At a Glance

Hours: Dawn to dusk.

Cost: Free.

Tips: Portable restrooms near parking area.

Best Seasons: Fall through early summer.

Breeding Bird Atlas Block: New Windsor CE

Local MOS Chapter: Carroll County Bird Club

Wakefield Valley Park

1000 Fenby Farm Road, Westminster, MD 21158
410-751-5501

Wakefield Valley Park, owned by the City of Westminster in Carroll County, was previously the site of a privately-owned golf club and conference center. In 2016, after the facilities closed, the land was acquired by the City and quickly became a popular place for local people, especially birders, to enjoy the outdoors. The site is now morphing from a groomed golf course into a more natural wildlife habitat.

There is a mix of habitats within the park’s 187 acres. The old water hazards are now small ponds or wetland areas. There are a number of hedgerows, windbreaks, and small clumps of trees and shrubs, and a narrow riparian buffer along a small stream (Copps Branch) that flows through the park and  Copps Branch is a tributary of Double Pipe Creek, and the park lies in the Middle Potomac Watershed.

Along the edges of the park are a few stands of conifers and mixed hardwood trees. Most of the former greens, fairways, and tee boxes are now grassy areas, some of which are mowed regularly, others are not. The park is bounded by private homes along nearly the entire perimeter.

The main trails in the park are former golf cart paths, and the majority are paved and fairly level, but a few short sections are gravel. Bridges carry the trails over streams; there are no wet crossings. The trails start at the parking lot or just behind the old conference center/clubhouse near the parking lot. (See the trail map at link at left.)

There are four main loop trails, color-coded on the trail map, but note that the actual trails at the park are not color-blazed or signed in any way:

  • The Yellow Trail (0.33 miles) lies southeast of the parking lot and circles a pond.
  • The Red Trail (0.73 miles) is east of the parking area and has a pond at its far end.
  • The Green Trail (the longest at 2.5 miles) is accessed from the Yellow Trail and covers the southwest corner of the park, passing several ponds.
  • The Orange Trail (0.61 miles) is north of the parking area, looping around a long windbreak of trees, with a pond at the north end.
There are also two short trails:
  • The Purple Trail (out-and-back, with a one-way distance of 0.18 miles) goes southwest from the parking area, past a pond and the old golfball driving range. You’ll see the distance markers in what is now a big grassy field.
  • The White Trail (0.15 miles) makes an arc around the east and south edges of the parking area, serving as a connector for the Red, Yellow, Purple, and Orange Trails.

Wakefield Valley Park adjoins more public parkland and open space to the east, also owned by the City of Westminster; this long, linear space of over 30 acres borders a residential neighborhood and lies just west of MD Route 31. Here, a paved trail known as the Wakefield Valley Community Trail extends for about 1.7 miles, from Uniontown Road on the north to Long Valley Road on the south. For birders, an attractive feature of this trail is that it follows Copps Branch, providing good habitat for riparian species.

The City of Westminster is engaged in a planning process for further amenities to be built at the former golf course property. The vision for Wakefield Valley Park includes multipurpose playing fields, a dog park, playground, an event pavilion/amphitheater, and possibly a fishing pier at one of the ponds. However, according to the Baltimore Sun, “the city appreciates what Wakefield has become to the community — peaceful, a place for outdoor activities and wildlife viewing — and that the plan is to protect it.” According to the Sun article, the park’s amenities will be confined to a 32-acre core of the park, and most of the park will be left undisturbed, accounting for about 155 acres. The City is also looking into possible uses for the former clubhouse and conference center and for a historic home on the property. There are also two parcels of land that were part of the former golf course that are owned by a development company, not the City, and the fate of those parcels is not known.

Birdlife:

The eBird hotspot for Wakefield Valley Park lists over 105 species to date. There is a separate eBird hotspot, much less used, for the adjoining Wakefield Valley CommunityTrail.

