Orlovskoye Polesye National Park was founded in 1994 to preserve plants and animals of a unique southern Russian taiga.
The area of the park covers about 360 km2 of forest and steppes, many streams cross the forests and there are few dozen lakes, many of them are located at the old peateries and amidst peat bogs.
Flora and fauna
- Flora Deciduous and coniferous woods alternate with forest-steppes. There are pines, common spruce, oaks, birches, linden, aspen, maples, ash trees and black alder.
- Fauna Typical taiga birds (wood grouse, hazel grouse, black woodpecker) are neighbouring steppe birds & animals like steppe polecats, partridges, steppe marmots and quails. Red deer, elks, lynxes, roes, wild boars, wisents populate the deep forests. Beavers, otters, minks, Russian muskrats and musquashes live on the river banks. Wisents have been brought to the park since 1996, now they are 170 head; endemic Russian muskrats are under preservation programme.
By car: From Oryol drive along Naugorskoye Chaussee to Znamenskoye (ca. 40 km to the NW from Oryol), few kilometres before Znamenskoye turn left following the sign to the Orlovskoye Polesye National Park, and then always follow the same signs. You will pass Lgov and then enter the cone forest - which is actually the national park. Total distance is about 75 km. The road is 2 lanes in good condition, winding between the buckwheat fields. Another road through Khotynets is longer, about 110 km.
By bus: Take a bus to Khotynets from Oryol bus station (3 times a day), and then in Khotynets take a bus to Zhudre (3 times a day). Check the timetables before the trip!
By train: take a train to Bryansk from Oryol railway station (4 times a day), step off at Khotynets and take a bus to Zhudre (3 times a day). Check the timetables before the trip!
Fees and permits
No entrance fee or permit is required.
Distances are quite long, it is better to drive a car or rent a bike at the hotel. Beware of hedgehogs crossing the road right in front of your wheels!
- Sacred Spring and the Orthodox Chapel nearby. The spring comes out of white 'boiling' sands; you may take a cold bath few metres below. The water is believed to be sacred and curing.
- The Zoo complex at the open air
- Ostrich Farm, if you have never seen an ostrich
- Holy Trinity Church in Lgov. The church was built in 1765.
- Lakes are very calm and picturesque! The water is often transparent black colour, because some lakes are located at the old peateries.
- Forests are full of blueberry and strawberry in July, you may want to try it, or collect mushrooms, or nuts
- Rent a boat and have a short trip on the Central Lake - very quiet and pacifying
- Take a horse ride
- You may want to have a swim at Staroye Lake on the way to the Sacred Spring.
- There are assigned places for picnics, so why not have the one ?
- There is ecologic trekking organized by your hotel
- Go and see how they feed local wisents
- Go fishing
There is a shop in the Zhudre settlement selling basic food and other things for the household. Some postcards and souvenirs are available at the kiosks near the entrance to the Zoo.
Eat & drink
There are no options except the restaurants at the both hotels in the park. You may also want to have a picnic at a designated area.
There are two small hotels located in the park, camping is also allowed:
- Dom Lesnika, ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: Noon. from US$85 double room per night, FB +US$37 per day; Visa, Eurocard/Mastercard. Located in the forest in 3 km from the Central Lake. Russian billiards, sauna, bike, ski rental, horse riding, daily tours and eco trekking.
- Orlovskoye Polesye, ☏ , . from US$65 double room per night. Hotel & Restaurant located on the bank of the Central Lake and surrounded by deep forests. Boat & bike rental.