The Land Trust of Virginia (LTV) and The Mosby Heritage Area Association (MHAA) jointly announce the historic “Vineyard Hill” property located in Upperville has been placed under permanent conservation easement.  The easement holder is the Land Trust of Virginia and the property is owned by Fauquier County and is managed as a public park.  The park is situated right along Route 50/John S. Mosby Highway on the eastern end of the village. 

In June 1863, the Confederate cavalry attempted to keep the Union troops from crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains and taking possession of Ashby’s Gap, as General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was moving across the Potomac River, invading the North once again.  The resulting cavalry clashes are referred to as the “Prelude to Gettysburg,” and included the battles of Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville.  The Battle of Upperville, June 21, 1863, began just west of Middleburg.  The fighting continued, through Rector’s Crossroads down to nearby Goose Creek Bridge, east of Upperville.  From the bridge, which carried the Ashby’s Gap Turnpike across and down into Upperville, the fighting fell back to Vineyard Hill, where the Federal cavalry met the Confederate cavalry led by General J.E.B. Stuart and General Wade Hampton.  The fighting that day concluded just west of Upperville along Trappe Road.  These cavalry battles involved over 21,000 soldiers, traversing roadways and villages still extant today.

Conservation easements protect open space, farms, forests, rivers, streams, battlefields, vistas, and historic sites in perpetuity.  When a landowner donates a conservation easement, they maintain ownership of their land and the land remains on the county tax rolls.  What changes is that the land’s development rights are either extinguished entirely or greatly reduced, by joint negotiation between the landowner and the easement holder.

Beyond the wonderful scenic values and significant historic values that are now protected, the Upperville Park had a guardian in Mr. Mike Smith.  Last October, LTV helped Mr. Smith put his own 350-acre Atoka Farm under easement, which is also a very significant battlefield property.  At that time he generously agreed to also cover the County and LTV’s costs to put the Upperville Park into easement.  He is truly a champion for conservation.

The Land Trust of Virginia partners with private landowners who wish to voluntarily protect and preserve their working farmland or natural lands with significant scenic, Battle of Uppervillehistoric, and ecological value for the benefit of our community using conservation easements.