Today, the Pomeranian Voivodeship hosts 9 landscape parks, forming a considerable natural and landscape potential, and also cultural and historical assets. The area continuously welcomes new nature and educational paths and their proper marking and well-thought-out design facilitate in-depth exploration of these exceptionally-valuable surroundings.
The Dolina Słupi Landscape Park
The Słupia once carved its way through the scenic postglacial landscape of Pomerania towards the Baltic Sea. Its springs are located in the Kashubian hills, near Sierakowska Huta.
Starting as an inconspicuous stream, it quickly turns into a big river as it takes water from its successive tributaries. In its upper course, the river lazily flows through numerous lakes, becoming much more dynamic after leaving them behind. The rapid current here is caused by the sloping terrain, and the stones lying in the river bed give it a submontane character. Flowing through a winding valley, it accumulates the waters of numerous tributaries, the largest of which include the Bytowa, the Kamienica, the Kwacza and the Skotawa.
The Słupia and its valley have long been an attractive area for settlement, which is evidenced by the traces of primeval dwellings frequently found here. Each epoch, foreign influences, and the activities of the local community have brought interesting solutions in the landscape and architecture, which are currently recognised as monuments of culture. Those include: cemeteries, fortified settlements, churches, manor and park complexes, and the spatial arrangements of the many villages dotting the landscape. To protect the natural assets and the richness of its cultural heritage, but also to maintain the harmony between them, the Dolina Słupi Landscape Park was established in 1981 in the catchment area of the Słupia and its middle and lower courses. This large-area form of environment protection covers an area of 37,040 ha and constitutes the only valley-type park in the Pomeranian Voivodeship. It is characterised by a great diversity of landscape forms and a varied lie of the land.
Dolina Słupi Landscape Park is highly forested, with nearly three fourths of its area covered by woods. These are dominated by bilberry forest, which is frequented by bilberry pickers. When it comes to mushroom hunters, they are drawn here by the acidic and fertile beech forests covering large stretches of the park. The park's river valleys contain wet-ground and riparian forests. Among its non-forest habitats, peat bogs are of particular interest. These are endangered, often inaccessible swamps which provide shelter for rare and protected species, such as the carnivorous sundew and beautiful orchids. Lakes of various sizes, shapes and origin also form an important feature of the landscape. The largest of them all are Lake Jasień (590 ha) and Lake Głębokie (107 ha). Lobelia lakes are some of the most valuable, as they group relic species of plants. On many of their sections, the river beds alone become valuable natural habitats, such as Ranunculion fluitantis with beautifully blooming white water-crowfoot.
The waters of the Słupia are famous for both Atlantic salmon and sea trout which have great natural and economic value. It is here that on the first of January, anglers come flocking from even the remotest corners of Poland to gather by the riverbank and compete in the local angling competition.
The wonderful variety of habitats finds reflection in the diversity of the bird species living here. The forests resound with the graceful songs of willow warblers, robins, blackbirds and other airborne denizens. The higher skies are inhabited by majestic birds of prey, among which the white-tailed sea eagle is the largest. The much-smaller red kite can sometimes be encountered near fields and meadows. The banks of rivers and streams attract kingfishers, grey wagtails, green sandpipers, common sandpipers, sand martins and dippers. White stork nests also crown wayside posts and roofs. In addition, the park is an important crane refuge and a place of gathering and wintering for mute swans and whooper swans. The old hollow-marked trees spotted about the landscape provide home to golden-eyes and common mergansers. The entire park was named one of the 144 bird refuges in Poland, and is a Natura 2000 site.
Please feel invited to follow the nature trails that provide you with an insight into the diverse assets of our Park. Cyclists can take the marked cycling trail, while water sports enthusiasts can take advantage of the canoeing route on the Słupia. The hydroelectric power plants route, which features many of these monuments of material culture, is also very popular. These hydro plants which have operated without fail for one hundred years and which boast unique technical solutions, have now become a special local tourist item.
Autor: Park Krajobrazowy Dolina Słupi
Foto: Lucjan Duchnowicz