Czech Republic

August/September 2010 Ždánice

A boat trip on the river

This was our third visit to our Czech partners in south Moravia and we were so pleased to see the progress that has been made with the project to conserve ‘butterfly valley’, ‘our’ small area of common land adjacent to the town, surrounded by managed forest and intensively farmed arable fields. The richness of the flora and fauna there gives some indication of the abundance of wildlife that must have flourished widely in the Czech Republic before the arrival of intensive farming and the demise of animal grazing.

This time we were able to work with our hosts, the mayor and several members of the Town Council along with the NGO Daphne, their many Czech volunteers and friends, and a local goat and sheep farmer, to erect a large electric enclosure to enable us to graze the land. We set up a camp there so that we could take in turns to watch over the stock at night. We continued to clear the invading scrub and unwanted Robinia trees further up the valley and on the higher terraces where Daphne has planted some fruit trees this autumn.

The weather was disappointing – the summer of 2010 will go down in the Czech Republic as one of the wettest and gloomiest in recent years – on several days we did a cultural or ecological tour instead of working in the rain, including one trip to the spectacular Macocha Abyss in the Moravian Karst. There were, however, enough sunny days for us to enjoy the butterflies and other insects, and we saw plenty of reptiles and amphibians too. Our friend Karel took us to several good bird places – Mutenice Fishponds as last year were fantastic; at the flooded fields at Svatoborice-Mistřin south of Kyjov, we were able to see a great variety of migrant waders as well as Great Grey Shrike, Goshawk and Marsh Harriers; Karel also took us to the Bee-eater colony near Skoronice and showed us the susliks at Kyjov private airfield.

A boat trip on the river

Other highlights of the visit must include the organic food and folk festival in Čejkovice where we also went down into the Templars’ wine cellars, the blessing of the vines ceremony in Ždánice and the barbecue that followed, the evening in the Mayor’s wine cellar with delicious food and local wines, the historical evening in Bučovice castle, the fungus hunt with David in the woods and the delicious mushroom casserole he created, riding (trying to ride!) Iva Zajíčková’s Penny-Farthing bicycle, and last and especially memorable, the historic bicycles festival and party which took place on our first weekend of the visit – what an amazing way to be introduced to the wonderful town of Ždánice!


Richard Cooke Laurie Jackson
Dan Nuttall Lindsey Stirton
Graham Holyoak Lauren Clarke
Stuart Edmunds Grace Hall
Ždánice Plant List