Red Clay Valley Scenic Byway
Download a map of the Red Clay Valley Scenic Byway
Delaware Nature Society's nomination of twenty-eight roads into the Scenic and Historic Highways program was approved in April 2005, making the Red Clay Valley Scenic Byway the State's second designated byway.
The nomination application received a strong endorsement by the state agency Evaluation Committee and the Scenic and Historic Advisory Board. Members of the Evaluation Committee indicated that "[T]he quality of the remaining natural and scenic resources in this area are extremely significant. Not only the type of landscape but also the large amount of it that exists in its undisturbed state, makes it special and unique to Northern New Castle County and Delaware." And, "[T]he resources identified in this application and both the current and future preservation efforts of those resources, 'epitomizes what the Scenic Byway Program is all about'."
History of Preservation
Since moving its headquarters to Ashland in 1976, the Delaware Nature Society has placed high priority on the permanent preservation of the Red Clay Valley. The valley includes spectacular natural areas first described by the Nature Society in the mid-1970s: Red Clay Ravine, Red Clay Creek, Burrows Run, Coverdale Woods, and Red Clay Reservation, (the Ashland Nature Center is situated on a portion of the latter). These natural areas sustain an abundance of plants and animals and contain some of the richest old growth forest in the Red Clay Creek watershed.
A Unique Byway
Most scenic roads nominated for designation as state scenic and historic highways involve a single road corridor. The Red Clay Valley Scenic Byway includes twenty-eight secondary roads in northern New Castle County that form an interconnected and interdependent network closely linked to the Red Clay Creek and its watershed area. The network is bounded on the north by the Pennsylvania state line, on the east by the Kennett Pike (route 52), on the south by Barley Mill Road and on the south and west by the Lancaster Pike (Route 48/41). The roads of the Red Clay Valley are not a simple grid, but a complex network that conforms to the contours of the land and the Red Clay Creek.
Experience the Byway
Travelers who take the time to absorb the history and natural beauty of Delaware's Red Clay Valley are impressed by what it offers. The remnants of a nineteenth century grist, snuff and paper milling industry can be seen at Yorklyn, historically known as Auburn or Auburn Mills. Steam train enthusiasts ride on the Historic Red Clay, Inc (Wilmington and Western) railway from Greenbank to Hockessin. The mature forest and steep slopes of the Red Clay Ravine Natural Area are partially visible from Route 82 and accessible to Delaware Nature Society program participants. Roads originally traveled by horse and buggy, following the topography of the land, inextricably link these scenic vistas.
Take a drive on Rt. 82 (from PA state line to Yorklyn)
DelDOT Secretary Carolann Wicks formally approved the Corridor Management Plan for the 28-road network that composes the Red Clay Valley Scenic Byway on May 12, 2008. The Corridor Management Plan describes the goals, strategies, and responsibilities for conserving and enhancing the Valley's cultural, scenic, historic, and natural resources.
Prepared in collaboration with a Steering Committee composed of local organizations, government agencies, businesses, and Byway residents, the Corridor Management Plan emphasizes conservation and preservation strategies and reflects a shared vision for the long-term stewardship of the Red Clay Valley Scenic Byway.
Download the Corridor Management Plan and Resource Inventory Maps - Corridor Management Plan and Resource Inventory Maps. Copies of the entire plan are available upon request.
A wide variety of planning partners have provided valuable guidance and technical support for the Red Clay Valley Scenic Byway project, among them:
New Castle County
Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT)
Wilmington Area Planning Council (WILMAPCO)
Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC)
Delaware State Office of Historic and Cultural Affairs
Red Clay Valley Association
Historic Red Clay, Inc.
Red Clay Reservation
Wilmington and Western Railroad
Mt. Cuba Center
Delaware Greenways, Inc.
Center for the Creative Arts
The Yorklyn Planning Group
The Chesapeake Bay Girl Scouts Council
Delaware Center for Horticulture
In addition, several individuals, some of whom are Byway residents,
have devoted their skills and expertise to this effort.