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Ellanor C. Lawrence Park

Ellanor C. Lawrence Park



Ellanor C. Lawrence Park Master Plan Revision comment period is closed. To find out more about the planning process, visit
Ellanor C. Lawrence Park Master Plan Revision

Audio Transcript

Helping Our Land Heal 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
Normal Hours
Winter Hours*
Winter Hours*
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Professional Photography and Filming in FCPA ParksInterested in photographing or filming in beautiful Fairfax County Parks? Find out more about Professional Photography and Commercial Use Permits for Filming in Fairfax County Parks.

Welcome to Ellanor C. Lawrence Park

New Wayside Information Helps Protect Vernal Pools

New Wayside Information Helps Protect Vernal Pools

Ellanor C. Lawrence park working closely with the Virginia Herpetological Society have designed and placed a new wayside protecting vernal pools in the park. This wayside includes life size pictures of salamander and frogs and includes qr codes that allow the public to hear the actual frog calls. It also instructs the public on how to interact with vernal pools and provides avenues for the public to get involved. Says Tony Bulmer, Senior Naturalist, Historian and Interpreter at E.C. Lawrence, “The Virginia Herpetological Society funded this important wayside for visitors at the park. I am truly grateful for this grant. I am always amazed how dedicated the VHS is in teaching and protecting Virginia’s native reptile and amphibian populations. It’s in honor to have their logo on our sign.”

Parktakes Online!
To register online, click the program title below. All you need is your member number (or barcode number), a valid email address and a Visa or MasterCard. Not a member yet? Sign up today or call 703-222-4664.


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
Historic Rental:703-827-0609

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
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