In part one of Exploring the Lower Chickahominy River we took a look at the Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area in Charles City County. Now, in part two, we will make our way to James City County to explore Brickyard Landing. Just north of the Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area is Brickyard Landing. Situated on the Chickahominy River, it was originally a county-owned boat ramp, but in recent years it expanded from 0.33 acres to a 119-acre park. This expansion was made possible by a Land and Water Conservation Fund (LCFW) grant.
Alister Perkinson, Parks Administrator for the James City County Department of Parks and Recreation, says that he believes the most exciting part about the expansion is the fact that it will provide increased outdoor recreational and water access to residents and visitors. “The expansion will also provide residents with hiking, picnicking, and wildlife viewing opportunities,” he said. “The prospect of adding a large riverfront parcel to our public parklands in the county was an exciting one, and staff and citizens alike are looking forward to the development of the park.”
Formerly known as Hog Neck, Brickyard Landing has a unique history. From 1646 to the 1760s, the park was used as a tobacco inspection site warehouse, with wharves for shipping. Perkinson said, “In the late 1800s the property was used to make and store cordwood and railroad ties and shipping products via the Chickahominy and James rivers.”
“From the early 1900s, the land’s clay-rich soil was used by several brick-making companies until 1953. From 1955 until 1997, Newport News Shipbuilding owned the property and used it as an employee recreation area with restrooms, fireplaces, athletic equipment, and picnic shelters.”
During this time, the property was named the Shipyard Recreation and Picnic Area on the Chickahominy River. Over the years, it became commonly referred to as Brickyard Landing.
What do visitors have to look forward to when the park is developed? Perkinson says that staff has made efforts to clean up the park through trash and debris removal. It also offers visitors a newly repaired pier for fishing and boating access. “Throughout this spring, several other improvements are on the way including a new courtesy pier for the boat ramp, renovated picnic shelters, restored restroom facilities, and increased parking,” says Perkinson. In addition to these improvements, James City County is focusing on improved accessibility for people of all ability levels. This will include a paved ADA accessible trail which will connect amenities. Future plans also include increased parking and interpretive signs, as well as improved stormwater management, boat ramp, restroom facilities, and hiking/biking trails.
This exciting new endeavor will bring increased access to the beautiful Chickahominy River for outdoor enthusiasts of all ability and experience levels. Outdoor recreational opportunities offered at the park will help to increase tourism and promotes healthy living. Whether you are an avid kayaker or just looking to get outside and enjoy the natural environment, this is the place for you!
Be on the lookout for part three of our adventure where we will explore another park in James City County, Chickahominy Riverfront Park.