Mutton Hunk Fen Natural Area Preserve


Mutton Hunk Fen Natural Area Preserve is located on the seaside of Accomack County on Virginia's Eastern Shore.The protected acreage fronts on Gargathy Bay on the east and is bounded by Whites Creek and Mutton Hunk Branch on the north. A conservation focus of this protection effort was the occurrence of a globally rare sea-level fen community - one of only four in Virginia. Sea-level fens are open, freshwater wetlands located between uplands and wide, oceanside tidal marshes. The freshwater wetland vegetation is sustained by springs at the upland edge that provide large volumes of fresh groundwater. The low nutrient content of the groundwater and the acidic conditions of the soil strongly influence the types of plants found in sea-level fens. The vegetation consists of an interesting combination of acid-tolerant bog plants and tidal freshwater wetland plants capable of surviving in low nutrient areas. Five state-rare plant species occur here.

220 acres formerly under private lease for agricultural production have been converted to migratory songbird habitat, as originally prescribed in the sale agreement.

The protection of this and other properties in the area is a cooperative effort of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, The Nature Conservancy and the Virginia Eastern Shore Land Trust.


Public access facilities include a parking lot and two walking trails - one to the marsh overlooking Gargathy Bay and one along White's creek.

Contact Mutton Hunk Fen Natural Area Preserve

Contact Mutton Hunk Fen Natural Area Preserve

Dot Field, Eastern Shore Region Steward
Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage
(757) 787-5989


Service Area

Services provided in:
  • Accomack County, Virginia