The new Usma Elkrags nature trail, walking paths along the River Venta in Skrunda and Kuldīga, wooden boardwalk in Roja beach, as well as the Nature Trails Guidebook and two new watching towers – on the coast of Lake Durbe and Sātiņi ponds – all this have been created as part of the project Nature Tourism to All, which lasted for 2,5 years and had been implemented by Kurzeme Planning Region together with 6 municipalities in Kurzeme and 4 partners in Lithuania.
Usma Elkrags nature trail stretches along the coast of Lake Usma. It is the sixth biggest lake in Latvia in terms of its total area and the second biggest in terms of its water storage capacity. Here you can enjoy the majesty of the lake in all its beauty, while taking a leisurely 1km walk along the trail. There’s also a wooden boardwalk with a viewing platform installed on the coast, accessible to parents with baby-strollers and peeple in wheelchairs. The viewing platform opens a view to the fabulous and famous Morics Island, which is celebrated in a number of Latvian songs.More about the trail
Walking paths along the River Venta in Skrunda winds its way alongside the Skrunda Castle Mound, which is a popular leisure spot among both local residents and tourists. An open air stage and surrounding park have also been created here. The park contains seats carved by sculptor Ģirts Burvis in honour of the first heirs to Skrunda Castle Mound’s Curonian kings, Ērmanis Pilāts, Jākobs Sigitars, Veisens and Santiķis. These were created in honour of Skrunda’s 750th anniversary, celebrating the date when it was first mentioned in the annals of history. According to legend, underground passages lie below the castle mound and once every hundred years, a beautiful woman in white – the Venta Vārava emerges from the Venta. Now, a picturesque walking trail winds its way alongside this castle mound. Its farthest point is the highest point in Skrunda, the Venta Hill, where you can enjoy beautiful views of nature, watch birds and the tranquil flow of the Venta. Benches and a number of rest points have been installed along the trail so that hikers can pause for a moment and enjoy the scenic Kurzeme landscape. The walk can be taken circularly, returning to Skrunda Castle Mound adjacent to the open air stage. The path is litten, so you can even take a leisurely walk in the evening and complete the route in no more than an hour. The trail is 1,5km long in total and is suitable for people in wheelchairs and families with children.More about the trail
Pārventa Walking Trail in Kuldīga allows to discover picturesque views over the River Venta of the Old Town of Kuldīga, the Alekšupīte Water Fall, the Castle Mill and the old brick bridge over the Venta.
The Alekšupīte Waterfall is the highest waterfall in Latvia. It is 4.15 metres high. The waterfall has been reinforced since the 17th century so that the powerful stream could be used to operate the first paper mill in Kurzeme. Gunpowder was also produced in the castle mill. The trail leads to the pride of Kuldīga – the brick bridge over the River Venta. Since 1998, this has been an architectural monument of national importance. It is the third longest brick bridge in Europe and the second oldest brick arch bridge in Latvia. Kuldīga’s brick bridge was built according to 19th century standards – it is 500 feet long and 26 feet wide, so that coaches could pass one another on it. The trail’s length in the park area is about half a kilometre, but it is possible to hike it loop-type, returning by Krasta Street. You may also prolong your way and take the Mārtiņsala Nature Trail, which starts straight across the street at the famous brick bridge over the River Venta. This trail stretches along the Venta Rapid – the widest waterfall in Europe.
Walk along the beach in Roja can been taken either by walking just along the wooden boardwalk or by taking a slightly longer distance by walking also along the sandy beach to Roja’s North Pier, which ends at the lighthouse. During your walk, you will see grey dunes overgrown with forest and coastal plants, assorted shrubbery and the sandy beach. The wooden boardwalk along the beach is over a kilometre long. Taking a circular route – covering part of the trail along the wooden boardwalk, and the other part along the beach and pier, the total distance will be 2,5km.More about the trail
Watching tower on the coast of Lake Durbe is located in the ancient Dube-Vārtāja valley. The lake area spans for 670 hectares and it has rich stocks of fish. 14 species of fish can be found here and fish fry are released into the lake every year. Lake Durbe also happens to be an important bird migration site. Of Latvia’s 28 protected bird species, 14 can be observed in the vicinity of Lake Durbe. The territory adjoining the lake has borne witness to various significant historical events. One of the most notable battles in the history of the Baltic peoples, the Battle of Durbe took place here on July 13, 1260 at which Samogitian and Curonian troops defeated the combined forces of the Livonian and German orders. The flood-meadows in the north-eastern section of Lake Durbe are part of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas.More about the trail
Watching tower at Sātiņi Ponds is located 8km from Saldus and is a nature reserve and part of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas. Sātiņi Ponds is an artificially built complex of ponds near Saldus that span an area of 3780 hectares. There are 30 ponds in total. Sātiņi Ponds are notable for the large number of birds that one encounters there during nesting and migration periods. The nearby forests also provide sanctuary to many protected bird and bat species. A leisurely stroll to the bird watching tower and back will take about two hours, as it is an out-and-back type trail with a total distance of 3,5km.More about the trail
As a result of the project, a number of trails and other nature objects had also been constructed in Lithuania – the wooden boardwalk at Kirkilai nature reserve in Biržai Regional Park, new city leisure park in Kretinga – Jaurykla park, 4 pontoon piers with paths and resting areas in Aukštaitija National Park, as well as a spacious, reconstructed viewing platform on the coast of Lake Plateliai in Žemaitija National Park.
Among the most significant UniGreen results, the Nature Trails Guidebook should be highlighted, which features more than 80 routes for nature trails in Kurzeme and North Lithuania and is available printed at all Tourism information centres in Kurzeme and North Lithuania.Digital version of the Nature Trails Guidebook
Project No. LLI-010 “Nature Tourism to All (UniGreen)” had been implemented with the support of the Interreg V-A Latvia-Lithuania Cross-Border Cooperation Programme 2014-2020. The total financing: 1 176 867,14 EUR, incl. ERDF financing 1 000 337,07 EUR. The Project had been implemented by Kurzeme Planning Regions as the Lead Partner, in cooperation with six municipalities in Kurzeme (Durbe County Municipality, Kuldīga County Municipality, Roja County Municipality, Saldus County Municipality, Skrunda County Municipality and Ventspils County Municipality), one Lithuanian municipality (Administration of Kretinga District Municipality) and three national and regional parks in Lithuania (Directorate of Aukštaitija National Park and Labanoras Regional Park, Directorate of Biržai Regional Park and Directorate of Žemaitija National Park).
Kurzeme Planning Region expresses its gratitude to all project partners in Kurzeme and Lithuania, as well as Tourism Information Centres, nature guides, NGOs representing people with disabilities, as well as to all project contractors who contributed to the successful realization of the Project.
Information prepared by:
UniGreen Project Manager
Kurzeme Planning Region
Tel.: + 371 26315137, firstname.lastname@example.org