Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, Centreville

#5 of 8 in Things to do in Centreville
Park · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
Ellanor C. Lawrence Park is located in Chantilly, Virginia, just north of Centreville, on Route 28. The park preserves the cultural and natural resources of western Fairfax County and has a long and complex history lasting 8,000 years. The land was originally inhabited by Native Americans, but as Europeans settled in Virginia, the land was shaped by only three families: the Browns, Machens and Lawrences. Through these periods, the land was used as a tenant farm, family homestead, and country estate until it was deeded to Fairfax County Park Authority as a 640-acre nature park in 1971.

On the eastern side of Route 28, visitors can learn about the site’s natural and cultural history at Walney Visitor Center, where visitors can see the park’s several significant structures including Walney, an 18th-century farmhouse, and 19th century outbuildings and features, including a smokehouse, dairy, ice house and ice pond remnants. Cabell's Mill and Middlegate stand in the southeastern end of the park. Middlegate is an early 19th-century stone house associated with Cabell’s Mill, which was built in the 18th century. Cabell's Mill is a popular setting for weddings and is available for rent through the Fairfax County Park Authority. Middlegate is used for park administrative offices.

Approximately four miles of mostly earthen trails are accessible from the Visitor Center, the pond, Cabell's Mill and the park's northern terminus on Poplar Tree Road. The trails pass through the park's diverse habitats and are popular with birders, runners, dog walkers, and families. Trail maps are available at the Walney Visitor Center. Bicycles are not permitted on most park trails except the paved or gravel Big Rocky Run Stream Trail, which begins near Cabell's Mill and ends at the Fairfax County Parkway.

Fishing under state regulations and licensing is permitted in the pond and Big Rocky Run.

On the western site of Route 28, the park houses playgrounds, athletic fields (including soccer, baseball, and softball fields), and a fitness trail with stations.

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Ellanor C. Lawrence Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
42 reviews
  • Love this park and here is a great bike tour that will bring you there. Go to Ride and Shine Bicycling on YouTube to see the free video tour that will guide you there.  more »
  • This beautiful park may not have the showy attractions and amenities of many of the largest Fairfax County Parks, but it has so many different unique features to offer that it's worth a visit, no...  more »
  • I'm not sure I would go too far out of my way for this park, but since it is local for me it is great. There are A few historical buildings on the grounds, but the nature is there real draw here. There is an abundance of birds and insects to see and trails to hike. If you are close by, it is definitely worth stopping.
  • We come here all the time when we're looking for a walk in the woods but aren't interested in driving all the way out to Shenandoah. The trails can get a little crowded on nice days, but they're very well maintained and, more importantly, nicely shaded. The educational exhibits around the visitor center are a nice perk!

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