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Charlotte Yancey Humphris Park


Charlotte Yancey Humphris Park, Charlottesville, VA, USA

Best Nature Play Themes

Park Narrative Summary & Directions

The park is characterized by a singular block of new growth forest comprising a diverse set of trees with a meandering, paved path running through it. Gentle changes in microtopography make it feel larger and more appealing for exploration. Plentiful fallen logs dot the undergrowth near the path for kids to climb on and balance. The undergrowth is thick but not impenetrable and deeper into the forest there are mounds to climb on and a runoff channel or two to play in. The creek, which runs along the northern side of the park, is a shallow, slow moving body with rocks and logs bridging it, and generally makes for great risk play. The creek is accessible by one or two sandy paths that gently break from the paved path down to the creek, no further than 25 yards from the main trail. Near the main entrance to the park on Whitewood road, there is a home base with lots of logs for sitting, a park bench, and a magical little shelter made of gnarled branches. This area is quite open before you enter the forest proper, with lots of fallen sticks and a growing branch shelter made by local children.

All Nature Play Themes

Risk Play Opportunities

There is an element of risk associated with playing in the creek, especially after it rains, as the creek drains the surrounding runoff from neighboring developments. The logs that are good for balancing are also risky in terms of children falling off. There is a risk of getting lost in the denser parts of the woods, especially during the summer, though the path is never far.

Transportation Infrastructure

The park is furnished with a paved path that loops through the park and connects it to three surrounding neighborhoods directly. The park is accessible from its main entrance on Whitewood Road via the sidewalk, though there is no parking lot or street parking immediately available. Infrastructure best suits visitors on bike or on foot.

Accessibility Considerations

The park path is fully paved, though it does experience large changes in elevation that could be difficult to navigate. The entrance trails to the park from the neighborhoods are paved as well, except for the entrance from Birnam Wood which is quite rough and requires one to traverse a narrow bridge and a rocky incline to reach the paved path.

Safety Factors

The park feels less safe given the narrowness of the path corridor and the limited visibility across the park.