“Eee –o-lay” is the throaty, flute-like song of the Wood Thrush, a cinnamon-backed songbird that sings from the branches of the beech trees, tulip poplars and sugar maples that make up the centuries-old northern hardwood forest called Camp Woods. A preserve remarkable for its towering trees (some nearly 100 feet tall), Camp Woods consists of one of the largest remnant northern deciduous forests in the region, several acres of successional forest, and a small, emergent groundwater wetland. Together, these protected acres provide habitat for many wildlife and insect species, from pileated woodpeckers, wood thrushes, and red-shouldered hawks, to red-backed salamanders, eastern box turtles, woodland skippers, brown and four spotted lacewings, and meadow fritillaries.
Camp Woods Preserve is not only significant for its natural beauty, but also for its history. The property was purchased by Abraham Dawes in 1713, and earned its name during the Revolutionary War, when the Continental Army camped there for 16 days in October, 1777, following the loss of the Battle of Germantown. Elements of the Revolutionary Army tended their wounded and buried the dead in the vicinity of Camp Woods near Boehm’s Church. Washington and his officers stayed at the Dawesfield manor house. Because of its history, Camp Woods has not been lumbered since the Revolutionary War.
In a wonderful act of generosity, Abrahams Dawes' descendants, Phoebe Wetzel and James Cheston IV, donated the land to WVWA in 1990, so that the historic nature of this hallowed ground would be forever protected.
If you visit, be sure to stop by our 60' x 100' deer exclosure, in which native flowers, shrubs, trees and grasses grow abundantly in the absense of deer predation, demonstrating a healthy forest where deer do not over-browse the herbaceous plant layer and limit the growth of regenerating trees. The increased variety of plants will help attract native, beneficial insects and wildlife. Click here for details about the deer exclosure.
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Access: (1) From Armentrout Preserve, follow the trail nearest Morris Road as it crosses a private driveway and enters Camp Woods. (2) Lewis Lane to Miles Drive to Mason Drive in Whitpain Township. Access to the Preserve is marked by a sign at the edge of the woods. From the end of Mason Drive, walk straight back to the sign. The property owner has granted an easement for the purpose of public access to Camp Woods. Please be mindful that you are walking on private property.
Parking: On Mason Drive or Harrow Lane
Size: 35.32 acres
Habitat: Mature forest
Trails: Natural, unpaved trails, shared by walkers and equestrians. Some wet spots, hilly terrain. Trails within the woods and in adjacent meadows total 1.4 miles. Connects with Armentrout Preserve trails (see above).
Dogs must be kept on leashes.