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Dezydery Chłapowski Landscape Park

27, August 2020

Dezydery Chłapowski Landscape Park

The Dezydery Chłapowski Landscape Park is one of the oldest landscape parks in Wielkopolska – it was established in 1992. Its aim is to preserve the agricultural qualities of the region, characteristic to the Wielkopolska countryside. This is the reason why there aren’t many forests here – rather mid-field groves, but numerous small villages and farmsteads, many farms frequently with historical mansion and palace structures, characteristic especially for the Wielkopolska region in the 18th and 19th century.

Palace in Racot

The patron of the park is Dezydery Chłapowski, an officer in Napoleon’s army who, after his service was finished, returned to his family home in Turew, where he began to introduce modern agricultural economy. He was inspired by the innovations in English agriculture, where he himself used to work. Thanks to his efforts, the Turew estate soon became the best farming estate in the Great Duchy of Poznań. Chłapowski, among other things, introduced crop rotation and mid-field forestation systems which were not only a barrier for wind, blowing the seeds away or laying crops, but also became a shelter to multiple useful small animals and birds from predators. A large part of this forestation is historical and dating as far back as 200 years.

Obra w okolicach Kościana
River Obra
Dezyder Chłapowski’s palace

In Chłapowski’s farming estate, iron ploughs were used for the first time ever. Successive secondary cropping was also introduced – the sowing between consecutive harvests which serves to enrich the soil.The results of Chłapowski’s efforts can still be seen today – especially the mosaic construction of the farming space which is still used to this day as a training ground for scientists from universities specialising in nature or agriculture. Apart from the park’s precious plant species (the camomile grape-fern, the lesser butterfly-orchid, the egg-leaf twayblade) and animals (the whooper swan, the corn bunting, the ortolan bunting, 13 various bat species) there are also nearly 700 species of fungi, including the rare varieties such as beefsteak fungu and the hen-of-the-woods. There are also plenty of insects useful in farming – beetles, butterflies, flies and the hymenoptera. Among the rare amphibians of the park there are the great crested newt and fire-bellied toad.

Some characteristic elements of the so-called outdoor small sacral architecture – roadside crosses and chapels which are in abundance here, especially the Kopaczewska Calvary are also quite noteworthy.

The superbly designated Ziemiański Bicycle Route runs through the park, as part of the Wielkopolski Bicycle Route System.

Text: Jacek Y. Łuczak
Translation: Kaja Kurczewska