This site provides expansive views of the James River, banked by manicured gardens and lawns with large tulip poplar, as well as pecans, walnuts, sycamores, an elm, an English yew, and other trees. The riverfront location provides good viewing of ospreys, bald eagles and other wildlife commonly seen on the James. Westover is directly across the river from the James River National Wildlife Refuge, one of the largest eagle roosts on the east coast. The Walled Garden, entered through a small gate through the wall to the west of the north yard of the main house, is attractive to visitors and butterflies alike.
Continue east along the river and leave the lawn by the East Gate, then turn right and continue to the east on a lane along the river to the edge of the marsh. The riverbank here is in a wilder state, as is the border of the marsh, with overgrow shrubs and trees; this is a main site of avian activity. Numerous birds can be seen foraging for seeds, berries and insects. At the edge of the marsh you may turn around and retrace your steps, or turn left and continue around the field along the marsh to a ditch bank that leads to the entrance road after the stone pillars. Turn left when you reach the entrance road, go 100 yards to the next right, which will take you to the parking lot by the river. From the East Gate to the marsh is a 5-minute brisk walk. From the marsh around the field back to the parking lot is a 30-minute brisk walk.
From the parking lot you may also follow a lane going west between the river and a field to a wild meadow, to the site of the original Charles City Court House. New research indicates that this was the location of the 19th-century enslaved workers’ quarters, and that those quarters were built on top of a prehistoric settlement. A lane to the left leads to the river, or stay straight to reach the cemetery at the original site of Westover Church, and then on along the river to a farm road to the end of the trail. The Court House and Church were moved to inland locations the middle of the eighteenth century. It is a 10-minute brisk walk from the parking lot to the farm road.
- This is a private residence as well as a historic location. Please respect the owners’ privacy.
- Visitors should park in the tourist parking area (coordinates below).
Physical Address: 7000 Westover Road, Charles City, VA 23030
Parking Area Coordinates: 37.311092, -77.151573
From I-295, take the VA-5 E/New Market Road exit toward Charles City, slight right onto SR-640/Herring Creek Road, continue onto SR-633/Westover Road, go left at the fork to stay on SR-633/Westover Road, and follow the signs to the tourist parking area.