Weyanoke Bird and Wildflower Sanctuary is located at 1501 Armistead Bridge Road in the West Ghent neighborhood in Norfolk. From Hampton Blvd. turn west onto Gates Avenue. Follow to the end of Gates, turn right onto Armistead Bridge Road and follow a short distance. The Sanctuary gate is on the left. There is plenty of parking by the field on the right. It is open to the public from 9 AM on Saturday until 6 PM on Sunday (5 PM in the winter months). If a group wishes to visit the Sanctuary at another time, this can be arranged by calling Mike Schoen at (757) 364-9406
Click on the icon at right to view the Spring 2020 Sanctuary newsletter, Pathways
Entrance to the Weyanoke Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary
Discovery of this Purple Gallinule led to the creation of the sanctuary
The Weyanoke Sanctuary was established in 1979 when the Norfolk and Western Railroad (now Norfolk Southern Corp.) gave the land to the Cape Henry Audubon Society. The Nature Conservancy was instrumental in making this transfer of land. Those most active in arranging this transfer were Joan and Wickham Taylor, Gisela Grimm, Becky White, Dicky and Nancy Barron, George and Evelyn Sargeant, and Lee and Eunice Payne.
The idea of making this wilderness into a wildlife sanctuary came about when the Taylors (active Audubon members) found a Purple Gallinule (a tropical bird and rare visitor to this area) feeding in the small creek that bordered their property and the land that is now the Weyanoke Sanctuary. It just so happened that the Taylors knew the president of the RR. They got on their bikes and rode over to the railroad yard to meet with the CEO who found the idea interesting and was able to persuade the RR to give the land to CHAS!
The area was a hangout for derelicts and a playground for neighborhood children - a good place to get away from home, to play cops and robbers, to smoke cigarettes, and to do whatever youngsters like to do! It was covered with masses of ivy, honeysuckle, greenbrier and every sort of tree and shrub. It was a massive job to make it into the sanctuary it is today, with a woodland garden, a meadow and paths leading through the woods, home now to many birds and a stopover for migrating birds, particularly warblers and thrushes in the spring. It is a little bit of wilderness in the middle of a busy city. School groups and scout troups visit frequently and help with planting, weeding and general maintenance while enjoying the beauties of nature.
The mission of the Weyanoke Bird and Wildflower Sanctuary is to protect the forest, meadows, marshlands and creek and to preserve the native plants within its boundaries -- thereby creating an environment where wildlife will flourish and people can experience and be nourished by the natural world. Our stewardship is conducted in cooperation with the Nature Conservancy, the Cape Henry Audubon Society, the local Master Gardeners, other organizations and community volunteers.
The Sanctuary covers about eight acres of land in the western edge of the West Ghent neighborhood. It is managed by a committee made up of CHAS members and volunteers from the Norfolk Master Gardeners.