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Forest, Virginia
Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest
Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest
Location of Forest, Virginia
Location of Forest, Virginia
Coordinates: 37°22′15″N 79°16′0″W / 37.37083°N 79.26667°W / 37.37083; -79.26667Coordinates: 37°22′15″N 79°16′0″W / 37.37083°N 79.26667°W / 37.37083; -79.26667
Country United States
State Virginia
County Bedford, Campbell
 • Total 13.9 sq mi (35.9 km2)
 • Land 13.7 sq mi (35.6 km2)
 • Water 0.12 sq mi (0.3 km2)
873 ft (266 m)
 • Total 11,709
 • Density 842.4/sq mi (326.2/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 434
FIPS code 51-28688
GNIS feature ID 1494932

Forest is a census-designated place (CDP) in Bedford County in the U.S. state of Virginia. The population was 11,709 at the 2020 census. It is part of the Lynchburg Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Forest is located at 37°22′N 79°16′W / 37.367°N 79.267°W / 37.367; -79.267 (37.370723, -79.266801).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 13.9 square miles (35.9 km2), of which 13.7 square miles (35.6 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 0.89%, is water.


Forest is a suburban part of metropolitan Lynchburg, containing many subdivided properties carved from and around surrounding farms and woodlands. The Ivy Hill community is the largest development and is built around the Ivy Hill Golf Course. The community has been experiencing rapid growth and development over the past 10 years, especially after Rte 221 was widened to 4 lanes in 2009. The growth of commercial businesses and housing which slowed briefly during the 2007-2010 recession, is expected to continue into the near future. The recent construction of shopping centers such as Cavalier Corner and the large Forest Square strip mall beside the post office evidence this recent growth. Forest is home to Jefferson Forest High School (the Cavaliers, ~1400 students), Forest Middle School (the Knights, ~1100 students), Forest Elementary School, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, and New London Academy.

Forest has no real town center since the original one was torn down without a trace, but the area along U.S. Route 221 from the post office to the Forest Library is generally regarded as the central part of the community; however, technically the town extends all the way along Rt. 221 from the middle school to Graves Mill Shopping Center. The political attitudes of the majority of the population are conservative.

The Center for Advanced Engineering and Research (CAER) off Hwy. 460 in New London is a small but increasingly significant business incubator developed with partnerships by private industry, regional governments, the Tobacco Commission, in addition to academia. Existing businesses in the park have a Forest mailing address. With the expansion of nearby Liberty University in Lynchburg, and new waterline infrastructure investments by Bedford County, the site should be an attractive location for increased development.

The most popular attraction of the town is Poplar Forest, the summer home of Thomas Jefferson, which is open to the public for visitation and is the subject of ongoing archaeological studies. The home is also used for events. Nearby attractions include Point of Honor in Lynchburg, the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, and the Peaks of Otter in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The nearest urban center is downtown Lynchburg, approximately 10 miles (16 km) northeast of town. Forest is accessed via Route 221 and U.S. Route 460. The nearest rail line is Amtrak's Crescent train at the station in Lynchburg. The nearest major airport is Lynchburg Regional Airport offering commercial service through US Airways Express to Charlotte, North Carolina. Private charter flights are available through Virginia Aviation. There is also a public general aviation (GA) airport, New London Airport, which is open for all GA pilots.

Forest is home to Apocalypse Ale Works [1] which was the first microbrewery to open in Bedford County.


Historical population
Census Pop.
2000 8,006
2010 9,106 13.7%
2020 11,709 28.6%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

As of the census of 2000, there were 8,006 people, 3,172 households, and 2,293 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 547.8 people per square mile (211.6/km2). There were 3,294 housing units at an average density of 225.4/sq mi (87.1/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 91.79% White, 5.65% African American, 0.10% Native American, 1.36% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.27% from other races, and 0.81% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.95% of the population.

There were 3,172 households, out of which 35.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.9% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.7% were non-families. 24.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the CDP the population was spread out, with 26.9% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 26.0% from 45 to 64, and 9.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.6 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $55,089, and the median income for a family was $67,055. Males had a median income of $46,057 versus $30,720 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $25,735. About 2.9% of families and 3.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.3% of those under age 18 and 3.7% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people

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