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Parks / Open Space

New Britain Borough is proud to be the home of many popular parks and areas of open space.

Use the links below to learn more about our parks and open spaces.

Covered Bridge Park

Since 1957, the New Britain Civic Association (a 501c3 charity) has owned and operated Covered Bridge Park, a 14.7 acre park open to the public.  Tucked away along Pine Run Creek in New Britain Borough, the park features a playground, a picnic pavilion, a soccer/baseball field, a gazebo and a pond.  The park is a focal point for outdoor recreation for area residents.  Covered Bridge Park is really a regional Park bounded by New Britain Borough, New Britain Township and Doylestown Township.  For more information, please check out the Civic Association’s website.

Orchard Park

In 2013, New Britain Borough purchased 5.5 acres of land adjacent to Covered Bridge Park on Keeley Avenue. Orchard park is intended for lower impact recreation than its neighboring park. In addition to a community garden, the park includes an orchard, woods, and wetlands. Suitable habitats have also been created for native wildlife such as birds, owls, bats and honeybees. Both Orchard Park and Covered Bridge Park share several facilities with one another, including parking, water and restrooms.

Orchard Park is under the supervision of the Parks and Recreation Committee. To learn more about the park and its intended uses, please refer to the Orchard Park Strategic Plan.

Community Garden

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New Britain Borough’s Community Garden is located within Orchard Park on Keeley Avenue.  The garden was started in 2013 by residents interested in participating in the pleasures of growing vegetables, fruits, and flowers in a shared environment. It continues to exist as a combination of individual and community growing areas for either personal consumption or contributions to the New Britain Food Larder. Visitors are encouraged to walk the garden paths and enjoy the serene atmosphere.

The garden is deemed organic only, and requires a small annual participation fee. Borough residents are given first priority, although anyone interested may purchase a plot. If you are interested in caretaking a plot, please contact us.

Wilma Quinlan Nature Preserve

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The Wilma Quinlan Nature Preserve is a 26+ acre natural area located along the Neshaminy Creek that is owned and maintained by New Britain Borough.  The woods and fields of the Preserve are set aside for habitat preservation and passive recreation.  The Preserve’s numerous trails are intended for nature study, wildlife observation, and birding.  The Preserve includes “Miriam’s Meadow” a 2.7 acre wildflower meadow on the former property of Miriam Groner, donated to New Britain Borough in 2005.

The main entrance to the Nature Preserve is located on Mathews Avenue.  Mathews Avenue is closed to through traffic near the Preserve, however, it can be accessed using Sand Road off of Butler Avenue.  Miriam’s Meadow is located along Landis Mill Road and can be accessed using Mathews Avenue or Aarons Avenue.  There is an entrance to the Preserve on Landis Mill Road as well.  It is an easy walk from SEPTA’s New Britain Train Station located on Tamenend Avenue where the R5 Lansdale/Doylestown Line makes regular stops seven days a week.

The Nature Preserve is overseen and maintained by the appointed Nature Preserve Committee of Borough residents. Borough volunteers also help maintain the Preserve on scheduled work days.

Click here for more information on the Nature Preserve Committee

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In 2007, the Natural Lands Trust was commissioned by New Britain Borough to provide a natural resource assessment and stewardship plan for the Nature Preserve.  The Stewardship Plan produced by the NLT catalogs the existing environmental and ecological conditions and current management issues of the Preserve and serves as a guide for the future use and management goals set by the Borough’s Nature Preserve Committee.  A 2014 Addendum to the Stewardship Plan focuses on management techniques for invasive plants in the Preserve.

The current stewardship priorities for the Nature Preserve include:

  • Maintaining a safe and enjoyable environment for the passive recreation of borough residents.
  • Protecting and enhancing existing plant communities to provide wildlife habitat for resident and migratory wildlife.
  • Protecting the water quality of the Neshaminy Creek and its tributaries that flow through the property.

Click here to view the Orchard Park Strategic Plan

History

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The Wilma Quinlan Nature Preserve was established in 1971, after the 23.76 acre property then known as the Sidebotham Tract came up for sale.  At the time, the Sidebotham Tract was the largest piece of undeveloped land left in New Britain Borough.  To prevent the property from being developed for planned industrial or commercial use, a group of borough residents led by Mrs. Wilma Quinlan, then a member of the borough council, succeeded in raising the $60,400 needed to purchase the parcel.  Almost the entire purchase price came from state and federal government grants and private donations; less than $3,000 was paid by the Borough itself.  In honor of Mrs. Quinlan’s tireless efforts, the preserve established on the tract was named in her honor.

In 2005, the Nature Preserve was expanded by three acres, when Dr. Miriam Groner, a botany professor at Bucknell and Penn State Universities, who lived across the road from the Preserve, left her house, three acres, and much of her estate to New Britain Borough for the benefit of the Preserve.  Her historic home, the Matthews-Groner house at the corner of Aarons and Landis Mill Roads, has been fully restored and is now rented out by the Borough.  “Miriam’s Meadow,” a 2.7 acre wildflower meadow, has been established on Dr. Groner’s former property in her honor.

Dr. Groner had a vision that the Nature Preserve could be much more than it had been in the past and her generous donation has allowed for substantial improvements to the Preserve.  Dr. Groner’s desire to facilitate the public’s appreciation of nature and nurture the Preserve’s habitat has energized community efforts to improve and expand the Preserve.  The income from Dr. Groner’s endowment, leveraged where possible with matching funds, has enabled the Borough to pursue Dr. Groner’s dream without impacting the Borough’s budget.

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Recently, the Nature Preserve was expanded once again.  Carol and Ken Miller, the wife and son of Larry Miller, a longtime and passionate supporter of the Preserve, made possible the acquisition of conservation easements and a right of way on nearly two acres of their property next to the Preserve.  This acquisition allows the Preserve to extend across Cook’s Run Creek, allowing public access to Miller’s Point at the confluence of the Neshaminy Creek and Cook’s Run.  This land crosses the remnants of the old mill race from Landis Mill, reputed to be the first saw mill in Bucks County.  A few yards beyond the Miller property is a former site of a Lenni-Lenape Indian village and a former site of a tent encampment for the homeless that existed during the Great Depression.

In 2007, the Natural Lands Trust was commissioned by the Borough to provide a natural resource assessment and stewardship plan for the Nature Preserve.  This Stewardship Plan, along with a 2014 Addendum to that plan, catalogs the existing environmental and ecological conditions and current management issues of the Preserve and serves as a guide for the future use and management goals set by the Borough’s Nature Preserve Committee.

In 2012 the Borough received a 50% matching grant from PECO, allowing it to leverage Dr. Groner’s bequest and add signs, benches, and birdhouses throughout the Preserve.

Click here to view the 2015 Nature Preserve Strategic Plan

Click here to view the 2014 Stewardship Plan Addendum

Click here to view the 2007 Stewardship Plan