Just east of downtown Farmville, a 19th century railroad bridge has been converted into a pedestrian trail that provides a sweeping panoramic view of the Virginia countryside. High Bridge spans nearly half a mile, reaches a height of 125 feet above the Appomattox River and is well worth the hour drive from Lynchburg.
Part of a 31-mile trail system and state park that connects Burkeville, Rice, Farmville, Prospect and Pamplin City the trail has become popular with walkers, bikers and even horseback riders. Though the trail is wide, level and flat it’s almost a mile from the parking lot to the bridge. The deck of High Bridge originally consisted of almost 2000 railroad ties. Along the bridge are several lookouts and covered benches to sit upon and reflect. At either end of the bridge are picnic tables.
Built in 1853 as part of the South Side Railroad the original single track, wooden bridge had a pedestrian walkway beside the tracks and a wagon bridge below. The bridge was a vital link for trade between Lynchurg and Petersburg.
In April 1865, during the Civil War, the bridge became of strategic importance to the Confederate and Union armies as they moved west from Richmond toward Appomattox Courthouse. After the Battle of Sailor’s Creek, a band of Union soldiers attempted to destroy the bridge but were thwarted by arriving Confederate horsemen. The following morning the Confederates set fire to the bridge in an attempt to prevent the Union soldiers from crossing. Despite the damage done to the bridge, the Union troops managed to follow in pursuit on the lower wagon bridge. In 1914 the railroad company completed the steel-tower bridge that remains standing today.
After our walk this past Sunday we stopped for lunch at Walker’s Diner. This 1950′s era diner is best known for it’s homemade french fries. They have the usual diner breakfast fare, served until 11 each day. The lunch menu consists of nine varieties of hamburgers, several subs, wraps and other sandwiches along with the appropriate diner sides. The people we saw eating dessert looked very satisfied. Farmville has several antique shops, various specialty shops but is best known for Greenfront.
To get to the High Bridge State Park parking area closest to the bridge take Route 460 toward Farmville. Travel Main Street through downtown. Once you pass the shops & restaurants turn right onto River Road. The parking lot is about 3 miles down River Road on your left. To walk toward the bridge follow the trail toward Richmond, not Farmville.
We plan to return in the fall when the leaves have begun to turn colors. The colors should be spectacular! As you walk the bridge trail you are in the treetops and we can’t wait to see the colored leaves against the dark green of the native pine trees.
If you choose to stay with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast your 4-course breakfast will keep you from being hungry until after your hike. We can pack you a picnic lunch to enjoy along the trail if you choose not to dine in Farmville. Call us at 434.846.1388 and we’ll help you enjoy a day with Mother Nature.
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