All-new Bludov Hillside educational trail
The Bludovská stráň (Bludov Hillside) educational trail near Šumperk comes in a new guise. The revamped trail, once built and now refurbished by the Bludov chapter of the Czech Union for Nature Conservation within the context of the NET4GAS Closer to Nature programme, opened to the public in a festive ceremony on 21 October.
Bludov hillside (Bludovská stráň) is the name that stuck for a stretch of almost three kilometres of forested slope to the southeast of Bludov in the Šumperk area, along the edge of the river meadow flanking the Desná, a modest river. Old maps support the idea that this area was likely never deforested. To this day, the local vegetation is a near-natural deciduous forest with a luscious herbaceous understorey. Its value as a piece of pristine nature was recognized in 1995, when the hillside was registered as a notable landscape feature.
The local chapter of the Czech Union for Nature Conservation had previously installed an educational trail named after the Bludov hillside in 2008. However, over the 15 years that have since passed, many of the info panels began to show signs of wear and tear (and, in some sad cases, at the hands of vandals). The decision was thus made to comprehensively restore the trail this year. The refurbishment effort did not consist of a mere replacement of the panels – several of them were filled with new and revised content (for instance, when the trail first came into existence, the Brusná lookout tower had simply not yet been built), and all of them were freshened up with a new design.
The educational trail is fitted with yellow trail markers along a route of a little less than five kilometres. Along the circuit, you’ll encounter 9 stations (one of which is a bit off the path, near the entrance to the chateau gardens). The first three of these are "introductory", providing a map and basic information on the trail; the remaining seven acquaint the visitor with various interesting facts about local nature (flora, fauna, geology, ...) and other points of interest (a lookout tower, folk architecture in Bludov), richly illustrated with beautiful photographs. Aside from the eponymous Bludov hillside, the educational trail also takes visitors to the Gryngle forest park, newly created tree-lined parkways, and viewpoints offering gorgeous vistas of the land around Šumperk and the nearby mountain range of the Altvater (or Hrubý Jeseník).