Bradford Preserve

Posted By on September 2, 2017

Bradford Preserve

2.13 miles; Westerly, RI

As I was finishing up Parker today, I got a text from some PCHC friends who were in the area and wanted to visit a small local preserve. I joined them and was quite pleasantly surprised. I’ve driven by this huge field dozens of times, but never realized there was a sweet little hiking trail in the back, which connects to Woody Hill. It’s also another trail (besides the Orange trail on the Grills) for the Westerly Cross Country team, so it’s very well trod (trodden?).

Autumn Color (already!)

There were hints of autumn color already on this small preserve, including the whatever-this-is (burning bush, maybe), and the hay-scented ferns were turning their usual golden-yellow, too. It seems too early, but then, it ALWAY seems too early every year…

Where the Streets Have No Name (or Streets)

Perplexingly, this trail was simply littered with street sign poles. We must have passed eight or nine of them. No streets, mind you, just, uh, street sign poles. In the woods. By the trail. Weird.

Vars Family Monument

There was also a little short side-trail that lead to an imposing obelisk commemorating the arrival of the Vars family in the New World. As a newcomer to the Westerly area, I had no idea that the Vars family was at one time quite a big deal in town. You can read about the “The rise and fall of the Vars family pharmacies” in this Westerly Sun article. Seriously, who knew? Weird that all that’s left of their legacy is a monument in the middle of the woods.

You can find a trail map for this preserve on the Westerly Track Club’s website. My track, above, starts at the tree line. The “Run for the Pumpkins Course” is the trail that enters Woody Hill Wildlife Management Area. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this hike and to download the GPS track.


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