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 Circle B Bar Reserve, Polk's Nature Discovery Center, Panther Point Trail and Gator Creek Reserve remain closed due to flooding until further notice.

Marshall Hampton Reserve

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Welcome to Marshall Hampton Reserve

Nestled on the north east edge of Lake Hancock, just across the lake from Circle B Bar Reserve lies Marshall Hampton Reserve. The Reserve has a interesting blend of oak hammock areas canopying over mesic flatwoods, hardwood forest wetlands and a 60 acre pond. The site that is just over 1,100 acres is mostly dominated by live oaks, slash pine, sweet gum, and palmettos. The two loop trails provide very different views of the property. The site is open for horseback riding with a special use permit, to obtain a permit call 863-534-7377.

The Marshall Hampton Reserve (1,173 acres) was acquired by the Southwest Florida Water Management District in 2008. The Polk County Environmental Lands Program entered a management agreement with the Southwest Florida Water Management District in 2010 to oversee the management of the property. The acquisition and long-term management of this property meets the goals of both programs. The acquisition of this property also protected a significant amount of shoreline and floodplain swamp on the edge of Lake Hancock. Lake Hancock is often referred to as the headwaters of the Peace River.

Marshall Hampton Reserve

Activities

  • Hiking/Jogging

    Panther Point remain closed due to flooding until further notice.

    Marshall Hampton Reserve provides over 7 miles of multiple use trails for hikers and joggers to enjoy. The Acorn Hammock Loop Trail is a shaded trail, whereas the Osprey Overlook Loop Trail is a trail with no shade.

    Hiking
  • Horseback Riding

    Panther Point remain closed due to flooding until further notice.

    The trail lengths provide nice short rides for visitors on horseback. The trails are flat and are seasonally underwater. Horseback riders should be aware that the Osprey Overlook loop trail does have many holes along the trail.

    Horseback_Riding

Marshall Hampton Reserve

Facilities

  • Parking

    Grass parking area is available. Access to the trailer parking for horses is allowed with a special use permit for horseback riding.

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Marshall Hampton Reserve

Trails

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  • Osprey Overlook Loop Trail — (2.5 miles, Medium, No Shade)

    This grass trail follows the berm top around the man made pond on the property. The trail provides an excellent elevated view of the surrounding landscape. Caution should be taken on this trail as many holes are present.

  • Acorn Hammock Loop Trail — (3.5 miles, Difficult, Shade)

    A trail that meanders through a shaded forest of oaks mixed with pine, this trail can be seasonally wet. The trail then passes through areas, where a number of animals such as owls, frogs, and deer seek food and shelter. Not for the amateur hiker, but a favorite of joggers – bring water.

Marshall Hampton Reserve

Natural Communities

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  • Cypress Dome Swamp

    Freshwater swamps such as cypress domes contain water at least part of the year. Cypress trees lose their leaves in the winter, but bright green foliage appears again in the spring.

  • Pine Flatwoods

    The flatwood community is dominated by pines such as longleaf and slash. Saw palmetto is abundant in the understory, along with blueberry, gallberry, fetterbush and the occasional frostweed aster.

  • Hammock

    The hammock community contains remnant portions of wet, mesic and scrubby flatwoods. The absence of fire in these systems allows the woody trees such as oak to grow too large and the large trees start to shade out the plants growing closer to the ground.

Wildlife

Look for foxes, Sherman's fox squirrels, bobcats and deer. A variety of birds are here including wild turkey, hawks, owls, woodpeckers and warblers as well as migratory birds. Alligators are in the wet areas. Gopher tortoises and eastern indigo snakes also make their home on this site.

Bobcat

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Gopher Tortoise

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Owl

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Wildflowers

The Marshall Hampton Reserve is composed of 3 kinds of plant communities, pine flatwoods, live-oak hammocks and swamp forest.   Pine flatwoods is characterized by longleaf pine, Pinus palustris in central Florida or slash pine, Pinus elliottii in south Florida and an understory predominantly of saw palmetto, Serenoa  repens. The pines are shade intolerant and require fire to maintain the system. Some herbaceous flowering plants are rattlesnake master, Eryngium yuccifolium, large-flower milkweed, Asclepias connivens and elephant’s foot, Elephantopus elatus. Pine flatwoods also have a hardpan 8 to 10 feet below the surface.  The live oak hammock forms a canopy and is dominated by live oaks, Quercus virginiana and their epiphytes Spanish moss, Tillandsia usneoides, resurrection fern, Pleopeltis polypodioides and butterfly orchid, Encyclia tampensis and the terrestrial plant beggerweed, Desmodium incanum.  The swamp forests is found bordering north Lake Hancock and is composed of conifers, bald cypress, Taxodium distichum and hardwoods, black gum, Nyssa sylvatica, red maple, Acer rubrum and water oak, Quercus nigra,  Virginia willow, Itea viriginica.  Herbaceous plants are leather flower, Clematis crispa and mazus, Mazus pumilus.

Marshall Hampton Reserve

Location

Address

3115 Thornhill Rd.
Winter Haven, FL 33880

Hours of Operation

6:00 A.M. — 6:30 P.M.  (Standard Time)
5:30 A.M. — 8:00 P.M.  (Daylight Savings Time)

Driving Directions

Located in South Lakeland.

From Lakeland:

From Lakeland, take SR 98 south to Winter Lake Road, travel East on Winter Lake Road to Thornhill Road. Travel south on Thornhill Road, the entrance is less than a ¼ mile on the right.