Why You Should Visit
Francis Beidler Forest, a registered National Natural Landmark, is the world's largest virgin cypress-tupelo swamp forest. Located in Four Holes Swamp, the Forest is approximately 12,500 acres with more than 1,800 acres of ancient trees, some dating back 1,000 years. Four Holes Swamp begins as a small swamp stream in Calhoun County and flows 62 miles through four counties before it joins the Edisto River and the Atlantic Ocean. A wildlife sanctuary and environmental education center located at the site is dedicated to preserving the Forest and fostering community involvement in the conservation of our natural world.
Harleyville, an hour's drive northwest of Charleston
Approximately 12,500 acres
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
Francis Beidler, a champion of conservation practices, acquired this part of Four Holes Swamp in the 1890s. After his death in 1924, family members maintained his conservation values by preserving the property until the 1960s. At that time, The Nature Conservancy and the National Audubon Society combined their resources to purchase what is now Francis Beidler Forest. In October 2003, The Conservancy and National Audubon Society once again partnered to expand the forest with the protection of a 909-acre key inholding acquired from MeadWestvaco.
From Charleston or the east:
- Take I-26 West to Exit 187
- Make a left turn on Highway 27 (South) to Highway 78
- Turn right on Highway 78 (West)
- Veer right onto Highway 178
- Make a right on Francis Beidler Forest Road (first paved right). The center is about five miles down the road.
From I-95, Columbia, or the west:
- Take I-26 East to Exit 177
- Make a right hand turn on to Highway 453 (South) to Highway 178
- Make a left turn on to Highway 178 (East)
- Go through the town of Harleyville
- Ten miles later make the left turn onto Francis Beidler Forest Road. The center is about five miles down the road.