Hády Quarries and Surroundings
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 statement is borne out by the fact no less than four protected areas (Hádecká planinka, Kavky, Velká Klajdovka, Růženin lom) meet there.
The educational trail, which has been christened "Hády Quarries and Surroundings", was built in 2014 by the Hády Land Stewardship Association, a local chapter of the ČSOP, with the friendly support of the NET4GAS Closer to Nature programme. In the 1990s, when limestone quarrying was discontinued, the local ČSOP chapter succeeded in saving the site from becoming building land. In fact, it acquired ownership of a portion of the land and has since been carrying out natural re-cultivation efforts. Bit by bit, it has made the site accessible to the general public.
The educational trail has been designed as a broadly accessible, unchallenging two-kilometre circular route. It 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 along the trail.