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How to Prepare for Your Visit View All
Western Allegheny Plateau Ecoregion
The Hungry Beech Preserve is open to the public for hiking and nature study. A loop trail will take the visitor through a variety of habitats on the preserve. The best way to begin the trail is to walk through the ridgetop fields to the barn. At the barn you will see the trail head sign dedicating the trail to Marie Wallace, a past board chairman and active participant in the State Garden Club. The trail then descends into woods, where dramatic sandstone outcrops can be seen. Although there is not a trail to the oldest stands of trees, a brief woodland walk will allow exploration of this site. The main trail then ends back in the ridge meadow.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
Volunteers have played a special role on this preserve. Several volunteers from the Charleston area have helped map trails and design maps for the property. Students from West Virginia University have also volunteered, and worked to improve the trails. The Conservancy continues to seek a corps of regular volunteers to carry out projects on the preserve.
Why You Should Visit
The Hungry Beech Preserve ranges from level to rolling meadowland on Paxton Ridge and along Green Creek, to a steep-sided cove, about 300 feet deep, lying between two ridges protruding off of Paxton Ridge. The primary feature of the preserve is the nearly 30 acres of outstanding cove hardwood and oak-hickory forests. While likely not virgin forest, they have high natural value, with no signs of recent disturbances. Many of the large American Beech and White Oaks in the cove are over 13 feet in circumference. A few trees exceed 56 inches in diameter. An 80-acre buffer zone of second growth forest and ridgetop meadows secures this primeval forest. There are over 80 species of spring flowering plants and many neotropical migrant birds.
What to See: Plants
The diversity of herbaceous species throughout the cove is outstanding. Three species occurring in the cove hardwood forest are noteworthy, as they are extremely localized in distribution and found only in well-developed, nutrient rich habitats. They are Goldie's Shield Fern, Glade Fern, and Shining Clubmoss.
What to See: Animals
Native deer, turkey, squirrel, and chipmunks make the area their home. Numerous neotropical migrant birds nest on the preserve in the spring and summer months.
The Nature Conservancy's Hungry Beech Preserve is open to the public for hiking and nature study. Please wear appropriate hiking shoes and take plenty of water when exploring the preserve.
Turn east at end of exit ramp, towards Clendenin.
At the Park & Ride parking lot immediately East of the interstate interchange turn, left onto Rt. 119 north.
Follow Rt. 119 North for 8 miles, reaching top of hill.
Turn left onto Ambler Ridge Road, at old (now closed) Huffman Country Store.
Travel 3.4 miles onto paved Ambler Ridge Road, reaching local mailbox address of 1702 Ambler Ridge Road on the right.
Turn left onto gravel Paxton Ridge Road, at a blue house which is located at the intersection across from 1702 Ambler Ridge Road.
Follow Paxton Ridge Road for 3.1 miles to preserve on the right.
Trailhead into preserve is marked by old locked pipe gate with TNC preserve signs on trees. Park along edge of state road.
Follow old road in to first large field and watch for trailhead sign at woods’ edge on your left. Trail is sparsely marked, but woods are welcoming for an exploratory walk.