Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve

Last updated Jun. 29, 2018 - 3:37 pm
  • Planning
  • Design
  • Construction
  • Completed
  • Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources (Lead)
  • Frank Harmon Architect, PA - Architect

Current Activity

In 2014, the City received a $250,000 grant from the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund for the renovation of the original portion of the existing farmhouse on the park property. Based on the master plan, the original structure is proposed to be renovated in order to provide multi-purpose and programming space. The improved farmhouse will serve as a primary park facility and support the use of Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve. In addition, the farmhouse serves as an iconic feature of the property’s history.

 Renovation of the farmhouse is expected to start this summer. 


Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve is being developed to integrate self-directed recreation with the enhancement and understanding of sustainable building practices and the site’s natural attributes. The project promotes sustainable development through minimizing site disturbance, eliminating the need to be connected to public utilities, implementing the City's first compost restroom facility, use of permeable pavement, on-site stormwater management, protection of wetlands and riparian buffers, use of native plants, use of regional materials and use of solar lighting.


Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve has been selected by the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) to participate in a new program testing the nation's first rating system for green landscape design, construction and maintenance. This international pilot project will evaluate the new SITES rating system for sustainable landscapes. Sustainable landscapes can clean water, reduce pollution and restore habitats, while providing significant economic and social benefits to land owners and municipalities. Staff is thrilled to be selected to join more than 150 other projects in this pilot program.

View more information on the Sustainable Sites Initiative


Horseshoe Farmhouse Rendering


Project schedule with dates and descriptions
June-October 2016Construction


Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve consists of approximately 146 acres on an oxbow of the Neuse River in northeastern Wake County. The property was purchased by the City in 1994 to serve as a future park site. The upland fields have been farmed as crops or pasture for generations. The floodplain forests adjacent to the Neuse River are designated by the State of North Carolina as a Significant Natural Heritage Area due to the presence of bottomland hardwood forests, wetlands and a system of natural river levees.

A citizen's master plan committee was formed to lead the master planning effort. The initial master plan was adopted by the Raleigh City Council on May 15, 2007 and was revised by Council on March 17, 2009. The Master Plan Report is linked to the right.

The park property provides unique recreational opportunities for the citizens and visitors of Raleigh including river access, greenway trail connections, nature viewing, and environmental programs and education. These recreation needs were identified as part of the Master Plan process for the park. The initial 14 month Master Plan process involved community input and analysis about park needs and use/demands within the northeast corridor. Public comment documented during this process was overwhelmingly in support of a park with self-directed recreational opportunities and the protection of the property’s natural resources.

In addition, there was Parks, Recreation and Greenway Advisory Board and City Council support in honoring the Neuse River Regional Park Master plan of having an integrated system of parks offering different recreational elements according to the opportunity, site character and need. The Horseshoe Farm Park Master Plan serves as the highest and best use of this property within the context of an integrated system of parks serving a community. The Master Plan elements overwhelmingly satisfy leisure, recreational and cultural needs of this park’s community in the northeast quadrant of the City.

The funding source for this project is the 2000 Parks and Recreation Bond Referendum (Capital Improvement Plan (CIP FY 04-05 and FY13-14).

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