Willow Grove Nature Educ. Ctr
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Fall/Winter Programs and Events Calendar

Fall/Winter Newsletter

Festivals This Fall
Hawk Fest, September 13 and 14
Fall Harvest Festival, October 11 and 12

Night Out with Nature - Friday evenings this fall:
September 5, October 3, November 7, December 12

Maryland Master Naturalist classes - Fall, 2014 Click here for Flyer
Cromwell Valley Park and Marshy Point Nature Center will be co-hosting a Maryland Master Naturalist class beginning on September 20th. The class will be held on Saturdays from 9-3 for 10 weeks. Topics will include plants, reptiles and amphibians, trees, geology, natural history, interpretation, and much more!

Nature Quest 2014
Discover Baltimore County parks and trails.
Download your Passport.

Cromwell Valley Park Council on Facebook Visit us on Facebook

Cromwell Valley Park

The 426-acre park was acquired by the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks starting in 1993. It is a stream valley park comprised of pasture, cultivated gardens, open fields, woods, hedgerows, orchards and wooded piedmont hills. The diversity of this habitat makes it an excellent area for wildlife. There are many species of raptors such as the Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, and Great Horned Owl, which prey on a healthy population of small mammals such as rabbits, deer mice, and meadow voles. Lime KilnsWhite-tailed deer and red fox are also plentiful. Songbird populations include Baltimore Oriole, Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, Indigo Bunting, Eastern Bluebird, and many others. Belted Kingfishers and Great Blue Herons are often seen around the stream, Minebank Run.

The valley has been settled since the early 1700s and used primarily for farming. Some iron ore mining took place in the area with the largest of at least four mines located at the stream's starting point - hence the stream's name. Later, due to an easily quarried supply of Cockeysville marble, the valley became a production area for agricultural lime. Lime kilns were built, and used to heat the marble by firewood, eventually creating lime powder. The powder was then collected and bagged at the base of the furnace. The lime kilns in the valley operated until the 1920s and were owned by the Towson, Jenifer, and Shanklin families. The remnants of several of these are still visible in the park today (see photos).

Today's park was acquired from three property owners from March 1993 to December 1994, primarily with Program Open Space funds. The first 220 acre parcel was purchased from the heirs of Robert Merrick, a prominent Baltimore banker. The house and barn were built in the mid-1800s by A.W. Shanklin, who named it "Willow Grove Farm." The center 102 acres, the Sherwood Farm, were purchased from the heirs of Mrs. Frances Wellington Sherwood. On this property sits the beautiful Sherwood House. Dating from 1935, this house was designed by the Baltimore architectural firm of Palmer and Lambdin. Managing this property as a gentleman's farm, the Sherwoods operated apple and peach orchards, sold eggs and chickens, and raised farm animals for the family's own kitchen. The third property, the Good Fellowship Farm, was purchased from Mr. C. Franklin Eck, who operated a Christmas tree farm.

The educational focus at Cromwell Valley Park is in three major areas - farming, history, and natural history. A portion of the park is a demonstration farm, illustrating sustainable and organic farming.

Information Kiosk

Across from the Willow Grove parking lot, park visitors will find an information kiosk. Information about park programs, rules and regulations, and trail maps are available at the kiosk.

Attention all park visitors - Park gates closing!
A Message from the Park Manager & Cromwell Valley Park Council

Cromwell Valley Park is open for public visitation 365 days a year from sunrise to sunset. The only after hours use of the Park is during staff led programming.

In order to enhance Park security, the gates at Willow Grove Farm and Sherwood Farm will now be closed each evening at sunset and re-opened at sunrise. All CVP visitors should make sure that they leave the Park before the gates are closed. Vehicles in the Park after sunset may be locked in overnight. Any persons in the Park after sunset may also be charged with trespassing. Everyone's co-operation with this new procedure will insure that CVP remains a safe and secure place for everyone in Baltimore County to enjoy.