305 acres in Willington, CT
Parking: Small lot near 201 Moose Meadow Rd Willington, CT
Fenton-Ruby Park has 4.2 miles of trail and can be combined by way of a connector with the 1.2 mile Langhammer Trail in Ashford as seen in the GPS map above. At a solid pace, the hike came to six miles in almost two hours. Just off the parking lot is a picnic area and a viewing platform for a beaver damned section of the Fenton River. A boulder holds two plaques for the land donors and a trailhead sign offers quite a bit of information.
I started off on the Weigold Trail a .9 mile loop that passes through both dense and wide open understory before climbing to a ridge on the eastern side of the loop. The ridge is well forested so views are limited to the slope, though the winter may be better. Walking the spine is always enjoyable even if the trail narrows quite a bit. There are several sections of mountain laurel which must be beautiful in late spring
A bit further up Burma Rd is the .9 mile Taylor Pond trail. This section of trail has a trail guide with numbered posts to match with the usual set of natural information like the pine grove, the meadow, the wolf tree, or the fauna of the riparian zone. To its credit, the information is thorough and often interesting. There are two Adirondack chairs and a bench on the western side of the pond for a rest stop. Off the Taylor Pond trail was the 1 mile Julia’s trail. It was easily my favorite with long stretches through grassy forest along the banks of the Fenton River. Despite several cars in the lot I only passed one couple having the open forest occupied by myself and some squirrels.
The 1.2 mile Ruby trail could use some more maintenance despite lots of evidence that it is well maintained. Not much else stood out about this trail other than the connector at the northeast tip of the loop to the Langhammer property. The trail map above does not show that connector trail (though the ones on the property do) so it was a bit of a mystery to me. I couldn’t resist striking out to what was, at the time, an unknown location for me.
Fenton-Ruby became a town park in 1994 and was expanded in 2001 with the addition of the Drobney sanctuary. A more detailed history can be read on the town’s site.
Peter Marteka – A Quiet, Fairyland Preserve in Willington
Jason Newton – Old Connecticut Path Section