabbits, pheasant, woodchucks, and skunks, as well as numerous bird species, are to be found. There is even a rare sighting of fox and deer some years. As with all Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission (WCPARC) parks, the plants, animals, fruits, and flowers of County Farm Park are protected against picking and collecting.
County Farm Park Gardens
County Farm Park has acres of installed landscapes, and hundreds of planted specimen trees (oaks, black-gums, maples, ashes and more!) There are great sensory opportunities in a special octagonal perennial garden; diverse and vernacular vegetable and flower displays in the Project Grow Gardens; beautiful native woodland flowers in Britton Woods; a native grasses display along the outer loop trail; and a Kids and Trees nursery, which is just a beginning of the developing plans for a children's playground, children's garden and accessible gardens - all with a farm theme.
Information & Rules
- All dogs must be on a 6 foot leash
- Two Pavilion/Shelters are available to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis and may not be reserved (these pavilions may be in use for Parks' programs and are reserved Monday-Wednesday-Friday from mid-June through mid-August for WCPARC Day Camps. Additionally the pavilion is not available for the week of Camp Big Heart until after 3 p.m.). Please call (734) 971-6337 to inquire about programming closures.
- walking/jogging/biking trails
- Motorcycles prohibited in County Farm Park
- Bicycles prohibited in Britton Woods Nature Area
- Parking available off of Platt and Medford Roads
- Picking wildflowers and plants is prohibited anywhere in the park
- Edible nuts and berries may be sampled, but may not be collected in bulk and removed from the park
- WCPARC Facilities located at County Farm Park include:
- Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center
2960 Washtenaw Avenue
- Administrative Offices
2230 Platt Road
- Field Operations Building
2210 Platt Road
- Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center