Brandymore Castle – Arlington, Virginia - Atlas Obscura
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Brandymore Castle

This "castle" is actually a limestone and quartz formation hidden along a trail. 

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With a regal name like Brandymore, one would expect a moat, drawbridge, and parapets. However, this castle isn’t really a castle at all. In fact, if not for the historical marker standing just across the Washington and Old Dominion trail, it is very likely that this natural rock formation would languish in total obscurity.

Brandymore Castle once overlooked a four-mile run, which served as a moat for the elevated rock formation. The origin of the name is a mystery, but the discovery of the landmark is attributed to surveyor Charles Broadwater, who first described the location in 1724. The land on which the “castle” is located was once owned by the Gunnell Family of Arlington, who still have descendants in the area.

The street address provided terminates at a short path that leads to the W&OD Trail. Hang a left and summit the hill to find the historical marker on the right at the top. While there is some graffiti and evidence of vandalism around the rock formation, it is instantly identifiable after climbing the well-worn path to the top of the hill. 

Know Before You Go

The historical marker is inscribed with the following information: 


"This landmark was first described in 1724 by surveyor Charles Broadwater as "the rock stones called Brandymore Castle." Research in 1972 established that the natural formation matched the boundary descriptions on the 18th century land grands from Lord Fairfax to William Gunnel, James Going and Simon Pearson, George Harrison, John Carlye and John Dalton, and Captain Charles Broadwater. The origin of the name "Brandymore" is unknown, but this rocky outcrop resembles the collapsed battlements of an old castle with four mile run serving as a moat."

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