Windsor Castle Park

After the bike ride from (almost) hell, Dirt Man and I had a choice the next day of sitting around and moaning and groaning all day or getting out and limbering up. We chose to go on a short (three and a half mile) hike. We decided to explore a new park. We went to Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield. We were WAY impressed. Dirt Man loved the site development…civil engineer in him scrutinizes all sorts of things most of us overlook. I’m not going to post the history behind it, but you can look here if you’re interested.

We covered three and a half of the 3.9 miles of trails. We skipped the boring trail that ran adjacent to the road. We took all of the trails through the woods, over the marshes, and along the water. There are benches galore to sit, rest, and absorb the scenery. There is also a fishing pier and a kayak lift/ramp.

There were a few brick ruins of old homes. This is a partial standing chimney. There were daffodils throughout the woods surrounding them which was once someone’s yard. There’s a small gravesite of two burials on the other side of the property between the manor house and the water.

This is one of the awesome bridges that crosses the marsh. The trails are wide and are made of stone dust…very good walking paths.

This is a mud trail that runs under the bridge, formed from the tide going in and out.

Get a load of that ginormous knot on that tiny tree! I have no idea what would have caused that.

The green of these fields against the stark trees is stunning.

I had to photograph one of the beautiful Bradford Pear trees.

And there is a dog park. Wylie was excited to make new friends.

All the dogs were crazy over the water boy, or anyone who chose to fill the communal water bowl, or any human that would pet them.

These purple flowers (They are too pretty to call weeds!) grew in huge masses to create entire fields of purple glory.

This is a hole in a tree that looks like a heart. I love the way the inside of the back of the tree looks like a rough wood floor. Cool, huh?

It was a fabulously warm day with a gentle breeze and stunning clouds in the sky. I always love to capture the water, trees, and sky together.

There were a few kayakers in the water.

The hollowed base of this tree creates a cave. You can’t really see if from the angle I took the photo because I was trying to show the hole on the other side where the dogs have been running through the tree! You can actually see the path.

Here is a tree house that is in the woods. I always wanted a tree house when I was little. I had to settle for bulding lean-tos in the woods.

While I was disappointed that there was not a castle, there was a manor house. This is NOT it though. I took a pic of the house which is really just a huge old plantation home with four chimneys. However, as we left the park and rounded into town we came upon this architectural marvel. This was close enough to a castle for me. Sorry that the photo doesn’t get the whole house but I was hanging out the window taking it while Dirt Man was driving. Yes, we are just a couple of nuts with a furry dog. But hey, we got sushi when we left….therefore our day was complete.

97 thoughts on “Windsor Castle Park

  1. Interesting, I see that “On August 30, 2010, it was reported in the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the town of Smithfield will request proposals from people interested in buying or leasing the Windsor Castle manor house …” I wonder who lives there now?

    Love the bottom house, very American Gothic 🙂

    • There was a sign posted that said you could lease it for events. The estate sits in the center of the park, so I assume it is owned by the park which is now owned by the city but in litigation. I believe it was privately built and was bid upon by a private person and the city and then money was gifted to the city for it’s purchase…I think that was another story I read about it’s origins. The benefactor was a Luter who I believe to be Luter foods, I think associated with Smithfield Foods. It was all quite confusing, but the park is incredible… loved that other house and there were several similar homes on that street, very quaint!

  2. AWESOME photos, Suzi!

    “The green of these fields against the stark trees is stunning.”

    You said it! Stunning! We haven’t seen a sign of green here so far. Everything is still brown.

    Love the shot of the bridge. That is soooooooooo cool-looking! And I adore that last shot of the house. So Victorian!

    Thanks for sharing your day in the park. Enjoyed!


  3. Love it!

    That tree with the knot looks pregnant! The bridge over the marsh makes me want to fly across it. And I love that the dogs have a place to enjoy each other’s company. Thanks, Suzi!

  4. These photos are wonderful. Makes me feel like I was right there with you. That tree house is amazing. I always wanted one too growing up. I always knew exactly what tree I’d build one in – the mango tree in our front yard which I used to love to climb. Then my grandfather cut it down to make room for a driveway. Sigh.

  5. I think that moving is the best “cure” for a sore body. Good for you and Dirt Man!!!!

    Lovely pictures. Looks like a beautiful place.

    I would have never even thought of those flowers as weeds, but then I already told you I don’t think of most plants as weeds because I don’t know better.

    Thanks for taking us on your hike.

    • It really is pretty…there was so much to photograph! I want to take a stroll through town next time and take pictures of some of the old houses…they are way cool.

  6. Great photos – so much more history than we find out west. My favorite is the heart shape on the tree. I love hearts and the texture of the wood makes it so interesting. The details on that manor house were amazing, too. Again, nothing like that here 🙂

  7. The park pictures are wonderful. Do you go on walking trails often? You gave me that impression.

    The tree house is cute. I always wanted to make one but it was just my sister and me. Neither of harboured a desire to be an architect.

  8. Great pics, what a fabulous place but I think i would have walked 🙂 Doesn’t the bottom house remind you of that one in the Norman Bates movie? Congrats on FP

    • We did walk, just not the 45 miles back home…that’s when I was hanging out the window taking that one last shot! Ha, Norman Bates…a park ranger at another park reminded us of him!

  9. Congrats on being freshly pressed!

    The house reminds me of the old house we used to live in for some reason. Great pics. I woder what other critters use that walk through in that tree and I wonder who built the tree house?

  10. Stunning images. Love the old bricks and the bridge pics. I make sure the camera is always tucked away when we head out for a hike. You never know what brilliant images you may find. Congrats on Freshly Pressed.

    • Yes, I’ve been there and blogged about it…loved it! I didn’t focus completely on Wash Woods though…that was the bike ride to NC and back via the beach and we pushed our bikes through about five miles of sand dunes!!!!

    • Virginia does have some great parks…also loved Sandy Bottom in Hampton when we went there. I think the structure of this one and the range of scenery make it the best one for walking. And I by all means plan to make many return visits to Windsor Castle!

  11. Hello SuziCate, just stopping by to say I really enjoyed this post. I adore the title of your blog ‘The Water Witch’s Daughter’ – It absolutely fires my imagination coupled with the header picture you’ve chosen. Beautiful stuff.

  12. Ohh I LOVE your photos…such natural beauty–everything has such a homely feel to it. And I’m a HUGE fan of Victorian houses…just seeing one makes me want to jump inside one and take a long long nap:)

  13. Great Shots! Your pictures just gives me the feeling of wanting to leave my office right now and experience that wonderful outdoor experience that you were able to communicate in photography! Nice Job!

  14. some great photographs. loved the heart-shaped hole in the tree trunk. nature sometimes does awesomely artistic things

  15. photojournalism – u do it well and the trip w u is charming as your guest. i especially liked seeing u in my minds eye leaning out of the moving car window, furry dog competing for window wind space, dirt covered husband grumbling at the wheel!

    • Dirt Man was grumbling, “Get farther out of the window! Hold the camera straight! What do you mean you missed it?” However, he was clean. Wylie was tired from all the playing at the dog park.

  16. Cool pix.
    Sounds like your lifestyle would also work well in Calgary. I don’t know too many people who don’t hike, mountain bike, ski and golf – not usually the same day though.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Hope that sushi was great!

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