Dunlap's Woods
Park Land Drive, Darien, Fairfield County, Connecticut
20 acres


North bound I-95:

Take exit 13 to light (Route 1). Take left. Go past Carvel on right. Friendly’s on right. Duchess on left. At next light take a left before Trader Joe’s (onto King's Highway North). You should be taking a bridge going up and over I-95. After the bridge you should be taking an immediate right (Park Land Drive). You now should be going right around a corporate office building. Pass the parking lot behind and beyond the second office building. You will find parking spaces marked specifically for visitors to Selleck’s and Dunlap's Woods.

US 95 north to Exit 13;

turn left onto Route 1(Connecticut Avenue);

turn left onto Old Kings Highway;

turn right onto Fairmead Road.


Darien has less than 5% of its land as open space. 

1950's --  I-95 constructed; they used the land from a "borrow pit" and it later became a 7-acre lake.

1963  --  obtained 28 acres, Selleck's Woods.

1972 (7/13) – land acquired for Dunlap's Woods by the Darien Land Trust.

1980s  --  there was a proposal to use part of the woodlands here for moderate income housing. This galvanized the ecologically concerned citizens to improve the woods and make the land a preserve.  13 truckloads of garbage were removed from the area. Larry Morris of the Land Trust was a key spirit in this endeavor.

1990s  --  founding of the Friends of Selleck's Woods.

Dunlap & Assoc., Inc.

The Land Trust of Darien is concerned with the continuing health of a lake bordering I-95 and adjoining Sellecks Woods Nature Preserve. They are worried that the run off from I-95 will pollute the lake.

2004  --  put in a new bridge and increased trails to two miles


Chris Filmer, president of the Friends of Selleck's Woods. April 13, 2004.  Article on the Preserve. Darien Times. Page 14D.


7-acre lake, upland woods


otter, fox, wood frogs, wild turkey, deer


Walking trails.

10/31/2005.  On a cool morning, Ceferino Santana, dog Sonar and I parked at the end of Park Lane Drive. We got a trail map at the kiosk; turned right at the fork in the path; turned left to walk along the lake shore; turned right at the south end of the pond and walked over two bridges; continued following the lake shore until we were right up against the I-95 embankment.  (And boy is it noisy by the highway.)  Turned around and walked south away from the lake to a swamp; walked on the west side of swamp; came to the railway line; turned left to head parallel with the railway line; after a while the informal path became blocked by vegetation (multiflora rose and Asiatic bittersweet mostly); so we walked uphill onto a dry oak area; we worked our way back to the lake and the two bridges we passed earlier. 

I had missed seeing the marsh so we crossed the 2 bridges and turned right to take a path that led past the Phragmites marsh and to a power cut clearing.  Turned around and went back to the south end of the lake by the first bridge.  We then decided to return to the parking lot by the Central Path that goes up the middle of the property with Dunlap Woods on the west and Sellecks Woods on the east.  Approaching the parking area we turned left off the Central Path and walked back to the car.   

The area is a good one.  There are lots of different habitats which makes for a greater number of plants to be seen.  And it is not crowded like Woodland Park with its many dogs and dog walkers.  We only saw two dogs and one dog walker while we were there.  Dr. Patick L. Cooney.  

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = plant found in bloom on date of field trip, 10/31/2005

Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Cercis canadensis (red bud) planted ?
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo)
Picea pungens var. glauca (blue spruce)  planted
Pinus sp. (pine, 2 needled, very short)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine)
Populus sp. (poplar)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Pyrus sp. (crab apple)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus coccinea (scarlet oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Salix spp. (willow)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Taxus sp. (yew)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)

Shrubs and sub-shrubs:
Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Amorpha fruticosa (false indigo)
Baccharis halimifolia (groundsel bush)
Chimaphila maculata (striped wintergreen)
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepper bush)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)     *
Ilex crenata (holly)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Ligustrum spp. (privet)  one with large leaves
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Myrica pensylvanica (bayberry)
Rhamnus frangula (European buckthorn)    ?
Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus flagellaris (northern dewberry)
Rubus hispidus (swamp dewberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Salix discolor (pussy willow)
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum)
Viburnum lentago (nannyberry viburnum)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Dioscorea villosa (Indian yam root)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Mikania scandens (climbing hempweed)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax glauca (round-leaved greenbrier)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaf greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape)

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Aster spp. (aster)     *
Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)
Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle)
Eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset)
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot)
Euthamia graminifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod)
Euthamia tenuifolium (slender-leaved goldenrod)     
Geum canadense (white avens)
Gnaphalium obtusifolium (sweet everlasting)     *
Impatiens sp. (jewelweed)
Iris sp. (blue or yellow flag)
Lepidium virginicum (poor man's pepper)
Lespedeza capitata (round-headed bush clover)
Lespedeza sp. (bush clover)
Lycopus sp. (bugleweed)
Lysimachia ciliata (fringed loosestrife)
Lysimachia quadrifolia (whorled loosestrife)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed)     *
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal)
Pycnanthemum sp. (mountain mint)
Solidago odora (sweet goldenrod)
Solidago rugosa (rough-leaved goldenrod)
Solidago spp. (goldenrod)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion)
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadow rue)
Trifolium pratense (red clover)     *
Trifolium sp. (clover)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Verbena hastata (blue vervain)
Verbena urticifolia (white vervain)
Vernonia noveboracensis (New York ironweed)

Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered type sedge)
Carex lurida (sallow sedge)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)
Tridens flavus (purple top grass)
something like zebra grass (planted?)

Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Lycopodium obscurum (ground pine)
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Osmunda claytoniana (interrupted fern)
Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)