Milešovka National Nature Reserve

The Milešovka NNR was declared in 1951 on an area of 60.32 ha in the Ústecký kraj – Ústí nad Labem Region. The subjects of the protection are the forest ecosystems on the mountain slopes, rock and scree communities and other values and phenomena resulting from the exceptional position of Mt. Milešovka among the other hills of the České středohoří mountain range. It is the highest peak at 837 metres above sea level, is much higher than the surrounding areas and has its own special microclimatic features.

The Milešovka massif is built of grey to green-grey sodalite trachyte with phenocrysts of alkali feldspar, hauyne, sodalite and hornblende. In places the minerals form massive columns which area broken into plates at an oblique angle to the lengthways axis. Basaltic rocks are also exposed at the foot of the mountain. The southern half of the cone is covered with Mesozoic marlstones and calcareous claystones of the Březno Formation. The border between the basalt and the vulcanites is mostly covered by talus. The northern half of the mountain is covered with Tertiary clays, tuffs, colluvial loams and talus. The regular slope gradient of up to 30° is interrupted on the south – western slopes by the vertical wall known as Výří skály (Eagle Owl Cliffs). In several places there are interesting examples of ventaroles.

Almost the entire area of the Milešovka NNR is forested and in lighter places or near the rocky outcrops we can find several specially protected plant species, including the stool iris (Iris aphylla) or martagon lily (Lilium martagon). The fern (Woodsia ilvensis) grows on the rocks below the summit. Basket of gold (Aurinia saxatilis) and large and vital growths of Alpine bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) grow on the terraces and ledges of the Výří skály rock wall.

The fauna is of a forest character with montane and submontane species present. Ninety four vertebrate species have been recorded here, of which 90 % are species bound to forest biotypes and less than 5 % are bound to the rocks. From a zoogeographical viewpoint Mt. Milešovka is an island of mountain flora in the warm region of the České středohoří range. Thermophilous vertebrate species are missing and with the exception of the Výří skály cliffs, xerophilous and thermophilous molluscs are also absent. Specially protected vertebrate species include the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra), eagle owl (Bubo bubo), hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) and greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis). The invertebrate fauna is not well researched but notable species include the gastropod-disc snail Discus ruderatus and the ground beetle Carabus irregularis.

The southern slopes of Mt. Milešovka are forested with predominant oak and a mixture of self-set ashes and limes. The steep, rocky SE slope has stands of oak with low-grade birches, and further up the slope the trees are of a dwarf appearance. The steep SW slopes which easily dry out are covered with sessile oak with rowans and birches and in the area around the Výří skály cliffs the stands are of oak with cornelian cherry and rocky forest steppe. The rest of the territory is dominated by beech communities but there are also fragments of cultural spruce forest on the western and northern slopes. The natural mountain spruce forests on the summit with flag-shaped trees (wind deformation) have almost completely died off. Such natural spruces on the summit of the highest and windiest peak of České středohoří were a unique feature.

Mt. Milešovka is an important tourist destination and locality offering views over a very wide area of central and north Bohemia. The Czech Academy of Science’s meteorological observatory on the summit has been in operation since 1905, telecommunication and other facilities are also built on the summit. These installations have a negative effect on the summit and the territory around the summit. Milešovka is a biocentre of national significance. The Milešovka proposed Site of Community Importance is prepared for inclusion in the Natura 2000 system to protect the forest ecosystems and the communities bound to rocks and scree.