The District of Jarocin is exceptionally interesting from the landscape and historical point of view. This charming area attracts rural tourism businesses, i.e. it is possible to go on vacation here and take full advantage of what nature itself has to offer: you can go fishing or ide a horse. A lot of unforgettable experiences are there to be gained by hikers and bikers on regional hiking and bicycle trails. For active tourists they are a perfect starting point. Many tourist routes cross among our forests and meadows, located within the most beautiful landscape and culture areas of the district. A total of 600 km of well-marked hiking and bicycle trails are there to be discovered. Moreover, forests from all sides surround the district, they act as a natural barrier, improving local climate.
Żerkowsko-Czeszewski Park Krajobrazowy [Żerkowsko-Czeszewski Landscape Park]
The Park was established in 1994, due to outstanding tourist and natural value of the District of Jarocin. This particular form of nature protection was applied in a zone of a total area of 15,640 ha (some 38,650 acres), set in the middle of Wielkopolska. It is located about 12 km north from Jarocin. It is easy to be charmed by the varied terrain, rich floral communities and rare animal species, living in the zone.
The park covers a total area of 15,640 ha (some 38,650 acres), including 8194 ha (some 20,200 acres) of arable land, which amouts to 52% of its total area, as well as 6129 (some 15,150) ha of forests, i.e. 39% of total area. The municipality of Żerków has access to 8680 ha (some 21,500 acres) of the park, the municipality of Miłosław: 5880 (some 14,500 acres), and the municipality of Nowe Miasto nad Wartą: 1080 ha (some 2,700 acres).
Varied terrain relief, rich floral communities and rare animal species living in the zone, as well as cultural heritage directly related to the region’s fascinating past, are all objects of protection. The park lays within the Warta River basin, being trained by Warta River, Miłosława River and Lutynia River. They all created many picturesque old riverbeds within this alluvial terrace. During the migration period, they provide winter shelter for waterbirds, although these also stay at fishponds, many of which exist in the Miłosławka River basin. Pradolina Warciańsko-Odrzańska glacial valley divides the park into two parts: the northern part, of farm/forest characteristics with forest vegetation predominance, and the southern part, more like a mosaic of forests, meadows, peat bogs, water basins and rural settlements.
The varied terrain relief in the area is an effect of glacial activity in the region. There are four distinct types of local terrain relief. From the north it is a glacial, undulating upland, cut from its northeast to southwest corner by the Miłosławka River valley with many fishponds on the way. Another type would be the glacial valley of the Warta River, featuring well-developed terraces. Many old riverbeds have been preserved there.
Wał Żerkowski, a majestic glacial hill, is hard to miss too. Its terrain relief is highly varied and culminates on top of Łysa Góra (161 MASL) and Góra Żerkowska (155 MASL). A particular kind of charm of this area might be due to a number of erosion cracks, ravines, steep slopes and elevated heights (up to 90 m). The neighbourhood of Żerków, which rises well above Warta River valley, is the perfect spot to admire the landscapes of distant forests, manors and villages. A convenient observation point is set in Brzóstków.
The last type of terrain relief is Pradolina Żerkowska valley that surrounds Wał Żerkowski from the south, east and north. Lubieszka River, i.e. Lutynia River’s left side stream, flows through its bottom.
Pine monocultures are predominant in the southern part of the park, introduced on barren soils. However, the so-called czeszewski forest in the north is one of Wielkopolska’s most beautiful and interesting forest areas. These are present in the Warta River valley and are often similar in form to natural formations of this kind; they are, therefore, valuable objects of geobotanic research. Predominant species of trees are: ash-tree, English oak, small-leaved lime, black alder, and (to less extent) elms and silver birches, as well as many other protected species.
Wielkopolska’s first natural reserve was established in these very forests as early as in 1907, in order to protect part of a mixed-nature riparian forest down in Warta River valley. Nowadays, some of the most valuable parts of these forests form part of the reserve.
The reserves created received the names of “Czeszewski Las”, “Dwunastak” and “Dębno nad Wartą”. Żerkowsko-Czeszewski Landscape Park is not only famous for more than 800 vascular plants’ species, but also features a large variety of animal species. Some very rare invertebrate species are protected in “Dębno nad Wartą” reserve. Also, the ponds of Miłosław and the Warta River valley are home for water birds and wetland birds, such as kingfisher, Grey Heron, grebe, coot, swans, ducks, as well as many other protected species. Many birds set up their nests here during their breeding season; others visit the area during migrations. Apart from its undoubted natural value, Żerkowsko-Czeszewski Landscape Park is a historically interesting zone. Many prehistoric discoveries from different eras were made here, i.e. settlements and cemeteries. It proves that these lands were already inhabited in a very distance past. In the park there are a lot of architecture highlights, which is by itself a good recommendation for sightseeing. Well-marked tourist trails make it all quite easy. Poet Adam Mickiewicz’s historic stay in Śmiełów in 1831 made this area famous; it is said that the first lines of Mickiewicz’s Sir Thaddeus [Pan Tadeusz], Polish national epic poem, were written right here, as the author was fascinated with the beauty of these lands.
“Polish Switzerland” or “Żerków’s Switzerland”
Established in 1989, it is a zone of protected landscape. Nowadays most of this area (but a fragment in the west) forms part of the Żerkowsko-Czeszewski Landscape Park.