Wandering around Devinska Nova Ves, you will surely be impressed by its variety and beauty, even if you are one of the more demanding tourists.
The Devinska Kobyla massif, which is a natural phenomenon, is its dominant. The southernmost ledge of the Protected Landscape Area (PLA) Little Carpathians got its name a very long time ago. From the distance, the regularly mowed and grazed slopes looked like a horseback or a mare’s back (Kobyla in Slovak means “mare”).
After the ascent to the Devinska Kobyla, a unique world of animals and plants opens in front of you. If you admire inanimate, inorganic world, you will definitely like the geological (limestone caves and Sandberg) and geo-morphological (erosion rills) curiosities, which are abundant in this area. We will help you to decide which places to visit – by introducing them briefly.
The unique National Nature Reserve Devínska Kobyla is situated between Devinska Nova Ves, Dubravka and Devin. It was pronounced a State Nature Reserve in 1965; nowadays it is a National Nature Reserve with nearly the highest degree of protection. If you succumb to temptation and decide to visit and get to know more, opt for the Instructive Nature Trail (Náučný chodník) of the NNR Devinska Kobyla. This Nature Trail is 3,5 km long, begins in Devinska Nova Ves in Pieskovec spot and leads you to Devin. However, it is also accessible from the other side, starting in the Devin village. During your outing you will have a beautiful view on the Moravske pole (Austria), the Morava (river), the confluence of the Danube and the Morava under the Devin Castle cliff. In good and clear visibility you can also see the foreland of the Alps on the horizon. With seven steps and information boards on your way, you will learn about some natural and historical peculiarities of this unique natural reserve.
The instructive Nature Trail begins in front of the sandy hill Pieskovec (sandstone), one of the most interesting parts of the NNR. It is situated on the south-western slope of Devinska Kobyla above the Sovinec Street. From the spring months on, its walls are home for nesting colonies of birds, especially bright-coloured European bee-eaters which look like parrots. Flowers such as pheasant’s eyes and sword-flags can be seen blooming in the surroundings. Pieskovec is well-known first of all for its Caenozoic (Tertiary) fossils. It was given its present-day name, Sandberg, by Dionysus Stur, a famous palaeontologist of the 19th century. From approximately 350 different fossil organisms that had lived here 14-16 million years ago, shark teeth, whale vertebras and monkey bones were found. Among the most valuable findings there are the teeth of Dryopitecus, a progenitor of present-day hominids, i.e. great apes (chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan)
A nearby Wait quarry used to serve as a lime-kiln. The limestone obtained there was exported to Austria and Italy or it was used for strengthening the river banks of the Morava. The Wait quarry has a different task these days: it “protects” precious flora species – dead man’s thumb (Orchis) and it is home for various bird species.
In a more distant north part of Devinska Kobyla, above a Devinska Nova Ves neighbourhood you can find a Natural Reserve Stokeravska Vapenka limekiln. Abandoned quarries spreading on 13hectares form a significant archaeological spot. They hide diverse geological formations and fossils. Similarly to Wait quarry, valuable flora species can be seen there, such as Dead man’s thumb or Adriatic lizard orchid (Himantoglossum adriaticum, one of the most precious species in central Europe).
On the other side of Devinska Kobyla, in the southern part, above the way to Devin, there is another valued spot. Natural Reserve (NR) Fialkova dolina (Violet Valley), which was established in 1993 to protect endangered orchid species. With its 20-hectare area it looks like a miniature canyon.
If you like flora, definitely do not hesitate to visit another significant spot in the vicinity. The Devin Forest-steppe Natural Monument is a little bit smaller but not less interesting a place.
In case you did not recognise all the trees and bushes on your outing in Devinska Kobyla and you would like to learn their names, you are always welcome in the DENDROPARK under Devinska Kobyla. There is a place with information boards that will introduce you some of the original trees and bushes typical for Devinska Kobyla. Dendropark has an area of 150ares (15 000 square metres) on the northern slope of Devinska Kobyla above the Podhorské neighbourhood in Devinska Nova Ves.
Some interesting zoological, botanical and geological spots in close vicinity include the Devin Castle Rock, a national natural monument. On the castle cliff above the confluence of the Morava and the Danube, with a bit of luck in the winter months, it is possible to see a wall-creeper; or commonly nesting jackdaw or common kestrel. If you do not want to forget inanimate nature, visit a small Geological Museum, not far from the Devin cemetery, in the place of former stone-quarry.
Some of you might prefer getting to know the area near the Morava river banks. You definitely will not be disappointed. The area near the river has its specific character. Plain but diverse Záhorská nížina lowland consists of the river Morava floodplain and Nova Ves plain (Novoveská plošina). A big part of this floodplain area is a protected landscape area within PLA Záhorie. The Morava floodplain kept its original natural character thanks to a long-lasting restriction to enter (1951-1989 fall of the iron curtain). Due to this “conservation” it is still possible to see and admire the remnants of the original floodplain forests, ox-bows and the largest complex of wet meadows in central Europe (on the list of wetlands of international importance, so-called Ramsar locality). Diverse flora species on the wet meadows include for example old man’s beard (purple), iris (blue), or spring snowflake which looks like a snowdrop. The importance of this area is proved by the fact that it was included in the IBA (Important Bird Area) and SPA (Special Protection Area). From the bird-inhabitants of the Morava floodplain you surely know white stork, some of you might have heard of crake or migrating demoiselle crane. Our biggest rodent, the beaver, is an inseparable part of this area.
Beaver population is thriving at present.
If you are in the mood to go cycling when the weather is good, we would suggest a trip on the Instructive Nature Trail along the Morava floodplain. Its track leads from the Danube and the Morava confluence under the Devin Castle up to Moravsky Svaty Jan. With its 80 kilometres it is one of the longest Nature Trails and offers an extraordinary experience anytime of the year, regardless the season.
But it is inevitable to note that there some restrictions when entering and visiting the preserved areas – it does not mean you may not visit and admire the beauties of nature – but you are only allowed to follow the marked touristic paths, as well as to use them for their purpose only. That means e. g. not to ride a bike on a path established only for walking. Although there is no cycling track on Devínska Kobyla hill, there is one on the lowland along the river Morava. It is vorbiden to go to the former sand-mining locality Pieskovec /Sandberg/ of security (instable rock) and conservation reasons, but the unique locality is very well visible from the official marked path leading along.