The Tuchola Forest (Bory Tucholskie) is one of the largest forests in Poland, covering about 3 thousand sq. km, comprising mainly coniferous trees dominated by pine. The diversified lie of the land, with an abundant water network, makes its landscape particularly attractive. Some of the forests have been covered by legal protection and currently form the area of a national park.

The Tuchola Forest National Park encompasses an area sculpted by a glacier, and more particularly by the phenomena connected with its retreat towards the end of the last glacial age. The melting ice and the water flowing from under it that carried large amounts of rubble shaped the plain area, adorned by characteristically-long ribbon lakes. An unquestionable geographical attraction of the park is formed by the large clusters of dunes – a phenomenon more frequently associated with the seashore – occurring here as inland dunes. The numerous hollows, often filled with water, are the footprint of giant ice forms separated from the glacier, called “dead-ice”, which gradually melted as the climate got warmer. Besides the dominant pine, the national park features rare plants which are considered relics of the glacial retreat from parts of northern Poland. They mostly occupy the extensive areas of peat bogs formed as a result of the overgrowing of shallower lakes. The specimens of ancient oaks and beeches that can be found here and there, once very common in the Tuchola Forest, but mostly destroyed in the past by predatory exploitation, are a rare sight, but are all the more interesting.

The sylvan landscape of the Tuchola Forest is also the refuge of fauna characteristic of Central Europe, such as roe, wild boar, deer, foxes, and even wolves. The wild fowl of the Tuchola Forest include such rare species as black grouse, wood grouse, black storks, and peregrine falcons.  

The area of the Tuchola Forest is also a very attractive place for tourists. Among the local attractions it is worth mentioning the canoe trails on rivers and lakes, the most prominent being Lake Charzykowskie and the Great Brda Channel, the stone circles in Odry, and historic hydrotechnical facilities. The accommodation and restaurant base is provided by numerous boarding houses and agritourism farms.

The Wda canoe trail

The Wda canoe trail

      The Wda, also called Black Water (Polish: Czarna Woda, German: Schwarzwasser) is the second most famous canoe trail of the Tuchola Forest after the Brda. It is one of the most beautiful and safest lowland rivers in Poland. It flows through a densely-forested and scarcely-built-up region and delights with the beauty and tranquillity of  its unspoilt nature.

The Krzywe Koło nature reserve in the Wda Loop particularly catches the eye of the tourist, with its numerous ancient oaks, maples, lindens, and beeches. Most of the trail runs through the Wda Landscape Park created for the purpose of protecting the pristine nature of the river.

On the trail you can often encounter beavers (in the Wda Mill), roe, grey herons, buzzards, and other animals.

The river, starting its course in the Charzykowska Plain, is characterised by numerous meanders and bends along its entire length. The Wda is 239 km long (the trail - 195 km). It flows out of Lake Krążno, meanders through the Tuchola Forest and the Świecka High Plain, and flows into the Vistula in Świecie.

Almost along its entire length, except for its upper course, the Wda causes little trouble and is fine for family canoeing, with easily-avoidable obstacles and a limited number of portages. Only the enormous Lake Wdzydze, which may be rough in bad weather, and the barrages in the lower course, may make the trip difficult.

The Wda meanders beautifully among the forests, forming bends and frequently changing its direction. It is suitable for trips even during the dry season, as the problem of too-low a water level is not encountered here.

The upper course of the river is rather unpredictable and unsuitable for family trips. It is a section for people who love challenges. Most trips start in Lipusz and end in Tleń - the so-called "basic" trail on the Wda.

The section from Lipusz to Wdzydze is charming, with the river meandering among fields and meadows. This section flows into the Wdzydze Landscape Park. The course to Wdzydze is very calm, making it perfect for a family trip.