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Ellanor C. Lawrence Park


Ellanor C. Lawrence Park

Located in western Fairfax County, Ellanor C. Lawrence Park was established to preserve large areas of open space, protect natural and cultural features and provide a wide variety of recreational opportunities for the public.

Visitors will find a unique experience whether visiting to bird watch, hike, exercise, discover the natural and cultural history of the land, picnic, participate in organized sports, attend an educational program or just relax.

The park's grounds are open daily from dawn until dusk. For more information about the park's features and programs, visit the links or contact us at 703-631-0013 or TTY 703-803-3354.

Visit our Ask A Naturalist Page for FAQs or to ask a specific question.

The park's 650 acres are home to:

Walney Visitor Center

Walney Visitors Center at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park.
Viewing an exhibit at Walney Visitors Center.  Viewing an exhibit at Walney Visitors Center.

Walney Visitor Center is a public park facility which offers educational exhibits, programs and information to over 30,000 visitors per year. Situated in a converted 1780 farmhouse, the center contains an information desk, rest rooms, sales area, live animal exhibits, historic exhibits, children’s touch table area, greenhouse and classroom.

Groups are welcome to explore the Walney Visitor Center and Ellanor C. Lawrence Park on their own. If you plan to bring a group to explore the park on your own without a park guide, please let us know in advance when you wish to come by calling 703-631-0013 (TTY 703-803-3354) during business hours.

Walney Visitor Center Hours

Normal Hours
Weekdays
Normal Hours
Weekends
Winter Hours*
Weekdays
Winter Hours*
Weekends
9-5, closed Tuesdays 12-5 11-4, closed Tuesdays 11-4
*Winter Hours = December, January, February          >>> HOLIDAY HOURS

Park History

Dairy Complex

The Fairfax County Park Authority has owned the land that comprises Ellanor C. Lawrence Park since 1971. Development of facilities began in 1980. Most of the land that is now the park was once part of a farm called Walney. For the two hundred and thirty years from the time that farming began here until the Park Authority was given the land, it remained in the ownership of only three families: Brown/Lewis, Machen and Lawrence. Today, exhibits and programs educate patrons about the natural history of the park and tell the story of those families and the American Indians that were here before them.
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Natural History

Ellanor C. Lawrence Stream

Ellanor C. Lawrence Park is located in the Piedmont region nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the coastal plain of Northern Virginia. Situated in the Culpeper Basin, the park is characterized by Triassic red bed soils in the western and central portions and thermally metamorphosed sandstone in the east. The elevation of the park is between 225 and 370 feet above sea level. The landscape is relatively flat except for the steep slopes associated with the stream valleys.

The long history of interaction between the land and its people has affected the ecosystems in the park. Ecosystems consist of upland and bottomland forest, streams, meadows and a pond.
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Plants and Animals

Barred Owl

Ellanor C. Lawrence Park is home to many species of plants, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. View Reptile and Amphibian videos or Ask A Naturalist questions about the park.
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Athletic Fields, Trails, Picnic Area and Amphitheater

Family Hiking with Dog

Ellanor C. Lawrence Park has a state-of-the-art athletic turf field complex for year round playing; 4 miles of trails of varied surfaces for hiking, bird watching, jogging, walking and bicycling; a picnic shelter and an outdoor amphitheater.
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Middlegate Complex and Cabell's Mill

Cabell's Mill

The Middlegate Complex and Cabell’s Mill are located near the meadow along Big Rocky Run and Walney Road. It is believed that the mill was built as early as 1769 but no later then the early 1800s. There are records indicating that there was another mill located within close proximity to Cabell’s Mill. This mill was built by Willoughby Newton in about 1746. Middlegate served as the miller’s house and was probably built in the early 1800s. At various times, the mill was used as a grist, sumac and saw mill.

In 1944, the Middlegate-Cabell’s Mill property was purchased by Ellanor C. Lawrence. She and her husband David used the property as a country retreat from the social and political influences of Washington D.C. Middlegate served as the Lawrence’s residence when they visited the property. The mill was used to entertain guests and friends during various functions.

The Park Authority renovated Cabell’s Mill and Middlegate in 1979-80. The mill became a rental facility of the Historic Properties Rental Services. Middlegate is currently used for park administration and maintenace offices, a caretaker’s apartment and a maintenace shop. Middlegate is closed to the public.

