`Big Woods Walk' at Madison's estate Your arms won't...

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January 10, 2002|By Karin Remesch

`Big Woods Walk' at Madison's estate

Your arms won't reach around most of the trees in the James Madison Landmark Forest in Montpelier Station, Va. But you can hug the trees, nevertheless, during a guided tour Sunday of the 200-acre old-growth forest at James Madison's Montpelier. The forest, also known as the "Big Woods," includes trees - oaks, poplars and hickories - that are between 200 to 300 years old years and are up to 60 inches in diameter. The undisturbed forest floor harbors a large population of wildlife and is rich with native-plant species, including redbuds, spicebush, Virginia creeper, honeysuckle and grapevines.

The "Big Woods," a remnant of the original hardwood forests that once blanketed the Piedmont, was designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1987 by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The "Big Woods Walk" also offers a panoramic view of the entire Montpelier landscape and woodland, which you can't get at any other time of the year because of the dense foliage and tree cover.

The tour starts at 2 p.m. at the Montpelier Visitor Center/Museum Shop on Route 20 in Montpelier Station, about four miles south of Orange, Va. Admission is $8, $4 children. Reservations are required. Call 540-672-0009.

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