Vandell Preserve at Cumberland Marsh

Why You Should Visit

Vandell Preserve at Cumberland Marsh is a mixture of freshwater tidal marsh and wooded upland. This preserve provides pristine habitat for wetlands species, migrating waterfowl, and has the world's largest population of the rare sensitive joint-vetch. An observation deck on the marsh offers views of a wide variety of bird species, including bald eagles.


Southern bank of the Pamunkey River in New Kent County

View Preserve Guidelines.  Please note: dogs are not allowed at any Conservancy preserve.

Visit us on Facebook to see more photos of Vandell Preserve.


Open from dawn to dusk


1,094 acres


ADA-accessible boardwalk and observation deck on the marsh remains open.  There are no restrooms.

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site

Purchased in 1993, Cumberland Marsh is an important site in the Chesapeake Rivers landscape program area. The preserve protects a pristine marsh habitat on the Pamunkey River, a major tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing

The Conservancy monitors the endangered sensitive joint-vetch plant. Part of the preserve consists of working farm, and the Conservancy is working with a local farmer to use best-management practices on the land. The adjacent Cumberland Hospital for Children also uses the preserve for outdoor rehabilitation programs.

Cumberland Marsh in the News

Cumberland Marsh Beckons Birds and Birders Alike (Bay Journal, October 23, 2017)
Writer Leslie Middleton explores the Conservancy’s Cumberland Marsh Preserve, an Audubon Society designated Important Bird Area along the Pamunkey River.  read more

Cumberland Marsh Natural Area Preserve a Thing of Beauty (Richmond Times-Dispatch, November 3, 2016)
It felt a bit like cheating and sticking it to the man at the same time as Sam Lindblom from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and I launched a canoe on the Pamunkey River in New Kent County last week ... read more


View Preserve Guidelines

Download a trail map of Cumberland Marsh (pdf).

What to See: Plants

World's largest population of the rare plant sensitive joint vetch occurs here.

What to See: Birds

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

For more information, contact the Virginia State Office: (434) 295-6106.


From Richmond:

  • Take 1-64 east to Route 155 at New Kent/Providence Forge (exit #214).
  • Go north on Route 155 to the intersection with Route 249, then turn right on 249.
  • Pass through town of New Kent (look for post office on right), and continue through a short stretch of woods.
  • Take first left after the post office onto Route 637 (follow the small sign for Cumberland Hospital for Children).
  • A few hundred yards before the hospital, look to the left for a preserve sign.
  • Turn left at sign; follow the gravel road to parking area at edge of field.

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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