A new educational trail installed on Hády Hill above Brno!
Every inhabitant of Brno is familiar with Hády Hill and its extensive multi-level quarry - a landmark on the city’s eastern edge. The site has recently gained popularity as a destination for day-tripping families and sports enthusiasts. "Even so, lots of people have no inkling of the local nature's burgeoning wealth. They think that the former quarry, which took a bite out of the hillside, is a worthless scar blemishing the beauty of this landscape. However, surprising as it may sound, you'll find that both biology and geology are much richer inside the quarry and within its immediate surroundings than anywhere else nearby. This made us decide to build an educational trail across the hillside. Hády’s southern slope is so much more than just a landscape previously disfigured beyond repair by mining," says Lubomír Tichý of the ČSOP. His words are borne out by the fact that four protected areas (Hádecká planinka, Kavky, Velká Klajdovka, Růženin lom) meet there.
The nature one finds on Hády Hill is extremely variegated and ranges from oak-hornbeam forests to thermophilic oak stands, to wooded steppe and steppe, to wetlands and ponds. This variety of local habitats has in turn attracted a great diversity of plants and animals. In 2004, environmentalists counted more than 100 endangered plant species at Hády Hill. For instance, the local fraxinella and sword-leaved inula populations are among the strongest in Moravia, and yet few would think to look for them within the borders of a major city.
"This project is perfectly in line with the vision behind the NET4GAS Closer to Nature programme, as it familiarizes the people of Brno with a natural treasure that is literally to be found on their doorstep", said Zuzana Kučerová of NET4GAS.
The educational trail, christened "Hády quarries and surroundings," first takes hikers to the very heart of the large multi-level quarry. They learn of the venerable history of limestone quarrying in the area, take in a sweeping view of the scenery between Brno and the Austrian border at the panoramic info panel, and are invited to be inspired by a novel way of re-purposing abandoned quarries as they look down "Jungle" (Džungle) Quarry where the local ČSOP chapter has built a small alpaca and sheep farm with the necessary facilities for environmental education. At a further stop, visitors are not only treated to the beauty of "Rose's Quarry" (Růženin lom) - one of the prettiest limestone quarries in the Czech Republic - but also learn that this is where rare orchids (marsh orchids and helleborines), among other plants, bloom in spring. The trail includes a presentation of the bounty of animals which populate the quarryscape (lizards, dragonflies, butterflies, etc.), and a description of how fast nature can change once it is free from human intervention. An attraction not found anywhere else is the stratigraphic column: a large-scale model of the local geological profile, supplemented with a timeline and information in text and pictures.
Most of the trail is laid out across extremely comfortable terrain, with the exception of the sections between stations 6 and 7, and stations 8 and 1, which are not baby carriage-friendly. The entire trail is well-marked, using the standard trail marker of the Czech Hiking Club for educational trails (which shows a diagonal green band on a white background). Signposts have been placed at crossroads. At several points, wooden benches invite weary wanderers to rest and enjoy the view. Each of the eight info panels includes a small window with a quiz question for children and a humorous illustration. The correct answer to the quiz question is always found at the next station.