In 1997 WVWA discovered that Virginia Armentrout planned to sell most of her 50+ acres of farm fields and forested groves. WVWA presented a deposit that allowed it 6 months to raise the necessary funds.
The WVWA Board of Directors swung into action, going door to door in the neighborhood surrounding the Armentrout property to obtain support from those who would benefit the most. WVWA successfully received a grant from the Keystone Program for funding the acquisition, and persuaded Whitpain Township to use Montgomery County open space money for the project. WVWA purchased 20 acres of the land from Mrs. Armentrout and Whitpain Township preserved the remainder. Whitpain maintains its area as open space, and, along with WVWA’s portion the Armentrout Preserve is a substantial 66 acre natural area of beauty and serenity in this highly developed suburban area.
Approximately 14.6 of this 20.6 acre WVWA Preserve is characterized by shrub-scrub, early successional old field habitat made up of native grasses and perennial herbs, scattered here and there with young Eastern red cedars, and by large, wooded edges. Common milkweed and goldenrod line the fields and is a favorite for many insects during the summer months. Notable species found on the preserve include brown and four spotted lacewings, meadow fritillary, purple-backed cabbage worm moth, and antlion.
The remaining 6 acres of Armentrout preserve consists of a riparian corridor contiguous with a small tributary that runs through the property (and eventually flows into Willow Run, north of Morris Road). A groundwater spring, which feeds the tributary, creates an emergent wetland, while small pockets of boggy inclusions dot the lower elevations. These wetter areas create fantastic diversity in a landscape that would otherwise be dry and well-drained, and provide habitat for an assortment of species obligate to such areas; two-lined and red-backed salamanders, Northern ring-necked and Eastern garter snakes, and green and pickerel frogs can all be found here.
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Access: End of Beale Road off Penllyn Blue Bell Pike in Whitpain Township.
Size: 58 acres (20 owned by WVWA and 38 owned by Whitpain Township)
Parking: Gravel lot at end of Beale Road
Habitat: Meadows, woodlands
Trails: Natural, unpaved trails, shared by walkers and equestrians. Some wet spots. Hilly terrain. Good exercise walk. WVWA’s Armentrout loop trail is 0.7 mile; the Horseways/Whitpain trail through woods is just over 1 mile. The Armentrout loop trail connects with Camp Woods trail (see below).
The WVWA Armentrout trail begins on the east side of the parking lot and goes toward Morris Road. The Armentrout trail connects with the Camp Woods trail via an easement across a private driveway at 410 Morris Road. Please do not follow the driveway, but follow the trail signs and stay on the trail.
The Horseways trail begins on the west side of the parking lot and goes toward Skippack Pike, along the tree line separating the preserve from a private home.
Amenities: Picnic table, interpretive signs.
Dogs must be kept on leashes.