Devil's Den Preserve

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The Lucius Pond Ordway Devil's Den Preserve in Weston and Redding, Connecticut, encompassing 1,746 acres (7.07 km2), is the largest preserve in Fairfield County, Connecticut and one of the larger preserves in the metropolitan New York area. The preserve's name derives from local lore: charcoal makers in the hilly, rocky area would say that a hoof-like mark made in a boulder was the footprint of the Devil.[1]

Devil's Den is the most frequently visited preserve (and largest contiguous preserve) run by the Connecticut chapter of the Nature Conservancy, with 40,000 visits per year. The main entrance is at the end of Pent Road in Weston. The park is open from dawn till dusk.

The New Canaan Nature Center runs programs and hikes in the woody park. The preserve has 20 miles (32 km) of trails, and maps are available at the Pent Road parking area.

The preserve is part of the watershed of the West Branch of the Saugatuck River and part of the extended 70-mile (110 km) "Saugatuck Valley Trails System".[2]

Flora and fauna in the preserve include more than 500 types of trees and wildflowers, the pink lady's slipper, cardinal flower, and Indian pipe, such animals as red fox, bobcat, coyote, eastern copperhead snake, and more than 140 bird species, including wood duck, ruffed grouse, pileated woodpecker.[2]


People have used the area for hunting as far back as 5,000 years ago, according to archaeological evidence found in the park. A sawmill was once located below Godfrey Pond in the preserve, a part of the area's history as a lumbering and charcoal-burning center, especially in the 19th century.[2]

During April 25–27, 1777, residents of Redding and Weston were thought to have taken refuge in the Devil's Den to escape harassment by a column of British troops marching north from Long Island Sound to destroy a military supply depot in Danbury, Connecticut.[3]

The park was founded by the late Katharine Ordway, who bought 1,100 acres (4.5 km2) from the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company in 1966 and added more land to the original purchase from 1966 to 1968.[2]


  1. ^ "100 Things to do for kids" supplement to the March 20, 2003 Darien Times and other Hersam Acorn newspapers, page 5 of the supplement (a booklet)
  2. ^ a b c d [1] Web page titled "Lucius Pond Ordway/Devil’s Den Preserve" at the Website of the Nature Conservancy of Connecticut, accessed October 10, 2006
  3. ^ Prince, Cathryn, "Taking to Devil's Den," Journal of the American Revolution, 2013-07-11. Retrieved 2014-05-01.

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