ALTERNATIVELY THROUGH POLAND: MILICZ PONDS
MILICZ - WHERE’S THAT?
Milicz is not a well-known, nor very popular city in Poland. Not many Polish people even heard of it, not to mention visiting it. It’s not actually about the city itself, but rather about tits surroundings. Until I went to see the complex of the Milicz Ponds, I had too no idea what to identify this small town with, located in the north of the Lower Silesia Voivodship. The fact is that it is laying on the route of the Barycz Valley landscape park, which is appreciated by fans of hiking or canoeing. However, it is the ponds that constitute the most recognizable object of Milicz, even though they do not directly adjoin it, because they are bordering with nearby small villages such as: Stawno, Grabówka, Ruda Milicka or Ruda Sułowska.
MILICZ PONDS - WHAT’S THAT?
Milicz Ponds are the largest pond complex in Europe. The first of them were created in the twelfth century by Cistercians, medieval Catholic monks. The pond complex is also the largest ornithological area in Poland: almost 300 species of birds can be found here. The surrounding areas are very clean, as evidenced by the lichen of the Icelandic lung. Milicz ponds are the only ones in Poland that belong to Living Lakes, an international network of lakes and other water reservoirs protected due to the unique natural values (the Black Sea, Titicaca and Lake Victoria also belong to this agreement). Carp breeding, the process of creation and the infrastructure of the ponds have not changed here for nine centuries. Cessation of breeding activities, and on the other hand, too much human interference could have a negative impact on the fauna and flora of this region, which is why it is protected by opening to the visitors only some of its parts, isolating mainly the areas of carp fishing.
There are five separate pond complexes in the reserve area: Stawno, Potasznia, Radziądz, Jamnik and worth recommending Ruda Sułowska. Specially prepared and marked tourist and didactic paths allow you to enjoy beautiful landscapes at any time of the year. The most interesting time to observe birds is certainly the beginning of spring, because it is the breeding season, and also in the autumn, when the water level decreases in the ponds, and numerous flocks of geese rest at the shore. It is worth taking a walk on the ponds also during warmer spring evenings, where from the tower on the Grabownica pond you can see less common specimens of white-tailed eagles or black kites. The least interesting time for ornithologists is summer, because the ponds are overgrown with grasses and reeds, and it is increasingly difficult to see birds that during this period deal mainly with the young. On the other hand, July and August is a great time for kayaking, offering rather quiet but very picturesque routes.
RUDA SUŁOWSKA - WHERE THE ADVENTURE WITH THE PONDS BEGINS
This small village surrounded on each side by ponds, located west of Milicz, is famous for the area with the largest number of stork nests. Visiting the ponds is worth starting in the south of Ruda Sułowska, where you can park your car at the top of the gables that say, "I want to stay here" (marked Unnamed Road on the map next). It is not a proper parking, but there is enough space for a few cars, and next to it there are roofed wooden benches and tables, perfect for a picnic in the open air. Entrance to the pond area is free, however, it is necessary to comply with the prohibitions that quite often appear on the trail. A big plus of the reserve is a small number of tourists, so if you are looking for a place for uninterrupted contact with nature, you've come to the right place. The hardened nature trails leading along the dikes between the ponds are also suitable for a cycling trip. The route at Ruda Sułowska is marked by eight stops with information boards, and the whole creates a loop of about six kilometers, which can be overcome with a quiet, walking pace in less than two hours.
HOW TO BOOK ACCOMMODATION?
The NATURUM hotel offers great accommodation in comfortable rooms, harmonizing modernity with naturalness. The spacious and bright interiors were made of natural materials. Combined with dominant, warm colors, they create a cozy atmosphere with a high standard. The facility has a restaurant and an intimate wellness area. On the hotel website you can also buy occasional packages and vouchers.
IS IT WORTH VISITING MILICZ PONDS?
Milicz Ponds is an ideal area for those seeking peace, fresh air and breathing in nature, away from the city. Time has come to a halt here, because it is birds that determine the different times of the day and the year, not the hands of the clock. The reserve enjoys the eye all year long and if you want to spend the weekend on relaxing walks, landscaped bike trips or bird watching, it is worth coming here.