Železné hory Protected Landscape Area

Basic information

The Železné hory Protected Landscape Area was established by the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic on 27th March, 1991, covering a territory of 284 km².The majority of the PLA lies in the Pardubický kraj – Pardubice Region, with the southern section in the kraj Vysočina – Bohemian-Moravian Highlands Region.

Sudden transitions from one landscape type to another are typical of the Železné hory landscape, which is determined by the long and complex geological development of the region. The mountain range is a part of the Českomoravská vrchovina upland area, but it differs from the rest of the uplands in a number of ways. The dominant landscape feature is the fault ridge, which was raised along a deep fault line which stretches as far as Saxony. The central part of the territory has a peneplain character and is most similar to the rest of the Bohemian-Moravian upland regions, although we can find impressive deep ravines and extensive stream alluvial plains, as well as the Chrudimka river. In the northern section, the territory slopes gently down to the Labe (Elbe) valley. The Železné hory range is separated from the main upland region by the depression between Ždírec nad Doubravou and Hlinsko, and the range is also the northernmost promontory of the Českomoravská vrchovina uplands.

The long history of settlement has modified the landscape character of the area and typical features are the alternation of forests, meadows and fields complemented by many small settlements with remnants of folk architecture and a near absence of industry.

Evidence of the area’s geological development can be seen in many former quarries, in the various soil types and from the remains of old mineral extraction and working of raw materials.

Despite the long settlement history of the landscape, many natural and near-natural localities have been conserved.

The PLA has 42.9 % of its territory forested, but mostly with forest stands of modified age and species composition. The fault ridge is almost entirely forested and extensive forests are also found in the central and eastern sections of the PLA. The largest reserve lies directly on the ridge and is named the Lichnice – Kaňkovy hory National Nature Reserve. This NNR is also a part of the proposed Site of Community Importance of the same name.

Agricultural land covers more than 50 % of the PLA and agricultural use has changed in recent years in favour of grassland, although the species composition is considerably modified. Remnants of the original wetlands and herb–rich meadows have been conserved and the most valuable localities are protected as nature reserves. The Zlatá louka Nature Reserve was set up to protect poor fen meadows, but in contrast the Zubří Nature Reserve protects a dry heathland.

We can find 21 small-size Specially Protected Areas and 7 proposed Sites of Community Importance within the PLA.