Westpomerania – Green, healthy and joyful! Feel the atmosphere of our region!
The diversity of tourist attractions of the Westpomeranian Region
is enriched by its natural values. National and landscape parks, natural reserves and dendrological gardens allow nature lovers to compile a collection of pictures of rare and protected plants and animals.
Wolin National Park is located on the estuary of the Oder River and it covers the north-west part of Wolin Island,
the coastal waters of the Baltic Sea and part of the Szczecin Lagoon, the delta of the Swina River and also a part the Bay of Pomerania. Over 1300 plant species may be found in the park. The cliffsides are bushed up with the common-sea buckthorn, the moraine hills are covered with beech and pine forests and the bottom of the Baltic Sea is blanketed with cholophytes – brown and red algae. Among the multitude of birds we might see a white-tailed sea eagle or a red-breasted flycatcher, and in the waters of the Bay of Pomerania, a grey seal and a harbour porpoise. There is also a wisent reserve and a Didactic and Museum Centre.
In the centre of the region,
in the central section of the Drawa River, the Drawa National Park has been established in order to protect the Drawsko Forest. Within the park there are 14 ribbon lakes and peatlands. The protected plant species include a sundew and an orchid. Among the protected animals there are fish (salmon, trout, grayling, lavaret, vendance), amphibians (European tree frogs, great crested newts), reptiles (European pond turtles, smooth snakes, adders), birds (white-tailed sea eagles, ospreys, eagle-owls, kingfishers, grey wagtails, cormorants) and mammals (beavers and otters).
In the remaining part of the region several landscape parks have been created. In the place where the Gorzów Forest and the Myślibórz Lakeland meet, the Barlinek-Gorzów Landscape Park has been established. One can find there marsh flora and fauna, moraine hills with lime and sandstone rocks, Central Europe wet ground forest and also a salmonidae fish reserve.
In the Oder Valley region two landscape areas have been created. The first one is the Cedynia Landscape Park, located in the Oder Valley and the pine and mixed forests of the Piaskowa Forest, and the Mieszkowice Forests located to the west. From one of the numerous viewing points (Zwierzyniec is the highest one – 167 m above sea level) one may admire the spectacular panorama of the moraine hills crossed by river valleys and streams. Within the park borders there are 104 lakes with surfaces above 1 ha. The biggest of them – Lake Morzycko – is at the same time one of the deepest in the country (60 m).
The Lower Oder Valley Landscape Park includes Widuchowa, Gryfino, Kołbaskowo and, partly, the Szczecin municipalities. Within the park’s borders there are peatlands and marshes crossed by a network of canals and oxbow lakes, with flora and fauna that cannot be found in the valleys of other big rivers. One may encounter over 200 bird species and almost 100 communities of unique vegetation. There are also numerous reptiles, amphibians and insects (just to mention the 35 dragonfly species that have been discovered here).
At the south-east end of Szczecin there is the Szczecin Landscape Park „Beech Forest”.
These are the Bukowe Hills, covered with vast forrests, which form a range of the highest moraine hills in this part of Pomerania which are crossed with deep valleys. The deepest of them are covered with peatlands and lakes – Lakes Glinna and Binowskie are the biggest ones. There is an interesting fact about the picturesque Lake Szmaragdowe (Emerald Lake) – it was created on the site of a chalk mine which had been flooded by underground waters. In the Beech Forest there are 18 orchid species and 328 mushroom species. One can also encounter such animals as foxes, badgers, stoats, weasels and also roe deer, deer and wild boars.
The Wkrzańska Forest surrounds Szczecin from the north-west. It is crossed with numerous walking and cycling tourist trails. When visiting it one may come across a great number of archeological sites and, first of all, the Świdwie Water-Birds Reserve. It is one of the most important birdwatching spots in Europe. One may see there, among others, cranes, orioles, marsh-harriers, white-tailed sea eagles, red kites and rufs. This reserve has been included in the international RAMSAR Convention as one of the more important wetlands in the world.
In the Ińsko Lakeland the Ińsko Landscape Park has been established and it portects terminal moraine hills covered with forests and reaching as high as 180 m above sea level. White-tailed sea eagles, black stork, lesser spotted eagles, red and black kites nest here, and the number of nesting cranes is the highest in Poland.
A bit further away – in the central part of the Drawsko Lakeland – the Drawsko Landscape Park is located. It covers an area shaped during the so-called Baltic glaciation. Terminal moraine hills, ravines, glacial erratics, ribbon lakes, ponds and peatlands are its residues.
The biggest and the deepest among the 48 big lakes are, starting from the deepest, Lake Drawsko, Siecino and Komorze. In this area one can find lobelia lakes, extremely precious in terms of environment, accommodating relic postglacial vegetation. In the forest one may find common honeysuckle, mezereon, Turk’s cap lily, bearberry, monkshood, sundews, ground pines, and orchids. The streams and lakes are inhabited by 35 fish species, including lavaret, vendance, barbel, chub and brown trout. The birds that in great numbers inhabit this area are, among others, grebes, swans, ducks and cranes. Also endangered species nest here – white-tailed sea eagle, lesser spotted eagle, eagle-owl, kite, black stork and bittern.
On the southern verge of the Beech Forest, in 1823 the first private forest nurseries were established. In about 1870 they were taken over by the State Forests. Then the chief forester, Carl Ludwig Gené, contributed to planting new, exotic species of trees and bushes, but not many of them managed to survive to date. In this way the foundations for the Dendrological Garden in Glinna were established. It was first mentioned in 1911 in the publication by A. Schwappach. Since 1970 the garden has been looked after by the Gryfino Forestry Inspectorate.
The Dendrological Garden in Przelewice was at first an English landscape park located by a palace. Some examples of beeches, limes and ashes, and some foreign species – plane trees, eastern white pines, thuja occidentalis and ginkos coming from that time – have been retained there. A total restructuring of the park took place between 1933 and 1938, when Przelewice was owned by Conrad von Borsig, a member of the German Dendrological Association. Thanks to his order and participation the new, current composition of the garden was created.
In Dobrzyca near Koszalin one can find the “Hortulus” Theme Gardens. They are a vast complex of gardens that consists of the only Theme Gardens in Poland that can be visited by tourists, the Ornamental Plants Nursery, and also the Garden Centre. 28 different theme gardens covering an area of 4 ha are available for tourists to visit. In total, dozens of thousands of species and varieties of plants has been accumulated here. Because of the exceptionally mild climatic zone here, one can find species that are exotic and unique in Poland.