Guided walk through Wilton's Bradley Park

Leonard J. Bradley was a native Wiltonian whose interest in plants and birds shaped his life both personally and professionally. He was so respected that Bradley Park was named in his memory, a year after his death.

The Wilton Conservation Commission and the conservation committee of the Wilton Garden Club will sponsor a free walk through Bradley Park at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22. It will be led by Conservation Commissioner Donna Merrill.

The 82-acre property Bradley Park encompasses was originally planned as a golf course, skating pond and ski slope. For a variety of reasons, these plans never came to fruition and the land remains in a natural state.

Among the trails to walk along, there is a boardwalk that takes visitors into the heart of a red maple swamp. Other trails pass through woodlands ranging from swamp to a dry ridge. Rock ledges are abundant.

As always, families and dogs on leashes are welcome for the one-hour walk. Afterward, there will be time for questions, socializing and refreshments.

The main parking area is at the end of Oak Ledge Lane, which is off Wolfpit Road.

Bradley Park

Bradley Park was originally named Belden Hill Park, but was renamed for Leonard Bradley in 1972. Bradley was born in 1900 and attended school in Wilton and Kent. As a student he was interested in botany and ornithology and acquired considerable expertise in plant and bird identification.

He became a staff botanist and field naturalist at the Audubon center in Greenwich and for several years he wrote a column, Nature Notes, for The Bulletin.

Bradley served on the Wilton Board of Education from 1944 to 1962 and was field director of ecological studies for the Wilton schools, a position he used to encourage students to appreciate and value nature. He also served on the town Conservation Commission.

His book, Ferns and Flowering Plants of the Audubon Center, Greenwich, Connecticut, was published in 1955.

A year before his death in 1971, Bradley received a certificate of merit from the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut for his work in the field of conservation.