Places We Protect

Vandell Preserve at Cumberland Marsh


Two women in a canoe paddle through open water at the edge of a marsh. Two kayakers float ahead of them. The bright blue sky is filled with high puffy white clouds.
Cumberland Marsh Canoeing along Cumberland Marsh © Daniel White / TNC

Enjoy views of the marsh from an accessible boardwalk.



Purchased in 1993, Vandell Preserve at Cumberland Marsh is a mixture of freshwater tidal marsh and wooded upland. Located on the southern bank of the Pamunkey River and situated along the Atlantic Flyway, the preserve provides important migratory and wintering habitat for waterfowl. It also has the world's largest population of the rare sensitive joint-vetch (Aeschynomene virginica), a member of the pea family listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.


Bald eagles, ospreys, great blue herons, and egrets; wintering populations of black ducks, wood ducks, mallards and Canada geese.


The nearest launch site for paddle craft is four miles downstream at the Whites Landing (Lestor Manor) ramp, just downstream of the Pamunkey reservation.

Paddlers are encouraged to plan trips in accordance with tidal currents, which can be very strong along this section of the river.

A set of river maps can be ordered from the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers Association at



Please note: dogs are not allowed at this preserve.


Open from dawn to dusk.

Wheelchair Accessible

Enjoy views of the marsh from an accessible boardwalk.


Hiking, birding, accessible boardwalk


1,094 acres

Explore our work in Virginia

Cumberland Marsh

An accessible boardwalk and observation deck on the marsh offers views of a wide variety of bird species, including bald eagles.

A large wooden sign welcomes visitors to Cumberland Marsh. A dirt lane curves off the right past a field of tall corn.
Preserve visitor kiosk. The large wooden message board is protected by an overhanging shingled roof.
Close up view of a small yellow blossom with a bright red center. The plant is growing in a wetland. The view of the marsh and open water behind the flower is blurred.
A wooden boardwalk offers a straight path over the marsh and deeper into the woods.
 A wooden boardwalk ends at an observation deck offering unobstructed views of the marsh. Open water curves around thick wetland vegetation and a tall stand of trees.
The rising sun peeks over the horizon at the edge of a farm field. A sign kiosk in the foreground welcomes visitors to Cumberland Marsh.
Sunrise and Soybeans Sunrise over farm field and parking area, Vandell Preserve at Cumberland Marsh, near New Kent, Virginia. © Daniel White/TNC

Get Involved

Preserve Volunteer Program

Virginia's Preserve Volunteer Community Program provides a vital service to help us maintain and monitor our public preserves across the state.

How can you get involved?

  • Community Members—become involved with a preserve without committing time to stewardship work. Receive periodic updates about the preserve and special events.
  • Preserve Stewards—visit Cumberland Marsh at least 4 times a year to assess trail and preserve conditions and perform basic trail maintenance by removing fallen branches and overgrown vegetation.
  • Preserve Leaders—demonstrated commitment to the preserve and willingness to take on additional responsibilities like managing communication & scheduling, leading workdays and guiding naturalist hikes.

Please contact to receive further information.

Download the Cumberland Marsh Volunteer Program handbook to learn more.

Explore Nature

Need more nature? Visit some of TNC's other preserves.

Find More Places We Protect

The Nature Conservancy owns nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 million acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

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