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Be the First to Cross High Bridge

The dream of walking across “High Bridge” is rapidly becoming a reality. This signature structure of High Bridge Trail State Park is being rehabilitated from the former Norfolk and Southern railroad trestle to allow hiking and bicycling and magnificent views of the Appomattox River valley. Upon completion in early spring 2012, it will join the two completed segments to form the 31 mile linear park. 

Contruction on High Bridge Trail

Upon its opening in early spring, High Bridge will join the two completed segments to form the 31 mile linear park.

A discovery was  recently made of 120 4”x5” glass negatives from which photographs document the two-year construction of the steel viaduct beginning in 1913. These were taken by the N & W resident engineer, Willis W. Vail, and found in his home in 1969 and only recently offered for sale.  The Friends of High Bridge Trail State Park have entered into an agreement to purchase 70 of these many unpublished negatives and donate them to the Virginia State Parks' archives for preservation.

Bob Flippen holds one of the glass negatives

High Bridge Trail's Educational Specialist, Bob Flippen, holds one of the 4”x5” glass negatives taken by the N & W resident engineer, Willis W. Vail.

In order to raise the necessary funds to purchase the negatives, the Friends are sponsoring a contest entitled “The First to Cross”.

The winner of the contest will be the first official park visitor to cross the newly transformed bridge. Entry tickets are available for a donation of $1 or six for $5 and are available in all three Agee Bicycle locations in Richmond and local stores and libraries in Southside Virginia. Tickets may also be purchased by contacting the Friends group by email.

The contest drawing will be held on Sunday, March 11, 2012 at Charley’s Waterfront Café on Main Street in Farmville at 2 p.m. Park educational specialist, Bob Flippen will also talk about Willis Vail and the construction of the 1914 High Bridge.  

Railroad spike from High Bridge Trail State Park

Funds are being generated by the sale of railroad spikes which were saved from the rail bed and the bridge.

Funds are also being generated by the sale of railroad spikes which were saved from the rail bed and the bridge. These are offered for $5 for uncoated with the original patina. Trail spikes with a rust-free, clear enameled finish are for sale for $7 and $10 for High Bridge spikes. All are appropriately labeled according to their origin. These are available at Virginia Heartland Regional Visitor Center and Transportation Museum on the corner of South and Third Streets, one block east of Main Street in Farmville, VA.

Spikes range in price for $5 for uncoated, a rust-free, clear enameled finish for $7  and $10 for High Bridge spikes.

High Bridge Trail State Park is a rails to trails conversion ideally suited for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. For more information, call the park at 434-315-0457 or by email. The Friends of High Bridge Trail is a non-profit citizen support organization supporting High Bridge Trail through volunteer efforts, advocacy and fundraising. The Friends may be contacted by email.

Railroad spikes from the old railroad bed.

Spikes are available for sale at the Virginia Heartland Regional Visitor Center and Transportation Museum on the corner of South and Third Streets in Farmville.

High Bridge Trail is about 31 miles long and runs through Cumberland, Nottoway and Prince Edward counties and the towns of Burkeville, Farmville, Pamplin City, Prospect and Rice.

Entrances - Parking availability:

  • Rice's Depot Road, 1/4-mile off U.S. 460 at Rice, near trail milepost 142
  • River Road, three miles off N. Main St. in Farmville, near trail milepost 146
  • Osborne Road, 1/4-mile off N. Main St. in Farmville, near trail milepost 149
  • Municipal lots in Farmville where the trail intersects with Main St. near trail milepost 150
  • Tuggle Road, off U.S. 460 and near U.S. 15 North, near trail milepost 156
  • Prospect Road, off U.S. 460 at Prospect, near trail milepost 161
  • Elam, off U.S. 460 at Sulpher Spring Rd., near trail milepost 164
  • Heights School Rd., of U.S. Business 460 near Pamplin, near trail milepost 168


Published: 02/08/2012


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