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March 27, 2013

Conservation easement placed on Warrenton farm

Joseph Blackwell Jr. built the original house at The Meadows in the early 1800s.
The owner of a horse farm near Warrenton became the first in Fauquier to place her property under conservation easement this year.

Marion K. Poynter has permanently protected her historic, 47-acre property, “The Meadows,” with donation of a conservation easement to the Piedmont Environmental Council, based in Warrenton. Mrs. Poynter and PEC recorded the easement March 11.

The property’s historic home dates to the early 19th century. Joseph Blackwell Jr. — son of Fauquier County’s first sheriff, who also served as a lieutenant in the Continental Army during the American Revolution — built the main house on the property in the early 1800s. The Blackwell-Carter Family Cemetery, where at least four generations of the Blackwell and Carter families are buried, lies just southeast of the house.

"It is very satisfying to be able to add to the growing collection of conserved and preserved property in Fauquier County,” Mrs. Poynter said. “The Piedmont Environmental Council's excellent assistance was key to making the experience pleasant and possible.”

The conservation easement will prohibit further subdivision of the property and will protect a scenic view from Blantyre Road, a Virginia Scenic Byway, as well as the water quality of the streams on the property, according to Kristie Kendall, PEC’s land conservation coordinator. Those streams flow into Airlie Lake, which provides drinking water for Warrenton, as well as into a tributary of Cedar Run. Cedar run is a part of the Occoquan watershed and provides drinking water for much of Northern Virginia.

Mrs. Poynter bought the farm near Airlie from Susan Day and her late husband, Alan L. “Pete” Day Jr., in the early 1980s. She established a warmblood horse breeding and training operation, Marefield Meadows Stables, on the property.

The former journalist retired in 1991 from the boards of Times Publishing and its non-profit parent, the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, in St. Petersburg, Fla. She is the widow of Nelson Poynter.

Founded in 1972, PEC became an accredited land trust in 2011. The organization holds 47 easements, protecting more than 6,600 acres, throughout its nine-county region.

PEC works with numerous conservation partners, including state agencies and other land trusts, to protect land in the Piedmont.
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