On the educational trail, you will pass through well-preserved suburban agricultural landscape that used to be intensively farmed in the past. You will see individual farmsteads with remaining fragments of gardens, orchards, vineyards, and pastures. The whole area is valuable both ecologically and biologically, geomorphologically, and to a large extent also historically.
The most valuable places you will visit - Havránka, Salabka, and Velká Skála - were declared protected areas.
The educational trail begins at the intersection of the holloway and the Nádvorní street, about 25 m from the southern ticket office. On the three-kilometre trail, you will find a total of 9 information panels and a beautiful panorama of the Pustá Vinice moorland.
You should reserve at least 2 hours for the entire route. The ascent from the first panel via the holloway is full of potholes, river boulders, and pebbles and is quite demanding. Another demanding section is the steep ascent from the Haltýř river source to the Velká Skála natural monument.
The whole trail is well-marked with educational trail signs - a white square with a diagonal green stripe. The educational trail ends at the bus 112 stop called Kovárna. You can also leave the trail in the middle. From the botanical garden parking lot, you can go to buses 144 and 102 (the Na Pazderce stop) which take you to metro line C - Kobylisy.
The most interesting places along the educational trail
On the educational trail, you will visit the only two moorlands in Prague: the Salabka natural monument and the Havránka natural monument, where heather grows in a location called Pustá Vinice. Smaller areas with heather grow also here in Troja on the chert outcrops above the Haltýř river source and on Velká Skála.
Salabka Natural Monument
Heather (Calluna vulgaris) thrives on the acidic chert outcrops. Most often, it grows together with wavy hair-grass (Avenella flexuosa). Slate outcrops often indicate communities with dominant heath false brome (Brachypodium pinnatum) and cream pincushions (Scabiosa ochroleuca) and with other accompanying species, such as Festuca rupicola, false oat-grass (Arrhenatherum elatius), meadow oat-grass (Helictotrichon pratense), or the yellow-flowering common bird's-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus). At the end of summer, the eye-catching field eryngo (Eryngium campestre), also known as Watling Street thistle, blooms with striking grey-blue inflorescences.
Havránka Natural Monument - Haltýř River Valley
This protected area consists of two separate parts: the Haltýř river source and the Pustá Vinice moorland.
In Haltýř, there are several protected river sources. In the past, the strongest one was collected into a storage tank and used for the needs of the Troja Chateau. Today it is protected by a wooden shelter.
In the wetland vegetation around the river source, the dominant plants are rushes (Juncus inflexus) and great willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum). From other species, you will see the white-flowering meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), marsh horsetail (Equisetum palustre), or white butterbur (Petasites albus), which blooms early in spring.
In the wetland, you will also find footprints of wild pigs. At the back of the river source, there is a wallow, and on the railings around the wetland, you will often find traces of mud left by wild boars.
Havránka Natural Monument - Pustá Vinice Moorland
Here too, the common heather grows on chert outcrops which are poor in minerals. In addition to heather and wavy hair-grass (Avenella flexuosa), there grow also the mouse-ear hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella), red sorrel (Acetosella vulgaris), or the Scottish bluebell (Campanula rotundifolia).
Thermophilous shrubs, in particular blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), dog rose (Rosa canina), and various hawthorns (Crataegus sp.) grow in parts with deeper soil.
The Pustá Vinice moorland has been severely damaged in recent years. Cyclists and horse riders often take shortcuts through the heather, not respecting that it is a valuable protected area, not a highway. Therefore, in April 2006, a large part of the Pustá Vinice moorland was redeveloped. The erosion furrow was filled up with moorland substrate, covered with coconut matting, and subsequently sown.
Velká Skála Natural Monument
This is the highest-situated stop on our trail (the top of Velká Skála reaches 314 m). The whole area lies on a distinctive chart ridge, partly hidden among trees with lots of chart rubble at its foot.
Vegetation at Velká Skála is very sparse and includes mostly non-indigenous communities. The foot of the slopes is covered with planted European larch (Larix decidua), black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), and black pine (Pinus nigra). Indigenous communities can be found in the upper parts of the massif. They include mainly heather and other species that you already know from Salabka or Pustá Vinice.