Turnipseed Nature Preserve


The Turnipseed Preserve is a 221-acre site located within Wake County in the Marks Creek watershed, a sub-basin of the larger Neuse River watershed. The Marks Creek landscape is a 50,000-acre watershed that straddles the Wake-Johnston county line, 12 miles northeast of Clayton.  The Turnipseed Preserve is owned by Wake County and managed by Wake County’s Division of Parks, Recreation, and Open Space.



WakeNature Features.  To be designated a WakeNature Preserves, an area must contain one or more qualifying features.  The Turnispeed WakeNature Preserve contains exceptional, outstanding, and other natural features.

Exceptional Features

  • Michaux’s sumac (Federally endangered)
  • Marks Creek Floodplain (NC Natural Heritage Program)
  • Granitic flatrock and outcrops (NC Natural Heritage Program)

Outstanding Features

  • Priority wildlife habitat (NC Wildlife Action Plan): small wetland communities (borrow pits), aquatic riparian habitats, rock outcrops, beaver-impounded wetlands
  • Priority wildlife species (NC Wildlife Action Plan): Cooper’s Hawk, Northern Harrier, Sora, Chuck-Wills-­Widow, Whip-­Poor-­Will, Chimney Swifts, Hairy Woodpecker, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Savannah Sparrow, Orchard Oriole,
    Yellow-­billed Cuckoos, Eastern Wood­‐Peewees, Cerulean Warbler, Prairie
    Warblers, Magnolia Warbler, Chestnut-­sided Warbler, Golden-­winged Warbler, Blue-­winged Warbler, Canada Warbler, Spotted Salamanders, Marbled Salamanders, and the Eastern Box Turtle

Other Features

  • Priority wildlife habitat (NC Wildlife Action Plan): early successional habitat (fallow and agricultural fields that need restoration)
  • Boulders
  • Bottomland hardwood forest
  • Mixed pine-hardwood forest

General Goals for the Property. Turnipseed Preserve will be a nature preserve characterized by a high diversity of native species and natural habitats that supports natural heritage values and serves as a venue for stewardship demonstrations, environmental education, and an outdoor learning laboratory. Although there is an existing network of unofficial trails on site, there is no parking available and limited infrastructure for general public access; more limited access and guided tours are more appropriate for the next three years. The site is part of a larger assemblage of open space property in the Marks Creek watershed, which the County is working to connect to create larger tracts of protected open space.  In the long term, as part of this larger assemblage, the site will be open to the public for nature-based recreation.

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