Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve Audio Tour

Discover why the wetlands are special, and learn about the rare plants and animals that live in the Preserve.

NOTE: We have a new friendlier way to take the audio tour using an interactive map. Click here to get started.

About the Audio Tour

Did you know that the City of Winchester has some of the most important wetlands in Virginia?

Do you know how cutting some of the trees helps preserve nature here?

Do you know how these wetlands make our community a better place for us to live?

Take this audio tour and learn more!

  • The tour has 12 stops but no signs.
  • The length is about one mile.
  • Move at your own pace. You decide which audio clips to play and how fast or slow to go.
  • To follow the tour, click on the stop title or photo to listen. The photos will help guide you to the right spot.
  • At the end of each audio clip, directions to the next stop are provided.
  • Click on the stop's title or photo when you arrive.
  • Remember to pause the tour and take time to enjoy the wetlands as you move along the route.

More information about the Preserve is available on the City of Winchester’s website.

Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve entrance from street

The tour begins at the Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve sign at the Meadow Branch Avenue entrance.

Audio Length: 2 minutes, 20 seconds

Parking Options:

  1. Along Meadow Branch Drive near Handley Avenue
  2. Abrams Crossing Commercial Center by Children of America

See map below and click to download a PDF (printable) version.

Wetlands Preserve and Parking Map

Directions to Stop #1:

  • From Meadow Branch Drive - Follow the paved path across the Abrams Creek bridge. Stop #1 is the Preserve sign on your right.
  • From Jubal Early Drive at Abrams Crossing Commerical Center - Follow the paved path along Jubal Early Drive away from Valley Avenue (Route 11). A few minutes of walking will bring you to the large sign for the Preserve near Handley Avenue. That sign (stop #1) is on your left.
Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve Sign

At the Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve sign.

Audio Length: 2 minutes, 40 seconds

Listen and Discover:

  • How the Preserve was designated
  • The symbol of the Abrams Greek Wetlands Preserve
  • Rules for visiting the Preserve

Directions to Next Stop:

  • Cross Abrams Creek to the bench, information sign and limestone rock boulders on the left
  • Follow the paved path into the woods
  • Stop at the open area with a sign and bench (stop #2)
Meadow Branch Marsh Swamp

At the Garden Club of Virginia Bench and “Welcome to a Special Place” sign.

Audio Length: 1 minute, 55 seconds

Listen and Discover:

  • How to tell a marsh from a swamp
  • What happens to plants in the fall
  • Rare plants in the Preserve
  • Best time to see plants in blossom

Directions to Next Stop:

  • Walk to the bridge ahead
  • Read the sign about birds (stop #3)
One Preserve, Many Bird Habitats sign

At the "One Preserve, Many Bird Habitats" Sign.

Audio Length: 1 minute, 16 seconds

Listen and Discover:

  • Variety of birds seen here
  • Why so many bird species live in or visit the Preserve

Directions to Next Stop:

  • Cross the bridge and follow the meandering path
  • Stop at the next sign "Living with Wetlands" on your right (stop #4)
Power line marsh and seep

At view over the railroad tracks to the left (about 20 yards past "Living with Wetlands" sign).

Audio Length: 3 minutes, 3 seconds

Listen and Discover:

  • How groundwater forms seeps
  • Why seeps are cold
  • How rare northern plants arrived here, and why they remained

Directions to Next Stop:

  • Continue on the paved path and look for the open water on your left
  • Follow the paved path until it dead ends at a bench (stop #5)
Whites Pond

At paved path deadend near view of pond. Please respect the surrounding private property and the plants that live here by staying on the paved path.

Audio Length: 1 minute, 8 seconds

Listen and Discover:

  • Pennypacker Spring and White's Pond
  • Why the path dead-ends here
  • A question to answer

Directions to Next Stop:

  • Head back the way you came
  • Walk for a minute or two, then take the paved path uphill to the left
  • Stop #6 is at the wildlife sign
Wetlands Map

At the "Wildlife and Wetlands" sign at the hilltop and before the backyards of the nearby houses.

Audio Length: 1 minute, 39 seconds

Listen and Discover:

  • Animals that make their homes here
  • Best times to observe wildlife
  • Wetlands in Winchester City and Frederick County
  • Development and protection plans for wetlands in County

Directions to Next Stop:

  • Go back downhill to the main Green Circle Trail pathway
  • Follow the path to the left and retrace your steps to the bridge
  • Stop #7 is on the bridge (anywhere)
Elevated walkway

On the bridge.

