Through the Bohemian Karst's Heart
The trail takes its point of departure in the municipality of Srbsko, following the blue hiking markers through the Břesnice Valley. From the fourth station onward, it takes its cue from the red trail blazes, via the Bubovice Waterfalls, the flank of Doutnáč Hill, and the beechwood stands of Vysoká Stráň, all the way to Propadlé Vody (Sunken Waters). From there, the path descends, following the green hiking markers, through old sunken roads beneath Třesina Rock Castle to Hostim. On the final stretch of your journey – through the Kozel Ravine along a brook named Loděnice, known to the locals by the name of Kačák – you will be guided by yellow hiking markers. The trail ends where the Kačák flows into the Berounka River. The path further along the Berounka River is currently impassable due to a decision by the authorities, which prevents hikers from completing a full circle.
The Karlštejn National Nature Reserve is one of the most valuable landscapes in the entire country, where one may encounter hundreds of rare species of plants and animals. However, this stretch of land has also been settled and influenced by humans for millennia. Paradoxically, it is precisely because of this human influence that the Bohemian Karst is as rich and interesting as we know it today. Without pasture, there would be no meadows nor many of the unique rock steppes. Without the limestone quarries, we would know precious little about the astounding geological history forming this landscape... Because of this, the new educational trail not only points out numerous interesting facts about nature, but also gives room to the coexistence between humans and nature and references the deep history of this landscape. Even to this day, this area bears the marks of millennia of human activity, often going unnoticed by the casual observer, whether it be ancient sunken lanes and mines or the present-day appearance of forests.
Moreover, each of the 18 stations along the trail includes a suggestion, an idea, some food for thought for the budding observer of nature. How many plants might be growing on one square metre of soil? Which flowers are the most popular landing spots for butterflies? Might you be able to discover what animals live around here even if you cannot presently see them? How to transcribe birdsong? Can you navigate your surroundings with your senses other than sight? Can you measure the length of something without a ruler or measuring tape? These questions don't have a single correct answer. They seek to incite your curiosity, prodding you to become aware of minute details.
Some of the stations have been supplemented with interactive elements carved from wood - here's a maze and a magnifying glass, there are samples of different types of wood and different kinds of chalkstone. The trail also includes two resting benches from the workshop of artisan woodcarver Jan Viktora which have been designed in keeping with the overall theme, one of them presenting newts (once endemic to the Bubovice Valley but nowadays a rare sight in our more arid times), and the other trilobites, the best-known petrified fossils to be found in the Bohemian Karst.
Another interesting feature of this particular educational trail is that it preserves some of the old info panels which formed part of its predecessor, the extinct educational trail "Karlštejn National Nature Reserve" which came into existence as early as 1989 and whose route the new trail follows to some extent. The original info panels have been attached to the backside of the new ones, which gives visitors the unique opportunity to compare the principles which guided trailblazers thirty years ago to the present-day philosophy of educational trails.
The educational trail " Through the Bohemian Karst's Heart" marks a special milestone: it was opened to the general public in 2020 as the 100th site built within the joint "Closer to Nature" programme of the Czech Union for Nature Conservation and NET4GAS. The trail was built with significant support from the Ministry of the Environment through its Landscape Conservation programme. The trail is operated by the Nature and Landscape Protection Agency, whose staff has also materially contributed to the contents displayed on the information panels along the trail.