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Sanborn Ridge

West Topsham, Orange County, VT
Price: $254,000
Acres: 159
Type: Multiple Uses
Availability: Sold
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Site Description


Sanborn Ridge is an idyllic landscape with big meadows that curve up and over a high hilltop, providing some of the finest views in the region. The meadows are surrounded by maple stands and stone walls, making the property perfectly suited to agricultural and forestry uses. The land’s conservation easement allows for development of a homesite and associated structures, plus a camp to enhance overnight stays after hiking. With careful consideration of location, a home can be developed without impacting the property’s scenic attributes.

The current owner is the Vermont Land Trust and their goal in divesting is to raise funds to further their forestland conservation work on new projects.

Property highlights include:

  • Quiet location along a town-maintained gravel road;
  • ±57 acres of meadows, ideal for agricultural uses, with some of the area’s most scenic views;
  • Year-round homesite opportunity.


Sanborn Ridge is in a scenic country setting in the town of Topsham, which is situated in east-central Vermont. Topsham is primarily forested, with mountain tops rising to between 1,700’ and 2,000’ ASL (above sea level). The majority of the terrain in this area sits at these elevations.

The town has two notable valleys, with Waits River and Route 25 running through the western valley near the property. The small villages of West Topsham and Waits River are located in this valley. The eastern valley is more narrow and hosts the Topsham/Corinth Road, East Topsham Village and Topsham Four Corners. The entire population of the township is 1,140.

The Waits River Valley School is a few miles from the property, serving K-8.

The land is situated along a quiet dirt road, high on a hill just east of the Waits River Valley. A few homes are situated along Zion Hill Road leading to the property.

Bradford is the nearest larger town, situated on I-91 12 miles to the south. 22 miles to the north are the twin cities of Barre and Montpelier.  Boston is about a 2.5-hour drive to the southeast.


The property is situated 0.7 miles from Route 25 where the road frontage starts on the north side of Zion Hill Road. The total amount of road frontage is ±4.407’. Of this total, there is ±1,560’ of town-maintained frontage along the north side of Zion Hill Road and ±340’ along the south side of the road. The remaining ±1,356’ of frontage along the south side of the road exists as a Class 4 road which is not town maintained, however it is a solid, dry road. The north side of the property also has ±1,017’ of frontage along Peterson Road, a Class 4 road in good condition with year round homes beyond this frontage.

There is a gated driveway and road off Robie Road that runs ±340’ to the storage shed. Beyond this, the road leads to the high meadow. Other driveways along the town roads lead to farm roads that access all of the property’s meadows on both side of the road.

Site Description

There are many attributes that are special about this property, with the high-elevation meadows topping the list. The land has ±57 acres of maintained, open meadows.

The 74 acres on the south side of the property has ±26 acres of meadows. The high meadow runs up and over Sanborn Range at an elevation of 1,760’ ASL. From here, both local and long-distance views spread out in all directions. The property’s storage barn is located on this side of the property, accessed via a driveway off Robie Road.  One of the views from the high meadow is to the north, looking at the property’s meadows on the south side of the road.

The 85 acres on the north side of the property have ±31 acres of meadow, some of which are close to the town road; however most are up high along a ridge. The views from these meadows to the south, southeast and southwest are also attractive. The aspect on this side of the property is southerly, creating a nice location for a homesite.


The forest resource is one of the significant components of the land. On the south side of the land, nearly all the stands are composed primarily of sugar maple with a cohort of ash and other hardwoods common to this area. Soils are rich and well drained. It appears that most of the stands have resulted from old field abandonment 30-40 years ago. The stands are overstocked with minimal understory vegetation. These stands are quite scenic.

On the northern side of the property, the lower elevation, closer to the road frontage, contains a mostly softwood forest type with a similar age class as that of the stands on the north side of the road. Beyond the higher meadows and over the ridge, the land is all forested with sugar maple being the dominant species.

Given that the property is located at the height of land and at the top of the watershed, there are no year-round streams.


The conservation easement on the property will be held by the Vermont Land Trust (VLT), one of the most respected conservation organizations in the nation. A working forest “partnership” with VLT offers the new owner predictability and cooperation, given the long history and high reputation this land trust has established.

A principal objective of the easement is to conserve productive agricultural and forested land, wildlife habitats, non-commercial recreational opportunities and activities, and other natural resources and scenic values of the property. The terms of the easement prevent subdivision and future development; however, forestry and sugarbush operations, and construction of associated support infrastructure, are permitted. Additionally, a building envelope of 5 acres (location to be determined) allows the ownership to build a home of any size along with all homesite outbuildings.

Easement highlights include:

  • Most sustainable and traditional agricultural, forestry and sugarbush activities are permitted to support the long-term stewardship of the protected property;
  • A homestead and associated buildings can be developed on a 5-acre site. In addition, a camp of <800 ft2 can be built on the property.

Copies of the easement are available upon request

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