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The River Warta Valley Landscape Park

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The Warta Landscape Park was created over an area of 134.3 sq. km in 1995. It lies in the Warta Valley, in Słupca and Września counties, between the A2 motorway and the confluence of the Prosna and Warta rivers below Pyzdry.

The park protects the broad-bottomed Warsaw-Berlin Glacial Valley. This is mostly covered by meadows and pastures that are seasonally flooded by the Warta, whose frequent changes in course have left numerous oxbow lakes. Most of the park consists of open areas - mainly meadows, watery pastures and boggy wastelands.

The economic utilisation of the park is a precondition for maintaining its present landscape. This has hindered a natural succession of plants. Unique valley communities come into being when the meadows are mowed or used for grazing. “Geese pastures” are especially interesting. These are areas subject to flooding on which flocks of white geese can be seen grazing from a distance.

The peculiar ecosystem of the valley floor, especially its abundance of plant life and cyclic fluvial inundation, have exerted a considerable influence on the conditions here, making them particularly conducive to birdlife. This has won this part of the Warta Valley international renown as a haven for water and marsh birds. No fewer than 230 species of bird have been confirmed in the park and more than 150 of them breed here. These include the Eurasian bittern, greylag goose, northern lapwing, little tern and black tern. Migratory species like the white-tailed eagle, goldeneye and goosander are no less numerous. There are some intriguing mammals in addition to the many and varied kinds of bird. Those that inhabit the marshlands, e.g. beavers, otters and elk, are especially noteworthy.

The many reservoirs on the park are favourable to promoting amphibian life and the Warta and its neighbouring reservoirs are the living environment for 33 species of fish, including wels catfish, eels, common barbels, zartes, spined loaches, European weather loaches and amur bitterlings.

The park’s outstanding natural virtues are further enhanced by the many species of plant, 57 of which, including clubmoss, pasqueflowers, orchids and white lotuses, are protected by law. The concentrations of halophytes appearing around the salty springs near Pyzdry, Białobrzeg and Wrąbczynek are something of an oddity. Here we might mention triglochin maritimum, salt sandspurry and sea milkweed.

The park’s facilities and events make it even more alluring. The post-Cistercian abbey next to the Natural Education Centre in Ląd is registered as a historical monument. An annual Slavic and Cistercian Cultural Festival is held in a nearby reconstructed medieval grad. The Warta’s periodically flooded oxbow lakes pan out from the Poznań Bishops’ Palace in Ciążeń whose library has amassed the largest collections of Masonic literature in Europe. The Nadwarciański Szlak Rowerowy (Warta Bicycle Path) that runs through the park and the many canoes for hire further enhance its appeal.

 

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