Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebird Numerous neotropical migrant birds nest on the preserve in the spring and summer months. © Janet Haas

Places We Protect

Hungry Beech Preserve

West Virginia

The preserve features nearly 30 acres of outstanding cove hardwood and oak-hickory forests.

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 TNC 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.

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.

Please wear appropriate hiking shoes and take plenty of water when exploring the preserve. 

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.

Support Our Work at Hungry Beech Preserve

You can help us protect West Virginia's diverse plant and animal communities at Hungry Beech Preserve and beyond.