Bennett’s Pond
Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut
460 acres


Saw Mill River Parkway to its end (at around mile marker 29); north on US 684 for around 10 miles or so (at mileage marker 28); take the exit for US 84 heading east;  drive about 5.9 miles and take exit 3 for Route 7 South; drive 3.3 miles and turn right onto Bennett's Farm Road; drive about 0.75 of a mile and turn right into the parking area..

a square mile just west of Route 7, on both sides of Bennett’s Farm Road and just west of southern Wooster Mountain State Park. 

The land on the north side of Bennett’s Pond slopes sharply upward, rising to become Wooster Mountain on the Ridgefield-Danbury town line. It is contiguous to, and largely controls access to, Ridgefield’s Pine Mountain Preserve and Wooster Mountain State Park.

It is also adjacent to Hemlock Hills Open Space.  It also lies east of Rainbow Lake.


The pond is in the headwaters of the Saugatuck River, the primary source of the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company Main System.


1914  --  Col. Louis D. Conley built an estate on the property.  He established Outpost Nurseries which eventually covered some 2,000 acres.

early 1930s  -- a gazebo placed on the property.

early 1970s  --  the Conley mansion razed.

Source: website: The Case for Bennett's Pond; Ridgefield Open Space Association;

1970s -- the land owned by the International Business Machine Corporation.

1996 -- IBM planned to sell the property. The Planning and Zoning Commission asked the Board of Selectmen to purchase the property and a bid of $12 million to $13 million was made.

1998 -- IBM sold the property to Eureka V LLC for $8 million. IBM claimed it had received no bid for more than $8 million.

Behind Eureka V is the Roseland Property Company and Howard Milstein, one of the largest developers in New Jersey. Now a $200 million development proposal threatens to destroy nearly 680 acres of woodlands.

1999 -- both the Trust for Public Land and former First Selectman Abe Morelli sought to open negotiations to purchase Bennett’s Pond.

2005  --  the Friends of Bennett's Pond plant to built an arboretum on 4 acres just west of the trail kiosk. 


woods, large pond, wetlands, and steep ledge


there is a steep climb to Pine Mountain  View Trail Map

The trails will be the southern terminus of the extensive Ives Trail.

6/13/2005.  Ceferino Santana, dog Sonar and I had a very enjoyable walk out to Bennett's Pond and back.  It was so much cooler under the trees than out in the open.  We started walking north on the green trail on a broad path; we past the purple trail on the right which takes the hiker over to the other side of the green loop trail; reached the white trail by a little open area with dark-green bulrush; we intended to head north on the white trail, but decided to take a little tour down to the side of Bennett's Pond;  the pond is very shallow with lots of water plants and bushes; saw quite a few red-winged blackbirds; returned to the white trail heading north;  the trail follows along and close to the pond shore on the right; there are Phragmites marsh, tussock sedge marsh, and skunk cabbage marsh.  The latter marsh is found along a small stream, that is paralleled by the white trail. 

Passed the red trail on the right.  Passed the dark blue trail on the left.   I noticed that we were in a narrowing valley.  We came to an area with huge fallen rocks on the left. Nice area.  We then walked out of the little gorge like area.  Sat down to see how much farther we had to go and decided to turn back.  We got about 3/4s of the way. 

From the parking lot we drove to the other parking lot at the northern end of the trail at the end of Pine Mountain Road.  Decided to return the next day to hike up Pine Mountain and/or hike over to Hemlock Hills.  Nice area, good walk.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney. 


Catalog of Ridgefield Open Spaces:

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

*  =  plant blooming on date of field trips, 6/13/2005

Acer pensylvanicum (striped maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)  *
Ostrya virginiana (American hop hornbeam)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Picea pungens var. glauca (blue spruce)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Tilia americana (basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Shrubs and Subshrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)   lots of it
Chimaphila maculata (striped wintergreen)
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush)
Cornus kousa (kousa dogwood)  planted   *
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)    *
Ligustrum sp. (privet)    *   lots
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)    *
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)   *
Rubus flagellaris (northern dewberry)    *
Rubus hispidus (swamp dewberry)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)  
Salix sp. (willow)  
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Viburnum lentago (nannyberry viburnum)

Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis labrusca (fox grape)

Actaea alba (white baneberry)
Agrimonia gryposepala  (agrimony)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)    *
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Anemonella thalictroides (rue anemone)
Aquilegia canadensis (wild columbine)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Arisaema triphyllum (jack-in-the-pulpit)
Artemisia vulgaris (mugwort)
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster)
Aster spp. (aster)
Cardamine impatiens (narrow-leaved bittercress)   lots
Caulophyllum thalictroides (blue cohosh)
Cerastium vulgatum (mouse-ear chickweed)   *
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eye daisy)    *
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade)
Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle)
Cryptotaenia canadensis (honewort)    *
Epipactis helleborine (helleborine orchid)
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane)    *
Erigeron pulchellus (robin's plantain)    *
Erythronium americanum (trout lily)
Galium aparine (cleavers)    *
Galium palustre (marsh bedstraw)   *
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)   6/2/93
Glechoma hederacea (gill over the ground)   *
Hesperis matronalis (dame's rocket)    *
Hypoxis hirsuta (yellow star grass)     *
Impatiens sp. (touch-me-not)
Iris sp. (iris)
Lapsana communis (nipplewort)    *
Lemna sp. (duckweed)
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Nuphar advena (southern pond lily)    *
Nymphaea odorata (fragrant white water lily)    *
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel)   
Peltandra virginica (arrow arum) 
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonatum pubescens (hairy true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum arifolium (halberd-leaved tearthumb)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose knotweed)    *
Polygonum sagittatum (arrow-leaved tearthumb)
Polygonum sp. (knotweed)
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil)    *
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)   *
Prenanthes altissima (tall white lettuce)
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal)
Ranunculus acris (tall buttercup)    *
Ranunculus recurvatus (hooked crowfoot)
Ranunculus  repens (creeping buttercup)
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad-leaved dock)
Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot)
Sisyrinchium angustifolium (stout blue-eyed grass)   *
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)
Solidago flexicaulis (zig-zag goldenrod)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion)   *
Trifolium pratense (red clover)    *
Trifolium repens (white clover)    *
Urtica dioica var. dioica (stinging nettle)
Veratrum viride (false hellebore)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell)    *
Viola cucullata (marsh blue violet)
Viola pubescens (yellow forest violet) 
Viola sororia (common blue violet)

Luzula multiflora (wood rush)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Carex crinita (fringed sedge)
Carex intumescens (bladder sedge)
Carex laxiflora type (loose-flower type sedge)
Carex lurida (sallow sedge)
Carex ovales type (ovales type sedge)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)
Carex stipata (sedge)
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)
Carex vulpinoidea (fox sedge)
Scirpus atrovirens (dark-green bulrush)

Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Poa pratensis (Kentucky bluegrass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Lycopodium clavatum (running pine)
Adiantum pedatum (maidenhair fern)
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Dryopteris intermedia (fancy woodfern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Osmunda claytoniana (interrupted fern)
Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Thelypteris hexagonoptera (broad beech fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)


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