Wooden footbridges run through protected areas, crossing forests, peat bogs and rivers. They make an “access point” to places, where nature plays the first fiddle. Here are 6 of Podlaskie footbridges – your gateways to stretches of pristine nature untouched by human hand.
IN THE HEART OF THE FOREST
BISON’s RIBS / THE BIAŁOWIEŻA FOREST
Poland’s oldest forest educational pathway, the Bison’s Ribs, runs in the vicinity of Białowieża and starts near the village of Budy. It is a 4 km wooden footbridge, which winds its way through forest wetlands and meadows.
Look for signs of abundant wildlife – in spring you will be greeted by a multitude of torpid frogs awakening from their winter slumber. Breathe in deeply – in May the forest smells with aromatic wild garlic. Do not hurry – take your time to admire the pristine and intricate surroundings, designed purely by nature.
The trail ends at the entrance to the Bison Show Reserve.
A STONE’S THROW FROM THE CITY
KRZEMIANKA RESERVE / THE KNYSZYN FOREST
The mesmerising Krzemianka Reserve lies within the Knyszyńska Primeval Forest, only a dozen kilometres from Białystok. Walk into this enchanting woods along a wooden footbridge which stretches over several water springs bursting from the ground underneath. Stroll along the winding boardwalk into otherwise inaccessible depths of eerie wetlands. Pass by massive fallen trunks and towering centuries-old trees.
Feel the ancient spirit of this awesome place. Traces of prehistoric flint mines from over 3,000 years ago can still be seen on the slopes of forest hills.
WYŻARY RESERVOIR / THE KNYSZYN PRIMAEVAL FOREST
Deep in the Knyszyn Primaeval Forest, lies the Wyżary Reservoir – a hidden spot, where the magic of Podlaskie seems to be particularly strong. A stroll along the Wyżary footbridges lets you immerse in the utter calmness of pristine nature, without the need to wade thorugh surrounding marshes.
Do not miss the nearby “Life of the trees” forest sculpture gallery. Created in 2017, it was an initiative of the Nowolipie Group, which assembles people with multiple sclerosis and is led by Paweł Althamer, a famous Polish sculptor and performer.
The forest, the footbridge and the gallery are open 24/7/365.
ŚLIWNO-WANIEWO FOOTBRIDGE / THE NAREW NATIONAL PARK
The picturesque area between the villages of Śliwno and Waniewo in the Narew National Park is a true paradise for photographers. An over kilometre long footbridge, which stretches over the wetlands of the Narew, offers spectacular vistas of the river valley. There are places where the boardwalk ends and you have to use special hand-drawn floating platforms in order to get to the other side.
Be sure not to miss observation towers which offer stunning panoramic views of the whole area.
IN THE MARSHES
DŁUGA LUKA / THE BIEBRZA NATIONAL PARK
Located right by the so-called Tsar’s Route, halfway between the villages of Laskowiec and Dobarz. Surrounded by nature, the footbridge leads almost half a kilometre deep into the Biebrza Marshes’ largest peat bog complex. It is best to go for a stroll either at dawn or at sunset. Peat bogs stretching as far as the eye can see is truly a view to remember.
On summer evenings there is a chance of a private concert of aquatic warblers which nest in the area. It is a one-of-a-kind show which draws the audience from even the farthest reaches of Europe.
OTHER FACE OF THE RIVER
FOOTBRIDGE OVER THE CZARNA HAŃCZA / THE WIGRY NATIONAL PARK
This amazing footbridge sends you into the depths of the Wigry National Park. The boardwalk stretches over old Czarna Hańcza riverbeds, which wind lazily among hassocks of carex.
In summer the vegetation gets so intense it is virtually impossible to tell where the river is. This is a completely different face of the Czarna Hańcza, mostly known as kayakers’ paradise.