The Weston, owned by the Department since 1959, has escaped the attention given to the larger neighboring Phelps and Thompson Wildlife Management Areas. A forgotten jewel, the Weston Wildlife Management Area offers the outdoor enthusiast a variety of recreational opportunities. Dog training, wildlife observation and nature studies are just a few.
Located near Casanova, close to the heart of Fauquier County’s horse country, the 271 acre Weston has a variety of habitat features. Mature hardwood forests predominate and are found on upland terraces and along the meandering Turkey Run. Once actively managed farmland has now reverted to dense cedar thickets and old fields in various stages of succession. The mosaic of fields are distinctly divided by well developed hedgerows. Turkey Run, which forms the eastern boundary, provides a dependable year-round water supply. Within the Weston WMA is a 10 acre privately owned parcel. Formerly the home of Miss Charlotte Saint George Nourse, the parcel is now owned and managed by the Warrenton Antiquarian Society.
The Weston is currently designated as a Chase Only area. The area is very popular for beagle and birddog training. A chase only season begins September 1 and runs through March 31 annually. Training activities are allowed during daylight hours Monday through Saturday only. No firearms are allowed. Fox hunting with hounds is also a major activity. The Antiquarian property is home to the local Casanova Hunt.
Turkey Run is the only waterbody on the area. Perennial flow supports numerous populations of sunfish, minnow and other species. Anglers can expect to catch redbreast sunfish, green sunfish, fallfish, creek chub, and perhaps even smallmouth bass in this lovely piedmont stream. Stream width varies from eight to 25 feet making it accessible to spinning tackle or fly fishing enthusiasts.
The variety of habitat types and the associated wildlife species along with the extensive trail system makes the Weston a popular destination for wildlife watching, nature studies and photography. Virginia Bluebells and other wildflowers blooming along Turkey Run are certainly worth a visit during early Spring. Several times a year the Casanova Hunt hosts Terrier Trials on the Antiquarian property. These trials offer an opportunity to participate in or observe a unique sporting dog activity. The historic home and grounds of Miss Nourse are available for tours by appointment. Contact the Warrenton Antiquarian Society by calling 540-788-9220.
The main parking area located at the end of the WMA access road, serves as the trail head for various foot and horseback trails. Designated trails are marked with either blue or orange painted blazes. The WMA boundary is marked with yellow paint and white boundary signs. Primitive camping is allowed. No restroom or trash disposal facilities are available.
The Weston Wildlife Management Area, located near Casanova, can be reached by taking Meetze Road (Route 643) South from Route 29 at Warrenton to Casanova Road (Route 616). Then, turning left onto Weston Road (Route 747) at Casanova, the WMA entrance is approximately 1 mile past the Casanova Post Office. Follow gravel road to the left to access the parking area.
Images by: Meghan Marchetti