Ojcow National Park
It was established in 1956 and covers the area of 2146 ha, of which the forests take 71%. It comprises the most beautiful fragment of the Krakow Highland. The Park has diversified and rich krastic sculpture of the earth’s surface, which is composed of steep walls of gorges built of upper Jurassic limestones, accompanied by inselberg forms of rock limestones, going up to the height of 50 meters.
They have fantastic shapes and legendary names e.g. “Hercules’s Club” or “Deotyma’s Needle”. Apart from deep gorges, dry valleys and krastic ravines, the subsoil waters hollowed out around 200 caves, of which the biggest one – “Lokietka Cave” is 270 meters long.
There are around 30 plant communities here with: forests growing on dry ground (40% of the forest area), Carpathian beeches (31% of the forest area), the rare Arum maculatum, the aconite Aconitum moldavicum and a group of the mountain sycamore. The non-forest communities, e.g. the lady’s-mantle subgroup of rye-grass meadows, xerothermic steppe grass and lichenaceous grass give the Park a special character.
The flora of vascular plants comprises 950 species (60 legally protected species), including 5,5% mountain species, 25% xerothermic and stenothermal species, legally protected: the needle grass Stipa joanis and the cherry Cerasus fruticosa. To botanical peculiarities belong: the birch Betula oycoviensis and the heart’s tongue Phyllitis scolopendrium.
The fauna of the Park is estimated at around 4050 species, including 120 species of birds, e.g. the dipper Cinclus cinclus, the grey wagtail Motacilla cinerea, the rock thrush Monticola saxatilis. In the caves there live 15 species of legally protected bats, including the rarest one – the Geoffroy’s bat Myotis emarginatus.