Volunteers Create Wildflower Walk at Goose Creek Bridge

By Nick Cheshire

On Sunday, restoration work began on a wildflower walk in western Loudoun County, undertaken through a partnership between NOVA Parks, the Virginia Master Naturalist Program, and a group of passionate volunteers. 

The walk will highlight the historic stone arch Goose Creek Bridge, which was built in the early 1800s, as well as the 1863 Civil War Battle of Upperville that took place on the grounds.

Over time, the land has been overrun with invasive plant species such as multiflora rose, garlic mustard, and Japanese honeysuckle, some of which were initially planted to help control erosion, but have overtaken the bluebells and milkweeds that were once a staple of the site. 

“We are trying to bring back native plants to this area,” said Liz Padgett, a Virginia master naturalist with Loudoun County. “We have a variety of goldenrods, sundrops, bluestars, Joe Pye—all flowers that you would naturally find in this area but, unfortunately, are overtaken by grass, Japanese honeysuckle, or other kinds of invasives.” 

On Sunday, volunteers arrived at 9 a.m., equipped with gloves, shovels, weedeaters, buckets, and bug spray, and went straight to work removing unwanted grass and plants as a path began to take shape around the edge of the site. 

“It’s going to be a bit of a project, but if we can keep having interested volunteers, even if it’s a small group, we can get a lot of stuff done,” Padgett said.

NOVA Parks Historic Site Manager Tracy Gillespie helped organize the event. “We’re so grateful for our partnership with the Virginia Master Naturalist Program, whose volunteers are donating time to rid our park of invasive plants threatening our native flowers,” she said. 

Native plants like milkweed can still be spotted throughout the field,but are often hidden by the invasive species. The overgrowth of the park makes it difficult for visitors to explore the land, since the only path around the park is over the bridge. 

The Wildflower Walk is intended to showcase the land as it would have been seen when the bridge was built hundreds of years ago. 

3 thoughts on “Volunteers Create Wildflower Walk at Goose Creek Bridge

  • 2022-06-07 at 4:39 pm
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    These folks are doing good work.
    Wouldn’t it be nice if the BoS allocated some money for Bradford pear eradication efforts in the county? I know they’re very busy coming up plans to approve data centers in every empty space in the county, but until that happens, these invasive trees are wiping out large tracts of vacant land.

  • 2022-06-07 at 7:05 pm
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    Three cheers for the creators of Wildflower Walk. What a lovely effort. I first became aware of the beauty of wildflowers after reading Lady Bird Johnson’s book, “Wildflowers Across America.” It made me realize the importance of nurturing indigenous plants & flowers. They can be just as beautiful as anything created at a florist’s shop. Happy Pride Month Loudoun!

  • 2022-06-07 at 7:51 pm
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    With milkweed we should see some monarch butterflies, as long as people do not disturb the eggs, larvae, and pupae. This will turn into something bigger, better, and even more beautiful if people take care of it. Many thanks to the volunteers!

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