Located in the fastest growing county in South Carolina, the Ashley River historic district is considered one of the country’s most endangered places. The district’s centuries-old plantations and oaks dressed in Spanish moss represent the unique beauty of the South Carolina Lowcountry. While many visitors to the Lowcountry have taken Ashley River Road from Charleston to the Middleton Place National Historic Landmark, few know of the 5,800 acres across the road known as Middleton Place Woodlands. The woodlands contain wetlands and bottomland hardwoods that harbor wood ducks, little blue herons and endangered wood storks.

Back in 2008, the Fund worked with the Duell Family, owners of the Middleton Place Woodlands, to facilitate the placement of a conservation easement on more than 3,700 acres, protecting the historic beauty of Ashley River Road and the surrounding land. The property is part of the Duell family heritage, having been owned by the family since before the Revolutionary War. The easement was an opportunity for the Duells to preserve the property’s natural state while allowing only limited potential for future development.

Ducks Unlimited will monitor and enforce the easement. Three years ago, Ducks Unlimited began its Ashley River Historic District Project, an effort aimed at protecting critical habitat and undeveloped land between Charleston and Summerville. With the Middleton Place Woodlands easement and another easement recently secured by Ducks Unlimited on 2,441 acres of Millbrook Plantation, more than 12,000 acres have been protected within the historic district. The South Carolina Conservation Bank and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Lowcountry Forest Conservation Project each provided partial funding for the easement.

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Places We Protect: Historic Lands