Home > Our Philosophy > The New Gold Standard For Walking Paths 07/14/06
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The Solidago Trail Is The New Gold Standard For Area Walking Paths

  The Solidago Trail presents a golden opportunity for interaction with neighbors and nature.

When creating a walking or jogging trail, a developer may take the path of least resistance, or go the extra mile for enrichment of those who will traverse it in years to come. As in all its endeavors, the David Bagwell Company eschewed the pedestrian and pursued the evocative instead in creating what it calls the “Solidago Trail” in northwest Colleyville. A nearly two mile paved circuit, the Solidago Trail travels over hill and through dale of the company’s Westmont, Old Grove and Whittier Heights neighborhoods, as well as Colleyville’s McPherson Park.

Offering access to an unexpected array of natural beauty, it is dubbed the “Solidago Trail” with good reason. “ ‘Solidago’ is the botanical name for Goldenrod, a native wildflower growing in abundance in our area,” Bagwell’s colleague, Susan Folkert, explains. “The Latin root of ‘solidago’ means ‘to heal’, ‘make whole’, or ‘complete’, which is particularly appropriate for a trail through these developments. In Westmont, we substantially expanded and enhanced an existing wetland riparian area, working with the Corps of Engineers to introduce over five hundred native trees and plants and create a beautiful lake beside which the Solidago Trail now runs.  In Whittier Heights and Old Grove, we reclaimed an old sand quarry, reshaped the ground plane, and so far have planted another thousand or so trees there.”

The recently completed section of the trail, a 1,700-foot long stretch through the particularly picturesque Old Grove and Whittier Heights neighborhoods, was re-routed at the behest of David Bagwell Company’s ecologically aware Landscape Superintendent, Taylor Steele. “Moving the trail from where it was shown on the subdivision plat to its new, more scenic route will bring people closer to nature,” said Steele “Those who follow the Solidago Trail will now have a better opportunity to see the abundance of wildlife I’ve encountered here. A pair of owls nesting in an American Elm tree, a roadrunner hastily fleeing into the woods, turtles sunning on a log, a blue heron snapping up minnows, and ducks swimming along the pond’s edge. And, of course, there are song birds galore, frequent butterfly visitors, and David’s personal favorite, the Neon Skimmer dragonfly.”

Indeed, the Solidago Trail is as much about interacting with nature as it is about exercise. Walking the winding, mostly shaded section in Old Grove reveals the wonders of the native woods preserved and enhanced there. Flameleaf sumac, American beautyberry, snailseed vine, eastern redbud, Mexican plum, Eve’s Necklace, roughleaf dogwood, and other understory plant species flourish beneath the canopy of forest trees, themselves something to behold. Shumard oak, bur oak, post oak, blackjack oak, American elm, pecan, Eastern red cedar, chittamwood, and persimmon abound.

Everyone who wends the Solidago Trail will have a favorite season. Spring delights the eyes with the pale pink blooms of the Mexican plum trees, the magenta-colored blossoms of redbuds, the myriad white blooming faces on hawthorne, and a profusion of wildflowers, which continue to delight through summer into autumn. Many will cherish the fall festival of color along the Solidago Trail. Drifts of the namesake Goldenrod, the scarlet and cognac colored of oak, sumac’s ruby and orange tones, the lingering citron color of elms, and the honey hues of an occasional Texas hickory blend with a chorus of color supplied by the fruit of plums, persimmon, hawthorne, American beautyberry, and Eve’s necklace. Even winter offers the solace of heavily-fruited possumhaw intermingled in the sleeping woods along the trail.

“The Solidago Trail is an integral part of our effort to draw residents out of their homes and into the wonders of nature,” Bagwell says. “Truly beautiful views of native woods and streams, lakes, wildflowers, sunrises and sunsets, beautiful songbirds and waterfowl are abundant and the sight and sound of them free for the taking.”

Another particularly pleasing part of the Solidago Trail is the pergola that spans a section that runs along Westmont. Over 1000 tiles handmade by Dallas artist Sherry Spencer, John Famiglio’s artfully wrought iron, fragrant flowering vines, and soft nighttime lighting make this section of the trail a treat to traverse.

“People who leave the trail and walk the lovely tree-lined streets of our developments are prone to enjoy our many neighborhood-defining amenities,” Bagwell believes. “Among them are fountains, stained glass lanterns, neatly crafted stone walls, and seating areas that offer pleasing vistas of and from the restored Whittier Heights barn and the Benedict Hill belvedere at the verge of a five-acre stand of old growth woods in Westmont. We have also provided cypress benches, milled from huge logs yielded by last summer’s Gulf Coast hurricanes, close to the 36-foot tall Whittier Heights entry spire, for enjoyment of the two-hour light show there each night.

“Other aspects of our developments beckon people afoot on the Solidago Trail and those walking about the neighborhood,” Bagwell says. “Some, like venues on the fronts of houses that encourage owners and passersby to socialize, have an immediately recognizable influence on the community. Others, like the strong architectural appeal of homes and our prolific tree planting are more subtle, but none the less powerful forces influencing quality of life and the value of neighborhood property.”

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