Robertson Millpond Preserve

Formed by a dam built in the 1820s, Robertson Millpond is a rare place.  Bring your boat to experience the only bald cypress, blackwater swamp habitat in Wake County.  The 85-acre site, owned and managed by Wake County Parks, Recreation, & Open Space, will be minimally developed and open to the public on weekends and some holidays.

Robertson Millpond Preserve. Image by Scott Pohlman.
Robertson Millpond Preserve. Image by Scott Pohlman.

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

Exceptional Features

  • Millpond and Buffalo Creek Floodplain – Cypress-gum blackwater subtype. Farthest north of this type.  (National Heritage Program Significant Natural Heritage Area)

Outstanding Natural Features

  • Priority wildlife habitat (NC Wildlife Action Plan): Coastal Plain floodplain forest habitat. Coastal Plain Semipermanent Impoundment – Cypress-Gum blackwater subtype in Classification of the Natural Communities of NC.
  • Priority wildlife species (NC Wildlife Action Plan): Anhinga, Double-crested Cormorant, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Wood Pewee, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Red- headed Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Prairie Warbler.
  • Priority species possibly present, but not confirmed: Chuck-Wills-Widow, Whip- Poor-Will, Chimney Swift, Orchard Oriole, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Wood Thrush, Four-toed Salamander, Spotted Salamander, Marbled Salamander, Eastern Hognose Snake and Common Ribbon Snake
  • One of few sites in Wake County with confirmed Cottonmouth.

Cultural and Historic Features

  • Robertson Mill site foundation and dam is together a designated historic landmark.
  • Site includes the stone foundation of a mill that was constructed in the 1820s by William W. Avera. The mill itself was demolished in the 1970s, but the foundation remains.
  • The dam, also constructed in the 1820s by Avera, is part masonry on the east and part earthen embankment on the west with the spillway over the masonry portion.
  • The site served a significant focal point of economic activity in the Eagle Rock Wendell community for almost two centuries.

General Goals for the Property.  Robertson Mill Pond Preserve will be a nature preserve characterized by a high diversity of native species and habitats that support natural heritage values and serves as a venue for stewardship demonstrations, environmental education, and an outdoor learning laboratory. The ecological functions of the wetlands and associated cypress forest make Buffalo Creek a significant corridor. The mill site and dam are designated as a historic landmark and will be interpreted for the public to highlight the role that the site played in the Eagle Rock Wendell community for almost two centuries.

Notes for Visitors.  The preserve opened to the public in October, 2015 with a gravel parking lot, a non- motorized boat launch from dock or from grass launch site, a few picnic tables, and fishing from designated areas. Visitors will be able to peek into the old mill foundation, see an original grinding millstone, and learn more about history from the preserve’s brochure.

There are no restrooms on site and visitors must bring their own boats to paddle the pond. The preserve’s future plans could include historic and nature interpretative signage, and boardwalks through the wetlands.

Location.  6333 Robertson Pond Road, Wendell NC

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