If you do not like to ride all day only in the woods and meadows and want to see some points of interest during the trip, I recommend this 26 km long trip around Novohradské podhůří in southern Bohemia. You may like Nové Hrady, Theresien Valley, Fort Cuknštejn and Žumberk and the ponds at the village of Janovka.
As a starting point, we chose Nové Hrady. You have to pay for the parking here, so we left the car in one street near the town square. We visited a 13th-century castle, which is surrounded by a surprisingly deep moat. If you are a history fan, you can choose one of five tours. We were particularly interested in the Theresien Valley, which is under the castle, so we did not stay for a long time and went down to see it.
The Theresien Valley landscape park was established in the second half of the 18th century in the valley near the river Stropnice under the castle. It was founded by Therezie Buquoy, who inspired herself by the early English parks in Germany and this is why the valley has her name. In Theresien Valley, there are several interesting buildings, places and corners. From the parking place, which is right next to the valley, we continued to the official trail. We passed the main entrance gate and on the white wooden bridge we entered the valley. The entire trail is about 6 kilometers long, so you ride only for a while. Our goal was an artificial waterfall. On our way we visited the building Lázničky, actually a guesthouse and the ruins of the Blue House, the summer residence of Therezie.
Bridge over Stropnice river
When the family of Buquoy built an artificial waterfall, they brought large stones into the river Stropnice to resemble a mountain stream. In 1817, the waterfall was built on the slope of the valley so sensitively that it looks very naturally. It is 10.5 meters high and water is supplied with 750 meters long drive from Stropnice. The waterfall was definitely worth the stop.
Trail at the waterfall
Waterfall in Theresien Valley
From the waterfall, we continued along the Stropnice river on the footpath out of the forest on a panel road that led us along the Humenice Water Reservoir to the Cuknštejn Fortress. The fortress closes Theresien valley. It is one of the most preserved medieval fortresses and it probably dates from the 14th century. The fortress is currently under reconstruction and not opened to public.
Water reservoir Humenice
From Cuknštejn we returned to the water reservoir, passed through the village of Humenice, and then turned at the chapel right to pastures. In the village of Svébohy we rode at the next chapel to the left and a pleasant bike trail took us to the woods. After a short ride, we found ourselves in another nice village of Božejov and from there it was only a few minutes to Žumberk.
Pastures at Humenice
Chapel at Svébohy
In Žumberk there is a beautiful 13th-century fortress, one of the oldest in the Novohradské hory region. The whole area is renovated and you can visit some expositions or see wooden sculptures at the pond below the fort. Near the fortress there is a guesthouse with a restaurant where we had our lunch in the garden and after a short walk along the pond, we continued on.
Pond at Žumberk
A pond area near Nové Hrady was ahead. The ride continued to Žár and then on the main road along the Žárský pond. Fortunately, it did not last long time and we turned left to the field road and then to beautiful woods full of blueberries. Blueberries were sweet, so we stayed for a while.
We had to ride through the forest on a grassy path, quite hard with the Chariot carrier. After a while, we found ourselves in the cottage area of Janovka, where we passed one goose farm after another. The most beautiful and almost fairytale part of Janovka is at the Karolinský and Kachní pond. You will be welcomed by a wooden water goblin sitting on a dam and has a big wooden catfish behind its back. Lots of other wooden animals are all around. Ella was excited.
Trail to Janovka
Near this area, there is a Charles Pond, home to dozens of ducks. Ella tried to feed them with a roll, but they were either not hungry or not knowning it, because she did not succeed.
Nature is beautiful around the ponds. The cycle path leads along the dams and the paved roads in the woods. At Nové Hrady we passed an ostrich farm and then we only tried to survive the last kilometer of climbing on a relatively busy road to the town and to the car.
Ostrich farm at Nové Hrady
This biketrip cannot beat the trip around Pohoří na Šumavě because it runs halfway on the concrete roads. Although they are mostly lower class roads, and so you rarely meet the car, we are more interested in losing in the woods. But the truth is that we have got known other beautiful places in this part of southern Bohemia. Whether it is a waterfall in Theresien Valley, the fortress of Žumberk, or the fairytale part of the village of Janovka.