Old Spectacle Lane Open Space
Wilton Road West, Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut
4 acres


Saw Mill River Parkway north to its end at the junction with US 684; stay in the right lane and get off at the exit for Route 35 instead of getting onto US 684; at the light turn right; drive 10.9 miles to the junction of Rt. 35 and Route 33; turn right; drive 1.1 mile on Route 33 (Wilton Road West).  There is a wide shoulder on the left (eastern side of the road). The trail entrance is at the southern end of this shoulder. Turn left onto the shoulder and park. 


Once onto Route 33 heading south from Rt. 35, drive 0.2 of a mile and turn left onto East Windsor Road.  Drive 1.1 miles and turn left onto Spectacle Lane.  Drive 0.1 of a mile and park on the right shoulder by 3 huge boulders.  Follow the road back to the intersection with East Windsor Road (there will be a trail blazed with blue hash marks on a white background); cross the road following the trail into the woods. 


40 minute easy to moderate walk


6/15/2005.  We finally got a little relief from the wilting temperatures of the past few days.  Ceferino Santana, dog Sonar and I parked along the shoulder of the road on West Windsor Road.  We went to the south end of the shoulder and turned left into the woods.  There are a couple of trails here, one yellow and the other a blue hash mark on a white background.  Both trails start out heading downhill. 


In the area I found a bush that was the dominant bush (and can be a tree) with which I was not familiar.  It has really distinctive bark.  Looking at the flowers, it eventually occurred to me that they look a lot like Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus).  (Back home, I found out it is Euonymus europaeus., the European euonymus)  It's always great to see a new species, and not only is it new, it is very widespread.


On our right it is quite noisy because they are constructing another house for the area.  Nearing houses on the eastern border, we turned left following the yellow trail; we went over a wet area and started heading north parallel to the houses; we had a hard time following the path as the markings were few and far between and were faded.  This is a wet area and would be difficult to walk in during spring with its rains.  We make another left heading generally west;  We come up onto a small ridge; turn left and one comes to the end of the yellow trail as the end of the small ridge is reached.  Turn right and one goes along the ridge for a short way and then left down off the ridge into a wetland area.  Head generally straight (without benefit of trail markings) and the hiker will come out onto the entrance path.  Turning right will take the hiker back to the shoulder parking area.


We decided to now follow the blue hash mark on white trail to its end.  Where the yellow trail turns left into the wetland area, the blue on white trail keeps heading downhill.  (We found out later that the path goes all the way downhill, over a stream and then onto and over East Windsor Road, and then onto Spectacle Lane where there is a parking lot on the right side of the road.)


At this time, we bore right with the trail which took us down to a stream.  The trail markers indicate that the path goes right from here.  So we went right.  But we could not find any trail.  So we ended up bushwhacking along the stone wall boundary with private property on the other side.  There is a marsh/shrub swamp on our left and forest to our front and right.  We went uphill from the marsh and came back to the area where the house was being constructed.  Bore right and then straight and it brought us to the entrance path.  We turned right to head back to the car. 


We drove to the parking area on Spectacle Lane.  At the time we thought this was the parking area for another piece of Ridgefield Open Space (Spectacle Swamp/Silvermine Ridge).  We walked back on the road and over Route 33 into the woods following the blue hash mark trail.  Much to my surprise, I found out with a bit of walking that we were back into the open space area that we had walked earlier in the morning.  We had a good laugh.   Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.


Catalog of Ridgefield Open Spaces: http://www.rosaopenspace.org/catalog/index.html#Blacksmith%20Ridge

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

*  =  plant blooming on date of field trips, 6/15/2005

Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Catalpa sp. (catalpa)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)  *
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Rhamnus cathartica (common buckthorn)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Thuja occidentalis (arbor-vitae)
Tilia americana (basswood)

Shrubs and Subshrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)   lots of it
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Euonymus europaeus (European euonymus)   --  very abundant here
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)    *
Pachysandra terminalis (pachysandra)  planted
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)   *
Rubus hispidus (swamp dewberry)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)  
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vincetoxicum nigrum (black swallowwort)    *
Vitis riparia (river bank grape)

Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)    *
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)    *
Arisaema triphyllum (jack-in-the-pulpit)
Artemisia vulgaris (mugwort)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Aster spp. (aster)
Cardamine impatiens (narrow-leaved bittercress)   lots
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eye daisy)    *
Cichorium intybus (chicory)    *
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade)
Coronilla varia (crown vetch)    *
Dicentra sp. (bleeding hearts)    *waning   an escape
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane)    *
Galium aparine (cleavers)   
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)  
Hesperis matronalis (dame's rocket)    *
Hieracium caespitosum (field hawkweed)    *
Impatiens sp. (touch-me-not)
Iris sp. (iris)
Krigia biflora (two-flowered Cynthia)    *
Lapsana communis (nipplewort)    *
Lemna sp. (duckweed)
Leonurus cardiaca (motherwort)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Medicago lupulina (black medick)    *
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel)   
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonatum pubescens (hairy true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose knotweed)    *
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)  
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal)
Rumex acetosella (sheep sorrel)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad dock)
Sedum sarmentosum (stonecrop)    *
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion)   *
Trifolium pratense (red clover)    *
Trifolium repens (white clover)    *
Veratrum viride (false hellebore)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell)    *

Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Carex laxiflora type (loose-flower type sedge)

Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Leersia virginica (white grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Equisetum arvense (field horse tail)
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)


Back to the w. Connecticut Page
Back to the Main Page