Physical Plant

Graduate students with Environmental Science faculty help clear trails at EV-Henwood Nature Preserve

Ev-Henwood Nature Preserve

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History and Land Use:

Archaeological evidence suggests that, prior to the arrival of the white man, Ev-Henwood was used by southeastern North Carolina Indians, probably of a Sioux-speaking tribe. Game, fish, and natural vegetation in the surrounding swamps and forests could have supported small families of hunters and gatherers inhabiting the region. The property has been in Mr. Troy Henry's family nearly continuously since his maternal ancestor John Bassett-Evans came from England via Charleston and acquired the property in the 1790's. As have most of his descendants, he and his family used the property primarily for farming. Members of the family served during the Civil War, and Union forces advanced in the vicinity of Ev-Henwood, but there is no evidence that any battles were fought on the land. The land has been used in the past for farming and logging, but was not lived upon until Mr. Henry took up residence in 1954. Farm crops have included corn, peas, beans, sweet potatoes, peanuts, cotton, pears, grapes, hay, and soybeans. Mistletoe and holly branches were collected during the Depression years and sent to New York for sale for cash at Christmas; thus many of the old holly trees on the property lack lower branches. By 1850, the family was involved in the naval stores industry and most of the long-leaf pines were cut to obtain raw pine sap (soft turpentine) for distribution to area distilleries. Lumber and shingles may also have been produced from the "piney woods" on the property. Upon acquisition by the University in 1991, the Preserve was named "Ev-Henwood" upon the recommendation of Mr. Henry. It was derived from a combination of the names "Evans" and "Henry" which are Mr. Henry's maternal and paternal family names. Its pronunciation sounds like "heaven-wood".


Features of Interest

Map of the EV Henwood Trails

Learning Trails:

There are two self-guided learning trails at Ev-Henwood: The David Sieren Learning Trail and the Troy Henry Learning Trail are comprised of several trails with plant identification labels and learning stations which interpret and explain some of the natural features of Ev-Henwood. Each trail takes about two hours and a 33-page group leader's manual is available to be downloaded from our Web site.


Most of the uplands are dominated by oaks and hickories, with loblolly pine and other hardwoods as frequent associates. The lowlands along the blackwater Town Creek and its branches have a canopy of various combinations of bald cypress, black gum, tulip tree, red maple, swamp chestnut oak, and other floodplain species. Many of the slopes are characterized by the presence of beech, which is indicative of a coastal plain subtype of a mesic mixed hardwood forest. Although not extremely rare in the coastal plain, this subtype usually occurs only in small areas, especially on north facing slopes. The most interesting trees along many of the trails are labeled. The elevated areas along the Dogwood and Holly Loop Trails are apparently either natural geologic formations caused by ancient upwellings of marine clays or deposits of ancient rivers. Pine Grove is an area with several large loblolly pines and one of the few remaining long leaf pines on the property. Other large trees in the grove include tulip trees, sweet gums, and laurel oaks. The "official plant" of Ev-Henwood is Stewartia, a shrub in the tea family. It is related to camellias and its large white and maroon flowers are usually open around Mother's Day in May. It can be seen most abundantly along the Stewartia and Beechnut Trails. An old tar kiln, which was probably last used in the early 1900's, is located at the end of the Dogwood Trail and is one of the largest and best preserved tar kilns in southeastern North Carolina. Further information about the kiln and the naval stores industry is available at the naval stores display at the tar kiln.

Fields and Ponds:

Fields are maintained to provide habitat for birds and other wildlife. The ponds are man-made and both were developed in low areas prior to acquisition of Ev-Henwood by the University in 1991. At least one alligator reportedly resides in the large pond, which is usually covered with a layer of duckweeds which are small aquatic flowering plants.

Town Creek:

There are several very large bald cypress trees along the portion of Town Creek which borders the property. The one marked on the map in the Ev-Henwood brochure is nearly 20 feet in circumference and more than 6 feet in diameter. Smaller trees in similar habitats in southeastern North Carolina have been determined to be more than 1000 years old. The Beechnut Trail is part of an old wagon road which followed along Town Creek and is believed to pre-date the Civil War. It has been suggested that it may have been part of the original coastal road between Wilmington and Charleston. There is an old reservoir along Town Creek Trail. It is short canal which connected at both ends to Town Creek and was used to accumulate water during dry periods. Logs were placed in the down-stream side of the reservoir; the reservoir was then opened and the water flowing out moved the logs into the main run of Town Creek for shipment to Wilmington. Off Loblolly Loop a short trail leads to remnants of a logging channel which was cut through the flood plain to allow access to Town Creek.


Guidelines for Use

Ev-Henwood, which is free and open to the public, is available to any individual or group interested in nature appreciation, education, or research. Bird watchers, nature photographers, hikers, teachers and students, researchers, and members of natural history clubs are some of those for whom Ev-Henwood is a desirable field trip destination. 

Ev-Henwood is open from dawn to dusk, seven days a week. If you need to be on the property at night, you must notify the Grounds Manager in advance. All litter should be placed in the receptacles provided for that purpose or taken with you upon departure. A portable toilet and picnic tables are available on site and may be used at your convenience. Fires are not permitted anywhere in Ev-Henwood and smoking is discouraged. Hunting, firearms, and alcoholic beverages are prohibited. Vehicles should be kept on the roads or in the designated parking area. Brochures with maps are available on site and you are welcome to take them with you upon departure.

Dogs are are not allowed at Ev-Henwood.

Unless you are involved in approved teaching or research activities, collection or other disturbance of the plants or animals is not permitted. Current checklists of the plants, animals, and fungi, and a key to the trees of Ev-Henwood are available from the Coordinator or the Grounds Manager. Animals and poisonous plants are not controlled in the Preserve so you should watch your step. As in most natural areas in southeastern North Carolina, insect repellent is recommended during the warmer months of the year.

In case of emergency dial 911 for fire, rescue, ambulance, or police. There are neighbors near the Ev-Henwood entrance. The nearest hospital is New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington and the address of Ev-Henwood is 6150 Rock Creek Road, N.E., near Town Creek.

For information contact Jacob Inabnit at 910-962-3107,


Donations are needed to increase the Ev-Henwood Endowment Fund which has been established to support the long-term care and development of the property. In addition, the current wish list includes additional picnic tables, benches, and funds or lumber for the construction of bridges, boardwalks, information boards, and other structures, and for trail improvements. To make a contribution, contact University Advancement at 910-962-3626 or

Ev-Henwood web page information developed and photos provided by Dr. David Sieren.