Van Excursions

2014 Van Excursions

Saturday, April 5
Historic Homes and Sites of Southern Maryland Click to Register with Parktakes Online
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

(18 yrs. - Adult) Part one in a series of trips exploring the historic homes and sites of our eastern neighbor. See the homes of John Wilkes Booth co-conspirators Mary Surrat and Dr. Samuel Mudd. Then step further back in time to visit the Thomas Stone National Historic Site. Stone was one of 56 men who risked everything and changed the world when he signed the Declaration of Independence. Bring a bag lunch. Van trip includes a moderate walk; van departs Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Fee includes all museum admissions. $52/person .

Friday, April 18
Silver Lake Birding Van Tour, Haymarket VA Click to Register with Parktakes Online
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

(18 yrs. - Adult) Search for seasonal visitors and year-round inhabitants of Silver Lake Regional Park. One of the newest parks in Prince William, Silver Lake features a diversity of habitats including a 20 acre lake fed by the Little Bull Run, forest and meadows. 16198 Silver Lake Rd., Haymarket, VA 20169. Bring a bag lunch and binoculars. Van trip includes a moderate hike; van departs from Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. $24/person

Saturday April 26
Warblers of WestmorelandClick to Register with Parktakes Online
7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

(18 yrs. - Adult) Migrating warblers and other songbirds are numerous along the southern edge of the Potomac River in spring. Visit Westmoreland State Park and George Washington's birthplace. Bring a bag lunch and binoculars. Wear sturdy walking shoes. Van trip includes a moderate hike; van leaves from Ellanor C Lawrence Park. Please register before April 22. $48/person

Sunday, April 27
Reptile Hotspots Click to Register with Parktakes Online
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

(12 yrs. - Adult) Children under 16 should be accompanied by a registered adult. Get on the trail with Mark, Mike and Tony, three of the area's best local herpotologists and visit local herp hotspots, places where reptiles and amphibians may be found. Bring a bag lunch. Van trip includes a moderate hike; van departs Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. $24/person

Friday, May 2
Silver Lake Birding Van Tour, Haymarket VA Click to Register with Parktakes Online
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

(18 yrs. - Adult) Search for seasonal visitors and year-round inhabitants of Silver Lake Regional Park. One of the newest parks in Prince William, Silver Lake features a diversity of habitats including a 20 acre lake fed by the Little Bull Run, forest and meadows. 16198 Silver Lake Rd., Haymarket, VA 20169. Bring a bag lunch and binoculars. Van trip includes a moderate hike; van departs from Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. $24/person

Saturday, May 17
Shorebirds of the Delaware Bay Click to Register with Parktakes Online
7 a.m. - 7 p.m.

(12 yrs. - Adult) Journey to the tidal marshes of the Delaware Bay at the peak of migration to view shorebirds, waterfowl, eagles and many other birds feasting on horseshoe crab eggs. Bring a bag lunch and binoculars. Van trip includes a moderate hike; van leaves Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Please register by May 6. $48/person

Sunday, May 18
Reptile Hotspots Click to Register with Parktakes Online
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

(12 yrs. - Adult) Children under 16 should be accompanied by a registered adult. Get on the trail with Mark, Mike and Tony, three of the area's best local herpotologists and visit local herp hotspots, places where reptiles and amphibians may be found. Bring a bag lunch. Van trip includes a moderate hike; van departs Ellanor C. Lawrence Park $24/person

Sunday, June 22
Reptile Hotspots Click to Register with Parktakes Online
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

(12 yrs. - Adult) Children under 16 should be accompanied by a registered adult. Get on the trail with Mark, Mike and Tony, three of the area's best local herpotologists and visit local herp hotspots, places where reptiles and amphibians may be found. Bring a bag lunch. Van trip includes a moderate hike; van departs Ellanor C. Lawrence Park $24/person

Welcome to Ellanor C. Lawrence Park

Play Video:  Welcome to Ellanor C. Lawrence Park

Directions

Note: The Walney/Sully Road intersection is a right only turn.

Walney Visitor Center or Amphitheater: From Sully Road (Route 28) north turn right on Walney Road (Route 657). The park Visitor Center is about 1 mile ahead on the left. From the north take Westfields Boulevard/Route 662 to Walney Road/Route 657 south 1.5 miles.

Cabell's Mill, Middlegate House, Pond, Picnic Pavilion: From Sully Road (Route 28) head about .3 mile north on Walney Road. From the north take Westfields Boulevard/Route 662 to Walney Road/Route 657 south 2 miles.

Athletic Fields, Playground, Mulch Recycling: From I-66, take exit 53B for VA-28N. Keep right and follow the signs for VA-28N. Head .6 mile north of Walney/Braddock Road intersection to left entrance at light. From the north head .6 mile south of Westfields Blvd on VA-28S to right entrance.

Facility Address and Phone Numbers:
5040 Walney Road
Chantilly, VA 20151
Park:703-631-0013
Historic Rental:703-827-0609


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