Robert Hale Symonds Preserve
(The Vista Road Property)
The Robert Hale Symonds Preserve is 20 acres owned by the Wilton Land Conservation Treust that abuts the 37-acre Town-owned Vista Road Property which was originally purchased in December 1966 as a potential school site. With subsequent decreases in school enrollment, the land was not developed. In 1994, the Wilton Trails Association received permission to blaze a single loop trail with access trails to Vista and Bald Hill Roads and one trail leading to a swamp lookout and the Wilton Land Conservation Trust property.
From the Bald Hill Road entrance, the hiker immediately enters a second growth deciduous woodland flanked by residences. This 50 foot wide strip was to be the access road of the proposed school. The entrance to the bulk of the property is marked by crossing over a stone wall. The site has many stone walls which give evidence to the past agricultural uses. The wall crossing marks a “T” intersection for the perimeter trail.
The trail gives the hiker an excellent view of a sometimes subtle diversity of floral communities. In general, the forest is dominated by oak, spruce and American beech. The western portions are open and lack understory. To the east, the understory composition changes and becomes dominated by an invasive vine, cat briar or green briar. The briar provides cover for smaller mammals and birds, but it is quite difficult to free yourself from its thorny, wiry grip. Further west and north, mountain laurel increases along the ledges and slopes.
To the west and southeast, two wetland systems persist. They are both quite wet and are appropriately defined as swamps. They are dominated by red maples in the canopy and spicebush in the understory. The western wetland is sparse understory marks the wetter conditions of this swamp as supported by the broader tree bases (hummocks) and striking surface root configurations An overlook is amidst the mountain laurels above the northern swamp providing a broad view of this notable wetland.
The Vista Road entrance provides access to the site over Wilton Land Conservation Trust property. This trail brings the hiker to the loop trail past the southeastern wetland and over a brook. This piece of Wilton Land Conservation Trust land is a portion of a large tract that abuts the Vista Road Property to the west. An interconnected trail network is anticipated for
Directions: From Wilton Center go north on Ridgefield Road 3.4 miles to Vista Road. Turn left on Vista Road and continue for 0.5 miles to the trail head.Robert Hale Symonds Preserve
Parking: Along Vista Road and Bald Hill Road.
Access: Trail heads opposite 58 Bald Hill Road and east of 54 Vista Road.
Trails: Portions owned by the Wilton Land Conservation trust and portions owned by the Town of Wilton.
Ownership: Wilton Land Conservation Trust