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 Mylof Dam

The Mylof Dam

     The hydrotechnical system of the Brda in the Tuchola Forest is a set of mostly still-active devices, which have regulated the hydrographic conditions of the area for about 150 years, and for the last several dozen years have been used as a fascinating and popular canoe trail.

It all started in mid 19th Century from the Prussian demand for hay to feed the horses serving in cavalry and transport units. Previously-cleared stretches of land, which only needed proper irrigation, would be perfect places for hay production. It is for this purpose that the work started on taking advantage of the Brda as a vehicle to carry out the strategic plan of supplying the West Prussian garrison with feed. The plan's main component was the water body in Zapora, bearing the Kashubian name of Lake Mylof. In fact it was nothing else but the broadened river bed of the Brda, which accumulated and dammed up the water. From here, it flowed in a thirty-kilometre-long channel that split into a number of arms, and on to the so-called Czerskie Łąki - the actual production place for the strategic hay. Because of its rarity, the most interesting solution used by the Prussian engineers was the aqueduct in Fojutowo - a crossing of two watercourses - the Czerska Struga below, and the Roman-inspired aqueduct of the Brda Channel above.

In time, the production of "horse fuel" was replaced by electrical power generation - the waters of Lake Mylof were used to propel the turbine of the still-active hydro plant. The local dam is one of the oldest structures of its kind in Poland.

The Great Brda Channel, with all its attractions and breathtaking views, and also its sluggish current and low depth, is an excellent place to start your canoeing adventure. No wonder you can see whole families sharing the experience of safe rowing in gorgeous surroundings.