A 566 acre forest was originally settled by the Nuckolls family in the late 1700s. The Nuckolls family cemetery sits on a ridge overlooking the homestead. Judge Jack Matthews purchased the property from a Nuckolls heir in 1946. The Judge enjoyed all types of wildlife, gardening, what he called “old-time apples” and planting trees of any kind. One of his passions was for the American chestnut, and he had a strong desire to see its return. He could remember the chestnut before it was devastated by the blight and how important it had been ecologically, economically, and socially to the region. When Judge Matthews conveyed his land to the DOF, he also conveyed his vision to create a state forest “.to provide for the scientific, educational, and research needs for Southwest Virginia’s children and the public, and to continue the work to bring back indigenous species such as the American chestnut.”

  • Gated vehicle roads: 4.5 miles
  • Nature Trail with signs: 1.25 miles
  • Mountain Bike Trails: 8 miles. Trails have limited access Oct. 1 – Jan. 2012.
  • Ponds: 3
  • Hunting: Yes, archery only
  • American chestnut seed orchard
  • Heritage apple orchard
  • Cabin with Judge Matthews’ wildlife displays open by request.

For more information, please call 1.804.492.4121 or visit Matthews State Forest on the Web at www.dof.virginia.gov/stforest/list/matthews.htm.

Need A Map?

Here’s a downloadable Adobe Acrobat PDF file of a map (requires the FREE Adobe Acrobat Reader software, available here).