Úhošť National Nature Reserve

The Úhošť NNR was declared in 1974 on a total area of 208.30 ha, of which 93.73 ha forms the buffer zone. The reserve is situated in the Chomutov district in the Ústí nad Labem region and is in the NE section of the Doupovské hory mountains at elevations of 375 to 593 metres. The subject of the protection is the forest-steppe and steppe formations on the slopes of the geomorphologically notable table mountain Úhošť, with many rare and protected animal and plant species occurring here. The reserve is a typical example of the biocenosis of the Doupovské hory mountains.

The geological basement consists of rocks of the NE edge of the Tertiary neovolcanic complex of Doupovské hory of Oligocene to Miocene age. The Úhošť table mountain is formed of 5 tilted layers of basaltic rocks (leucitite, basanite, tephrite and basalt) interbedded with softer layers of tuffs and tuffites.

The slopes are covered with Quaternary stoney-clayey colluvia and talus. Extensive talus fields have formed in places. Geomorphologically, Úhošť is a striking and extensive table mountain, which has been cut off from the contiguous massif of volcanic rocks and tuffs of Doupovské hory by the erosional activities of the Ohře river and the Donínský potok and Hradecký potok streams. The summit plateau covers an area 1200 m long by 600 m wide. The main slopes face exactly to the north, south, east and west and are terraced as a result of the varying resistance of the layers of volcanic rocks and the tuffs.

Researchers have documented 560 vascular plant species in the NNR. The most valuable vegetation communities are the rocky steppe, grassy steppe and forest steppe types. These most valuable communities are found on the eastern, southern and western slopes and around the edges of the summit area. The northern slope is more forested with small talus fields. The most significant plant species which grow here include basket of gold (Aurinia saxatilis), St. Bernard’s lily (Anthericum liliago), Cheddar pink (Dianthus gratianopolitanus), fragrant orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea), small Bohemian pasque flower (Pulsatilla pratensis ssp.bohemica), the feathergrasses Stipa zalesskii, Stipa pennata, Stipa capillata and Stipa smirnovii, broad-leaved helleborine (Epipactis helleborine), martagon lily (Lilium martagon) and bastard balm ((Melitis melissophyllum). The feathergrass Stippa zalesskii is on the western edge of its range here.

All-aged mixed forest growths are found on part of the territory and the remnants of the native oak-hornbeam stands on the NW slopes. Non-native Austrian pines (Robinia pseudoacacia) and Norway spruces (Picea abies) were planted on part of the NNR territory.

Úhošť is also a notable zoological locality. Reptiles which can be found here are the adder (Vipera berus), sand lizard (Lacerta agilis), viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara) and the smooth snake (Coronella austriaca). Significant bird species include the eagle owls (Bubo bubo) which nest here, the honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus), nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus), barred warbler (Sylvia nisoria), red-breasted flycatcher (Ficedula parva) and corn bunting (Emberiza calandra). There are also strong populations of bats, both in the forested areas and in the abandoned village. The strong populations of some rare invertebrates such as the xerophilous and thermophilous gastropods: thin pillar snail (Cochlicopa lubricella) and the column snail Pupilla triplicata are also of great significance.

A circular themed nature trail leads through the NNR and will take visitors to the most interesting localities. Important archaeological finds have also been made on Úhošť and evidence has been found of settlement in the late Bronze Age and also by the Celts. A small village was also on Úhošť table mountain but this was abandoned during the 1950s.

For the last several years, considerable finances from the Landscape Management Programme and the budget of the town of Kadaň have been used to manage this NNR. Management of the territory is aimed at preserving the steppe communities by removing shrub growths which are overgrowing the grasslands and liquidating the Austrian pines.