Some of the year-round resident species that neat in or near the park and that are easy to see at any time are Canada Goose; Mallard; Mourning Dove; Black and Turkey Vultures; Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks; Red-Bellied and Downy Woodpeckers and Northern Flicker; Blue Jay; American Crow; Carolina Chickadee; Tufted Titmouse; White-breasted Nuthatch; Carolina Wren; European Starling; Northern Mockingbird; Eastern Bluebird; American Robin; House Finch; American Goldfinch; Song Sparrow; and Northern Cardinal.

Great Blue Herons, Fish Crows, and Red-Winged Blackbirds are present almost year-round, being absent only in the depths of winter when ponds are frozen. Species found sporadically throughout the year include Cooper’s Hawk; Barred Owl; Belted Kingfisher; and House Sparrow.

Breeding species present only in the spring and summer include Chimney Swift; Green Heron; Eastern Wood-Pewee; Willow Flycatcher; Eastern Phoebe; Great-Crested Flycatcher; Eastern Kingbird; White-eyed, Red-eyed, and Warbling Vireos; Northern Rough-winged, Tree and Barn Swallows; Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher; House Wren; Gray Catbird; Brown Thrasher; Cedar Waxwing; Chipping, Field, Sparrows; Eastern Towhee; Orchard and Baltimore Orioles; Brown-headed Cowbird; Common Grackle; Common Yellowthroat; Yellow Warbler; and Indigo Bunting.

In the winter, in addition to the year-round residents listed above, one might also come across Ring-Necked Duck and other waterfowl; Winter Wren; Ruby-crowned and Golden-Crowned Kinglets; Purple Finch; Dark-Eyed Junco, White-Throated Sparrow, and Swamp Sparrow; Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Additional species pass through the park during fall and spring migration, including nine or more warbler species.

Wheelchair Access:

Some of the paved trails are at least partially wheelchair-accessible, but there are slopes and some gravel portions.

Pet Policy:

Pets are allowed on leash; be prepared to pick up after your pet.

Special Features:

The park provides places to fish, and additional activities will become available as the park’s core area is developed. ◾ The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Carroll County Bird Club, offering field trips and meetings with informative programs, all free and open to the public.

Parking:

A large paved parking area is located in the heart of the park near the old clubhouse. Fenby Farm Road will bring you directly to the parking lot and dead-ends there.

Directions:

Wakefield Valley Park is located at the southern terminus of Fenby Farm Road, west of Westminster in Carroll County.

Before you go: Fenby Farm Road leads into the parking lot at Wakefield Valley Park, but be aware that there is a discontinuous section of Fenby Farm Road that goes east from MD Route 31/New Windsor Road; this easterly section of the road does not connect to the park. If using a navigation system, be sure that your GPS is pointing toward the correct section of Fenby Farm Road: use 1000 Fenby Farm Road as the address or enter coordinates 39.572, -77.033.

Also be aware that on maps, it may appear that Wakefield Valley Park can be accessed from Tahoma Farm Road, and although there are foottrails that connect the park to Tahoma Farm Road, there is no vehicle entrance. There is also a foottrail entrance at the south end of the Park along Old New Windsor Pike, but there is no parking at the south entrance.

From Baltimore and Harford and Cecil Counties: From Harford or Cecil County, use I-95 south to reach the Baltimore Beltway/I-695. From the Beltway, take Exit 16 for I-70 westbound toward Frederick. In 15.3 miles, take Exit 76 for MD Route 97 north toward Westminster. Follow Route 97 for about 17.4 miles, to the intersection with MD Route 140. (The name of Route 97 will change as you go north: Hoods Mill Road, then Old Washington Road, then New Washington Road, then a short section as Malcolm Drive.) Turn left to go northwest on Route 140 through the town of Westminster. In 2.8 miles, turn left to go south on MD Route 31/New Windsor Road. In just over 0.5 miles, turn right to go west on Uniontown Road and travel 1.2 miles to Bell Road. Turn left to go south on Bell Road for just 0.3 miles; then turn to go south on Fenby Farm Road. The paved parking area is at the end of Fenby Farm Road, 0.4 miles from Bell Road.

