The Staunton River Loop is a driving, not a riding, trail.  However, The John Randolph Tour of the Ride in the Heartland will include sites 2, 4, and 5. (Inside the circle on the map.)  Site 2 is the Staunton River Battlefield Park, with constructed stands for wildlife and bird watching.  Site 4 is Mulberry Hill Plantation, open to visitors on Saturday, Sept 23.  In the summer of 1864, the plantation house was commandeered by the Union Army as their headquarters and hospital.  The lady of the house told Union forces that 10,000 Confederates were dug in on the opposite side of the river.  In truth, only 600 young boys and old men held off the troops and protected General Lee's supply line from the south.  Site 5 is on the bridge at Mossingford, part of the John Randolph Tour on Saturday.  

More on Virginia Wildlife and Birding Trails

Click on the map for a larger view.

The area in the circle will be part of the bike routes on Saturday, Sept 24, 2005. 

 


Photograph enhanced to better see the eagle.  Click on the picture for a larger view
Feb 17, 2005, at sundown.  The eagle was at the bridge over Twitty's Creek, just south of Saxe on Rt. 637.  The eagle circled several times overhead, a reminder of the freedom so often espoused by Patrick Henry and John Randolph
Mossingford Bridge.
This picture also taken February 17, at dusk.  As I set up the camera, a flock of geese flew over.  I heard them before I saw them.  Due to years of flooding and busy beavers, the marsh spreads over dozens of acres.  Herons & egrets roost in the trees.  Waterfowl can be seen in winter.  Hawks and an occasional osprey patrol the wetlands.

On the Double Bridges Marsh, flooded woodlands expand into forest.  Wood ducks nest and the sounds of downy and red-bellied woodpeckers resound through the woods.  On this day, April 18, a large woodpecker flew across the road in front of me. (My camera work is not very fast.  Perhaps you can catch a shot of "Woody".)
Bikers on the Patrick Henry, John Randolph, and David Bruce routes will pass through the Mossingford Marsh as they return to the staging area at the Middle School.
At the edge of the road, Klaty Skimmers and Great Blue Skimmers can be found.  Red-Spotted Purples, Question Marks and an occasional Viceroy crowd the standing water, and dragonflies add to the colorful display. In April, the redbud trees along the roadways make a glowing contrast against the soft green of new leaves.  Because the road is unpaved, Double Bridges Marsh is not on the routes for the bike rides.
Return to bikeheartland Home Page Mulberry Hill is not open on a regular basis, but will be open during the Ride in the Heartland.  Mulberry Hill is noted above as the site of the Union headquarters during the Battle of Staunton River Bridge.