Austria, Blockheide Nature Park – Across the Land of Granite Boulders
Blockheide Park is located about 2 kilometers from Gmünd. This district town is best reached on foot. Just go straight from the town hall to Grillenstein. Typical granite boulders appear in the gardens as they pass through the villages. The park begins just outside the village. Another place to get here is the village of Eibenstein. You can park your car in both villages.
The nature reserve covers an area of 106 hectares and attracts tourists mainly to granite formations created by weathering granite. They are characterized by their shape that resembles pillows. In addition, there are also a few wavens, which can even really a little "wobble".
There are six marked trails in the park. MythologieTour is an interesting experience linking the most famous stone formations with mysterious names such as Devil's bed. The GranitkulTour Nature Trail, which deals with everything related to the local granite, also runs through the park. The length of most trails ranges between 2 and 3 kilometers and can be easily managed by families with children or seniors. The longest route is the Laufstrecke Pilzstein designed especially for runners, but no one will drive you out if you just go. The trail passes the lookout tower to the village of Eibenstein, then around the quarry and the place where the Lutheran church used to stand, to the Mushroom Stone (Pilzstein), after which it was named. The Marienkäferweg trail is slightly shorter. Both measure slightly over 5.5 kilometers.
Other Interesting Things
In addition to the mentioned granite boulders and paths, there are many other attractions in the area. Blockheide Teich Pond is a popular place to relax. Nearby is the Chapel of St. Hubert and Keltische Baumkreis - a circle of trees playing an important role in the Celtic horoscope. Directly on the 15th parallel, which runs through the park, you will find a small geological museum acquainting visitors with rocks occurring in the region. There is also a wooden lookout tower with refreshments and an information center in the park.
The entrance to the park is free, but the entrance to the lookout tower is charged. Although the park is interwoven with a network of marked trails, the local marking is a bit confusing for a tourist accustomed to our tourist signs. The trails are distinguished by different colors, but this marking in the form of colored polka dots on trees or stones is very sparse. However, at every corner there is a signpost or some board of nature trail that can serve as good landmarks. I recommend to ask in the information center in Gmünd (located on the ground floor of the town hall) for a map of the park, or take a map on the board at the entrance. The maps from the information center are bilingual and some texts on the boards of nature trails are translated into Czech.
Text and photos: Eliška Gregorová
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