Hiking at Windsor Castle Park, Smithfield
Though there is no castle in Windsor Castle Park, there is an eponymous historic manor house, c. 1725, and plenty of other reasons to put this beautiful riverside park on your day-hiking agenda, even if getting there requires an hour drive as it does from my home in Virginia Beach.
Visitors to Windsor Castle Park are treated to almost 4 miles of sustainable, ADA-compliant and beautifully maintained and marked woodland hiking trails, a mountain bike trail, picnic and open area spaces, a kayak/canoe launch and a fishing pier. The trail system is especially appealing with rolling elevation changes; deeply wooded sections along picturesque marshes—some with views of Smithfield Station—five wooden foot bridges across both marshes and cooling creeks; and graceful sweeps bordered by the tidy manor house, its 11 outbuildings, and pastoral orchards, vineyards and farm land where horses graze.
I first learned about this park from our dog walker and, indeed, canine companions on leashes are welcome on the trails. Off-leash, four-legged visitors are treated to their own park, complete with a “baby” swimming pool in summer and a mini-agility course year-round.
With an appealing “in the middle of nowhere” vibe, the Park’s 200+ acres are, nonetheless, just minutes by foot from Smithfield’s charming Main Street. A cool weather jaunt will likely not leave you too sweaty for post-hike sustenance—try Smithfield Inn, Smithfield Gourmet Bakery and Café or Smithfield Ice Cream Parlor among others—or browsing in any one of a number of seductive shops, with Wharf Hill Antiques being a personal favorite for its stunning rural-chic aesthetic. Heck, stay the night at the Inn or Mansion on Main.
Windsor Castle Park, 301 Jericho Road, Smithfield. 757-365-4200