Take a Walk in Branford: Van Wie Woods

A visit to Van Wie Woods is special any time of year and in any kind of weather, even a rainy spring morning.

The Van Wie Preserve, abutting the Quarry property, came about through a series of donations to the Branford Land Trust from Ray Van Wie and his son, Bill, and daughter-in-law Alice. The Van Wie family has lived in Branford since around 1850, and Ray and Bill spent years together walking the woods, working the land, building walls around springs, thinning cedars to replant native bushes, and identifying
wildflowers. When Ray made the first donation in 1978—a parcel facing Flat Rock Road—he asked to name the property the Rose Van Wie Botanical Preserve in memory of his wife, who loved wildflowers. Since then, incremental gifts from Ray, William, and Alice Van Wie have brought the preserve to more than 100 acres. Along with streams and rocks and rills, one of the highlights of this property is an open meadow, maintained by the Branford Land Trust for butterflies and other sun-loving creatures.

Visit the Trail Maps page for more about the Stony Creek Quarry, Van Wie & Kelley Preserves. (Photos by Jen Payne)