Audio Length: 2 minutes, 7 seconds

Listen and Discover:

  • What happens here
  • What the bridge is made of
  • Businesses that have helped protect the wetlands

Directions to Next Stop:

  • Finish crossing the bridge
  • Continue to the sign on the left about plants (stop #8)
Restored marsh

At the "Plants from Near and Far" sign.

Audio Length: 2 minutes, 45 seconds

Listen and Discover:

  • Why prairie plants grow in the Preserve
  • How bison, cattle, and fires kept trees out of the marshes
  • A question to think about

Directions to Next Stop:

  • Follow the path ahead to the limestone boulders and entrance kiosk
  • Stop #9 is directly across the street BUT DON'T CROSS HERE
  • Follow the sidewalk to the left about 20 yards to the crosswalk
  • Use the crosswalk to cross the street to the corner of Handley Avenue
  • When safe, cross Handley Avenue to the opening in the woods on the left shortly before the road reaches Abrams Creek
  • The gravel path on the left leads through the swamp about 50 yards to an open marsh (stop #9)
Spotted Joe-Pye Weed

At the Lower Marsh between Jubal Early Drive and Handley Avenue.

Audio Length: 2 minutes, 20 seconds

Listen and Discover:

  • Why trees are cut in the Preserve
  • How people are doing the work of bison, cattle, and fires
  • When to see rare plants flowering here
  • You can help

Directions to Next Stop:

  • Continue on the marsh path for 100 yards to a trail junction
  • Take the short path to the right
  • Climb onto the bank above Abrams Creek
  • Stop #10 is at the top of the bank
Cut tree stump
Abrams Creek Oasis

At the top of the Abrams Creek bank. Please do not trample the bank.

Audio Length: 1 minute, 23 seconds

Listen and Discover:

  • About the water quality of Abrams Creek
  • Why protecting streamside plants helps reduce pollutants

Directions to Next Stop:

  • Retrace your steps back across Handley Avenue and Meadow Branch Drive to the Preserve entrance
  • Stop #11 is at the limestone boulders at the entrance
Elementary class visits the wetlands
Volunteers help with maintenance
Park staff install Preserve sign
Garden Club of America Founders Fund Grant plaque

At the entrance kiosk and limestone boulders beside Jubal Early Drive.

Audio Length: 1 minute, 35 seconds

Listen and Discover:

  • The many organizations that help maintain and protect the preserve

Directions to Next Stop:

  • Cross Abrams Creek to the Preserve sign where the tour began (stop #12)

Preserve Partners

It takes a partnership to manage a nature preserve. Many people, from many groups, help protect and promote natural places like this one.

They include:

  • Winchester’s Parks and Recreation Department, which manages this property for the City of Winchester. Staff members maintain the pathways and the signs, and they cut shrubs and trees when that’s necessary.

  • Students and faculty in Shenandoah University’s Environmental Studies Program, who do research on habitats, plant life, and water quality. They prepare educational materials and programs, and they provide recommendations for protecting the natural environment here.

  • The Winchester-Clarke Garden Club helps celebrate the Preserve, and their members organize volunteers to help maintain it. Nominations by the club earned the Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve a state award and a national award in 2019. These awards are listed below in the Credits, which follow Stop #12.

  • Members of Shenandoah Audubon – a chapter of the National Audubon Society – document the bird life and have been leading public bird and nature walks here since 2005.

  • TOW – The Opequon Watershed, Inc. – was the first citizens organization to advocate for the protection of Abrams Creek and its surrounding wetlands.

  • Scientists of the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, which is part of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, investigate the special habitats and rare species.
A Community Life

At the entrance sign to the Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve.

Audio Length: 59 seconds

Thank You

Thank you for visiting the Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve. Please remember to leave the Preserve the same or better than you found it.

We hope you return again soon to continue exploring, observing, and appreciating this magical and special place. Share your discoveries on social media. Bring your friends and neighbors here to visit.

The Preserve is open to the public daily.

Tour Credits

This audio tour was developed by a partnership team from Winchester’s Parks and Recreation Department, from Shenandoah University’s Environmental Studies Program, and from the Winchester-Clarke Garden Club.

Funds to develop the tour and support other Preserve projects were provided through the first-place 2019 Founders Fund Award to the Winchester-Clarke Garden Club from The Garden Club of America.

Additional funds for the Preserve partnership projects were provided in 2019 through the first-place Bessie Bocock Carter Conservation Award from the Garden Club of Virginia.

Recording and sound editing were done by Shaun Galang of Cedarmeade Studios, Winchester. The script and narration were done by Woodward Bousquet.

The Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve is managed by the Parks and Recreation Department, City of Winchester, Virginia.