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Will Warren's Den

The trail to Will Warren's Den begins on the south side of Route 6 just east of the intersection with Pinnacle Ridge Road and Reservoir Road. This beautiful hike, which requires some easy scrambling over rocks and boulders, runs through one of the most fanciful parts of Farmington’s history – with elements of truth as are always found within the traditional tales of a locale. Such is the story of Will Warren, who may even be a chimera made up of more than one character. A brief reference to the man himself appears in Andrews’ History of New Britain, but the full legend was written down for perhaps the first time in the1906 Green Book. Briefly, he is said to have been of mixed race and an odd isolated person who after a run-in with local authorities, tried to burn the village and fled to a cave on Rattlesnake Mountain. There he lived out the rest of his days as a “hermit”, foraging down into town from time to time to steal sheep.  

The cave is actually a cavity beneath huge tumbled traprock boulders, and

certainly could have sheltered an outcast like Will. It is high on the rocky ridge, near the TV towers and on the New England Trail. For generations, it has been the goal of youngsters and their elders exploring the rocky oak woodland of the ridge.  

Though W.W. might be partly a legend, his cave is definitely still there up on the mountain. The Den and 7.2 acres was donated to the Town in 1987 by William Wadsworth, and is further protected by the Land Trust’s conservation easement. Here once again, we have become the keepers of both the land and its history. Will and his Den are very much part of our local story and if he did not really exist, he probably should have. We would be proud to recruit him as an Honorary Land Trust Member.

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