Lucius Pond Ordway/Devilís Den Preserve
Weston, Fairfield County, Connecticut
1,746 acres

Sources: Anderson, Katherine S., #28; Cooley, #9


Directions:

From the Merritt Parkway, get off at Exit 42; drive north on CT 57 for 5 miles; turn right onto Godfrey Road and go 0.5 of a mile and turn left onto Pent Road; the road dead ends at the parking lot of the preserve. You need a permit but you can pick one up easily enough.


Geology:

The summit of granitic Deer Knoll rises 485 feet above sea level and its vegetation at the top has a lot of tortured-looking oaks and pitch pine.


History:

The park got its name because of the bear print marks on some of the rocks in the park. The charcoal makers here said the marks had been burned in by the Devilís hot feet.

Along the Harrison Trail, leading to Godfrey Pond, there are rock overhangs that around 5,000 B.C. were used by native Americans as temporary shelters.

Here at one time were small cabins of the charcoal-tenders. On Laurel Trail there is a demonstration of how charcoal was made.

There is a dam at Godfrey Pond. There is also the ruined foundation of a mill constructed in 1769. From 1797 to 1897 the Godfrey family ran the mill. Yale University owned it following World War I. A later owner was the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company.

The owner of the preserve is The Nature Conservancy.  About 1,350 acres were donated by Ms. Katharine Ordway. She was best known as "the lady who saved the prairies." When she died in 1979, she left a system of grassland preserves totaling some 31,000 acres in five states. And yet, the very first land she championed was near her home in Weston, Connecticut, Devil's Den. In 1966, she funded the Conservancy's purchase of 463 acres of land there. Today the preserve is much larger and, in fact, is the Connecticut chapter's largest contiguous preserve. 


Trails:

Head northwest and then southwest on the McDougal Trail and then via the Saugatuck Trail, one crosses and recrosses over the west branch of the Saugatuck heading northwest and then north on the Den Trail; turn right and head southeast back to the parking lot via the Pent Trail. (For a longer walk, when on the Den Trail, turn left and take a circular walk on the Ambler Trail that brings one back to the junction of the Den Trail and the Pent Trail.)

Saugatuck Valley Hiking Trail System - Rt. 53 Redding. 203-938-2551. Devil's Den Conservancy (226-4991) and parts of the Redding Land Trust. 15 miles of marked, connected hiking trails through Redding, Weston and Easton. Historic and natural points of interest; 200 ft. cliff over reservoir. Additional 50 miles of hiking trails in Redding Land Trust. Map and trail guide (your permit) at Town Clerk's office and Library.


PLANT LIST:

Katherine S. Anderson, Cooley, Sarah-David Rosenbaum (date = plant in bloom on date of field trip, 10/30/2005)


Trees:
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya glabra (pignut hickory)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Castanea dentata (American chestnut)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)

Shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Cephalanthus occidentalis (buttonbush)
Chimaphila maculata (striped wintergreen)
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Gaultheria procumbens (checkerberry)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)   10/30/2005
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel) throughout the preserve
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Rhododendron sp. (white azalea)
Rubus sp. (dewberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium sp. (low bush blueberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)

Vines:
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)

Herbs:
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Anemonella thalictroides (rue anemone)
Antennaria sp. (pussytoes)
Caltha palustris (marsh marigold)
Cypripedium acaule (pink ladyís slipper)
Epifagus virginiana (beech drops)
Galium sp. (bedstraw)
Goodyera pubescens (rattlesnake plantain)
Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower)
Medeola virginiana (Indian cucumberroot)
Monotropa hypopithys (pinesap)
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe)
Polygonum sp. (knotweed)
Potentilla sp. (cinquefoil)
Solidago bicolor (silverrod)  10/30/2005
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)

Grasses:
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Lycopodium obscurum (ground pine)
Adiantum pedatum (maidenhair fern)
Athyrium thelypteroides (silvery gladefern)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Gymnocarpium sp. (oak fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Polypodium sp. (rockcap fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)

Others:
Sphagnum sp. (sphagnum moss)
(reindeer lichen)

 

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