Kaluzhskye Zaseki nature reserve
The state nature reserve Kaluzhskye Zaseki was created in 1992 and is the only nature reserve of broadleaved forests, which have preserved within the borders of the abatis line of the Russian state, in the territory of the European part of Russia. Indigenous complex oak forests aged more than 250-350 years, which are unique for Eastern Europe, have preserved here. The mammal fauna includes such rare species for the region like bear, Lynx, badger, European mink, many species of birds of prey. Since 2001, a wisent has become a permanent savage specie, its population exceeded 50 specimen.
As you know, you will not be let into the nature reserve without a pass. Still there is a possibility to get into this open-air laboratory. About 10 environmental routes were developed by its inhabitants to familiarise with the unique nature of Kaluzhskye Zaseki. They include short general tours, walking many-hour routes across country, combined routes, water routes along the Vytebet River. With a guide, you can get into primeval forests with age-old trees, learn the history of abatis line forests, find pugmarks of savage animals. Each thematic route is unique, interesting and not like the previous one. Thus, the 5000 m long ecological trail Dubenskaya Zaseka tells about the role of abatis lines in the historical section.
You will visit a historical abatis forest, see the ancient oak forest with giant specimens of trees. On the Wisent Trail visitors accompanied by a guide are offered to see with their own eyes the savage flock of wisents, observe forest titans, including photo and video recording, learn their forest habits… There are also other tours: Oak Forest, Forest ABC, Forest Fairytale, Secrets of a Virgin Forest, Forgotten Villages. Guests are welcomed at any season of the year. For example, in winter the snow cover is some sort of a “forest book”, in which you can read interesting pages from the life of inhabitants of the forest together with a professional from the nature reserve.
To get to the nature reserve with your own vehicle, go to Kozelsk, from there follow the signpost to the Ulyanovo village. There are regular buses from Kaluga to Ulyanovo three times a day. There are also buses from Moscow to Ulyanovo through Kaluga and drive-by buses to Khvastovichi.
Workers of the nature reserve can meet you in the Ulyanovo village upon preliminary agreement and using special vehicles will deliver you to any route in the nature reserve area. A cross-country vehicle Trecol, snow mobiles are used in conditions of roadless terrain in the forest.