Not far from the mountain known as Velký Blaník, a quarry cuts through the elevation named Křížovská hůra. It was here that the Blaník orthogneiss was produced; the same type of rock of which the legendary Blaník itself is composed. After the end of mining operations in 1986, the quarry was left to its own devices. A precious community of plant and animal life came into existence on the bare rockface, composed of species that thrive at extreme sites such as this – of a kind that has become extremely rare in our latitudes. The sun-drenched rocky surfaces are home to rather rare insect species, such as the pearly heath (a butterfly). You may also encounter sand lizards enjoying the warmth. However, the most precious life form in the quarry turns out to be lichen – scientists have identified no fewer than 78 endemic species! For instance, one finds lecidea (disc lichen) on the rocks, cladonia (cup lichen) on the ground, and usnea, or beard lichen (among others) attached to trees.
Sadly, the quarry gradually grew over and rare species began to disappear. Aware of the issue, the conservationists from the local ČSOP chapter took the quarry under their wings. With woodcutters and saws, they keep it groomed and preserve its original appearance. In addition, they’ve sunk a pond at the bottom of the quarry, fed purely by rainwater, which within a short time has attracted aquatic plants and become a sanctuary for amphibians.
Seeking to show people how a variety of natural habitats and proper stewardship leads to greater biodiversity, the local Vlašim chapter of the ČSOP put up a number of info panels in 2019, thanks to the NET4GAS Closer to Nature programme. In addition, a secure fireplace was set up, thanks to which one may spend a pleasant evening at the quarry even as the night chill descends.