Raná National Nature Reserve

The Raná NNR covers the forest-free south–western section of the massif with three peaks (457 m) above the Raná village and close to the town of Louny in the west of the Ústecký kraj – Ústí nad Labem Region. The Raná NNR was declared in 1951 on a territory of 9.3 ha. at elevations between 307 metres and 406 metres above sea level. Raná hill had already been declared a “Town Reserve” by the town of Louny from 1936. Raná is a locality of international significance as an example of the conserved remnants of dry thermophilous grassland, communities with feather-grasses and with the occurrence of the critically endangered steppe oat-grass Helictotrichon desertorum on the western border of its range.
The originally subsurface dyke was formed of the basaltic rock – olivine nephelinite, which was exposed after the softer sedimentary rocks of the Teplice Formation were eroded away. A sharp contrast was formed between the distinctive volcanic relief of the Raná massif and the flat or slightly wavy terrain of the surrounding terrain on Cretaceous sediments. The territory lies on the transition between the relief of the České středohoří range and the Bohemian Cretaceous Basin. Magma forced its way up through one of the fissures running in a SW – NE direction which was formed by tectonic movements and this is typical for the south–western section of the České středohoří mountain range.
A belt of small exposed rock formations is located on the upper southern slopes with chasmophytic vegetation. However, the most important communities on Raná are the grasslands with rich populations of specially protected species, including basket of gold (Aurinia saxatilis), St. Bernard’s lily (Anthericum liliago), hart’s milk vetch (Astragalus excapus), the milk vetch Astragalus austriacus, purple milk vetch (Astragalus danicus), yellow pheasant’s eye (Adonis vernalis), Bohemian small pasque flower (Pulsatilla pratensis ssp. bohemica), purple mullein (Verbascum phoeniceum), fringed gentian (Gentianella ciliata), the steppe oat-grass Helictotrichon desertorum, the violet Viola ambigua and the feather-grasses Stipa joannis and especially Stipa pulcherrima – of which the form Stipa pulcherrima f. nudicostata is an endemic species on Raná. The Raná massif is one of only a few localities in the Czech Republic where the stemless carline thistle variety (Carlina acaulis subsp. simplex) grows.

Zoological research on Raná NNR has so far been confined to vertebrates and certain insect families including ground beetles and butterflies. Sixty five vertebrates occur here, of which fifty six regularly breed on the territory and the most notable are the tawny pipit (Anthus campestris) and the European souslik (Spermophilus citellus). The invertebrate fauna is as exceptional as in the nearby Oblík NNR, but is mostly concentrated outside the boundaries of Raná NNR due to its small surface area. We can find the following species of note here: the Rock Spider Haplodrassus bohemicus, the critically endangered butterflies Damon blue (Polyommatus damon) and Lulworth skipper (Thymelicus acteon) as well as the weevil Melanobaris morio and the endemic ground beetle Harpalus cisteloides hurkai.
Within the realms of Czech nature protection this is one of the most controversial localities as Raná hill is the birthplace of Czech hang-gliding and paragliding and model aircraft are also flown from the hilltop. The traditional grazing by sheep and goats has been renewed, but only on part of the NNR territory. Raná is included in the Natura 2000 system as a proposed Site of Community Importance (Raná – Hrádek) to protect the thermophilous plant communities and the colony of European souslik.