From Frederick and points west: Take I-70 east toward Baltimore. Take Exit 76 for MD Route 97 north toward Westminster. Follow Route 97 for about 17.4 miles, to the intersection with MD Route 140. (The name of Route 97 will change as you go north: Hoods Mill Road, then Old Washington Road, then New Washington Road, then a short section as Malcolm Drive.) Turn left to go northwest on Route 140 through the town of Westminster. In 2.8 miles, turn left to go south on MD Route 31/New Windsor Road. In just over 0.5 miles, turn right to go west on Uniontown Road and travel 1.2 miles to Bell Road. Turn left to go south on Bell Road for just 0.3 miles; then turn to go south on Fenby Farm Road. The paved parking area is at the end of Fenby Farm Road, 0.4 miles from Bell Road.

From southern Maryland: Use US Route 301 to reach US Route 50 eastbound. Take Exit 21 for I-97 northbound toward Baltimore. Alternatively, use MD Route 2 northbound to reach US Route 50 westbound, and then immediately get in the right lane to take Exit 21 for I-97 northbound toward Baltimore. In 17.8 miles, from I-97 take Exit 17 for the Baltimore Beltway toward Towson; you’ll be on the Inner Loop of the Beltway and heading north. In 9.8 miles, take Exit 16 for I-70 westbound toward Frederick. In 15.3 miles, take Exit 76 for MD Route 97 north toward Westminster. Follow Route 97 for about 17.4 miles, to the intersection with MD Route 140. (The name of Route 97 will change as you go north: Hoods Mill Road, then Old Washington Road, then New Washington Road, then a short section as Malcolm Drive.) Turn left to go northwest on Route 140 through the town of Westminster. In 2.8 miles, turn left to go south on MD Route 31/New Windsor Road. In just over 0.5 miles, turn right to go west on Uniontown Road and travel 1.2 miles to Bell Road. Turn left to go south on Bell Road for just 0.3 miles; then turn to go south on Fenby Farm Road. The paved parking area is at the end of Fenby Farm Road, 0.4 miles from Bell Road.

From Annapolis and the Eastern Shore: From the Eastern Shore, use US Route 50 to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and continue toward Annapolis on Route 50. Take Exit 21 for I-97 northbound toward Baltimore. In 17.8 miles, from I-97 take Exit 17 for the Baltimore Beltway toward Towson; you’ll be on the Inner Loop of the Beltway and heading north. In 9.8 miles, take Exit 16 for I-70 westbound toward Frederick. In 15.3 miles, take Exit 76 for MD Route 97 north toward Westminster. Follow Route 97 for about 17.4 miles, to the intersection with MD Route 140. (The name of Route 97 will change as you go north: Hoods Mill Road, then Old Washington Road, then New Washington Road, then a short section as Malcolm Drive.) Turn left to go northwest on Route 140 through the town of Westminster. In 2.8 miles, turn left to go south on MD Route 31/New Windsor Road. In just over 0.5 miles, turn right to go west on Uniontown Road and travel 1.2 miles to Bell Road. Turn left to go south on Bell Road for just 0.3 miles; then turn to go south on Fenby Farm Road. The paved parking area is at the end of Fenby Farm Road, 0.4 miles from Bell Road.

Nearby Sites:

Carroll County: Avondale Wildlife Management AreaHashawha Environmental Center / Bear Branch Nature CenterKrimgold Park ◾ Liberty Reservoir Cooperative Wildlife Management Area – Bollinger Mill Road ◾ Morgan Run Natural Environmental Area ◾ Piney Run Park & Nature Center

Habitats:

ConifersHedgerows Lawn, Ballfields, Golf CourseSuburban Neighborhood Old Fields, Shrubby Meadows Freshwater Pond, Lake, or ReservoirRivers & Streams

Features and Amenities:

BeginnersFishingFree - No Entry Fee at Any TimeHiking/Walking TrailsParkingPets AllowedRestroomsWater ViewWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families

Type:

Community and Urban Parks