The Owners of ThunderCroft Buck Cox and Janet DeGroff
ThunderCroft in Blacksburg, Virginia is a 160 acre tract of land whose natural, cultural and historic resources are protected in their entirety as a federally recognized conservation easement in conjunction with The New River Land Trust and the Virginia Outdoor Foundation of Southwestern Virginia. Landowners Buck Cox and Janet DeGroff are dedicated to the preservation of this scenic mountainside retreat. Thundercroft is home to numerous environmental programs tailored to the complete restoration of native trees and grasses and, as such, serves as a refuge for wildlife.
Our Family Mission
Over the course of the past 60 years, ThunderCroft has endured an array of landowners, each with idealistic ventures in either agricultural crops and/or livestock. With each successive ownership has come the creation and rotation of agricultural fields and open pastures for each family's venture. As the sloping landscape was felled of trees and native vegetation removed, the natural balance between healthy soil and naturally occurring plant and animal life was disrupted. In 2013, Buck Cox and his wife, Janet DeGroff, signed on to a program with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in a program designed to restore ecological balance to ThunderCroft. Four years of continuous efforts have yielded the ThunderCroft of today with a balanced ecological system featuring native plants that existed in the area over 100 years ago.
Buck Cox, sons Jefferson and Jarus, daughter Kara and wife Janet DeGroff
Beyond The Family Residence
Beyond the immediate family residence is a 6 stall fully functional stable with riding ring which is home to the family's horses, Nimway and Cadence as well as Mr. B, a miniature horse. Adjacent to the stable is a full tennis and basketball court which also serves as a well manicured outdoor event location for weddings and corporate events. The property also offers a full sized swimming pool and hot tub. Nestled in the dense forests are two separate lodging retreats available for day use, short term overnights as well as extended corporate events.
And Into The Wild
The remaining acreage of ThunderCroft is the cornerstone of the family's mission. Once a working agricultural farm, the property has been restored to preserve and showcase the most natural native habitats of this unique region of the Eastern United States. As visitors leave the immediate residential property, a network of well maintained marked trails span over three miles through open mountain meadows, dipping into pine as well as broadleaf deciduous forests dense in oak and hickory, passing by the opening to our vast underground limestone cave, and ultimately transecting Mill Creek, which flows uninterrupted through the entire property. Scattered amongst the meadows and forests of the property are numerous conservation and biologically sensitive projects aimed at protecting and restoring endangered species of plants and animals, making ThunderCroft not only an oasis and refuge for wildlife but a self sustaining natural habitat for research scientists and students alike.
We invite you to use the dropdown menu at the top of each page to explore the unique features of ThunderCroft. Visit our trails, meet the plants and animals that call ThunderCroft home and learn how you can become involved in our mission to conserve and replenish our natural native landscape for future generations.
Contact ThunderCroft for information on planning your visit!
Welcome to ThunderCroft
Day Use Facility
Eight maintained trails navigate the property offering visitors opportunities to immerse themselves in the natural flora and fauna of the region. With the help of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 80 acres of meadows and adjacent forests have been restored as part of the Virginia Quail Recovery Initiative. Thundercroft welcomes scientifically centered partnerships with scientists, students and civic organizations. Several studies are ongoing through an alliance with Virginia Tech's Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
The Legend of ThunderCroft
As legend tells, ThunderCroft got its name from the Scottish McCluny family who lived here more than 50 years ago. "Croft", the Scottish name for a small farm and the word "Thunder" were paired to describes the the numerous storms that hit the farm with unusual regularity. ThunderCroft's experiences a rather unsual and uncanny weather phenomenom with violent thunderstorms often approaching without warning bringing intense lightning which strikes the farm with unusual frequency. The McCluny family was believed to have actually planted a mystical "Rowan Tree" at the entry gate to ThunderCroft. In Celtic mythology, the Rowan Tree is known as the "Tree of Life" and it symbolizes courage, wisdom and protection. Whether legend, lore or just simply by fate, the eerily frequent lightning strikes have all happened just on the other side of the Rowan Tree towards Mt. Tabor road and never on our family's side.
ThunderCroft's very own Rowan Tree
Coming Soon: Buck and Janet's 2019 Trip to Africa