The Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art’s Birmingham Hill Preserve was the site of the first and second defensive lines of the Continental Army during the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777. It is hallowed ground where Americans fought and died to establish our liberties and a new nation. Together with adjoining and nearby lands, it is the site of the Battle of Brandywine–one of the largest and heaviest engagements of the Revolutionary War where soldiers of the American Continental Army under General George Washington engaged in mortal combat for 11 hours against the British Army commanded by General Sir William Howe.
The Preserve totals 113 acres and is located in central Birmingham Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania near the Birmingham Friends Meetinghouse. It is bounded on the north, east and south, respectively, by Meetinghouse, Birmingham and Wylie Roads. The Preserve was acquired in two parts over a period of eleven years. It supports over 100 acres of hayfields and a 10.8-acre woodland. The headwater springs to Renwick Run feed a small pond on the property’s northern edge that outflows to neighboring lands.
The Preserve is bordered two sides and part of a third by private lands forever preserved with conservation easements. It is in close proximity to hundreds of acres of other protected lands, including Birmingham Township’s Sandy Hollow Park. The Preserve is situated within the Birmingham Township Historic District, as well as the 10 square mile Brandywine Battlefield National Historic Landmark. Nearly half of the land within the Landmark (3,130 acres) is permanently protected and of this land Brandywine holds conservation easements protecting 740 acres and owns in fee an additional 420 acres.
Birmingham Hill Preserve is partially open to the public every day from dawn to dusk. Visitors are invited to park in the parking lot off Birmingham Road, and walk the grass walking trail around the perimeter of the front field or walk the perimeter trail along Birmingham Road and Meetinghouse Road.
Out of respect for those who sacrificed their lives for their country during the Battle of Brandywine, dogs are not permitted on what is considered to be hallowed ground. Visitors are requested to observe the following:
- staying on existing mowed trails
- refraining from cutting, removing or disturbing vegetation
- picking up litter
- avoiding marked scientific research sites
- not taking any motorized vehicles beyond the parking lot
- not smoking, building fires or consuming alcoholic beverages
Vision for Birmingham Hill Preserve
Brandywine Conservancy planners are working to prepare a Master Plan to determine the long-range use and management of Birmingham Hill Preserve. The following vision statement will provide a framework for the Master Plan.
Birmingham Hill Preserve will be a historic preserve owned and managed by the Brandywine Conservancy and will be open to the public. The Preserve will reflect the landscape as it may have been during 1777. It will honor the history of the Battle of Brandywine through low impact education and interpretation. The Preserve is expected to attract historic preservation specialists, researchers, academics, and historians from across the country. The Brandywine Conservancy anticipates working in close collaboration with local, state and federal government agencies, non-profit organizations, museums and other qualified partners in offering interpretive and educational programs featuring the Preserve, while minimizing resource damaging construction. The Birmingham Hill Preserve will be a key location in the interpretation of historic sites, landscapes, and people relevant to the Battle of Brandywine.