The park to Cabel - an autumn hike

In the south of Brandenburg, in the district of Oberspreewald-Lausitz, near the city of Calau, at the foot of the so called "Calauer Schweiz" (Calau Switzerland) is the small park of Cabel. Kind of an anniversary for us, 20 years ago we had visited the remarkable trees there fpr the first time, and a good weather forecast for the region, were reason enough for an autumn hike (about one and a half hours by train from Berlin).



From Calau station via Werchow to Cabel

The city of Calau is probably the eponym for the short well-known German puns, the so called "Kalauer". The Calau station is located far outside the city, a sign at the station, as the beginning of a "joke trail" through the city asks: "Why is the Calau station 2 km from the center? Because the ancestors wanted it close to the tracks."
The tree lover enjoys the autumnal colorful oak row that lines the road to the station.
oak row station Calau

Just to the left of a small building greets a natural monument, a high strong Feldahorn (Acer campestre) with 2.70 m circumference.
We walk to the main road, then left across the tracks of the Cottbus-Dresden railway line, then immediately right again towards Plieskendorf. It crosses the railway track to Senftenberg and we walk through the village of Plieskendorf. Behind Plieskendorf, begins the lovely and small landscape taht lies at the foot of the Calauer Schweiz and which will accompany us for the next kilometres and hours. To the right and to the left of the path, field shrubs line creeks and meadows. The sun still hesitates to come out fully and therefore the landscape not in bright but "only" pastel colours, so the trembling poplars (Populus tremula) and the shrubby willows, here grey willow Salix cinierea.
Trembling poplars east of Werchow
Grey willows east of Werchow

The village of Werchow ahead and in sight, the rural road with no traffic, easy hiking.
street to Werchow

Before the village the view opens to the left to the meadows north of Werchow, with some strong solitary trees, English oaks (Quercus robur) and copper beeches (Fagus sylvatica Atropurpurea group) and on the picture to the right impressive shrubs of Purpur willow (Salix purpurea).
Former Park Werchow

We leave the road to the west over the meadows into the former park of a villa, to which these solitaries once belonged. We have not yet found any information about the history of this small park. There are two old copper beeches, a yew (Taxus baccata) behind the house, a group of pedunculate oak trees and a pedunculate oak tree with exposed roots on a hill.
Over a small ditch, passing a group of Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris), wounded be rubbing boars, we enter the adjoining forest and walk further to the west towards the village of Cabel. The sun has come out, the European beeches (Fagus sylvatica) glowing red .
Forest road to Cabel

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Cabel and his park

A little zigzag further, along the edge of field and wood, then across the field and further a small road to the right into the village of Cabel. At the bus stop, in front of the former location of the 1946 demolished manor house stands a strong, old Large leaved lime (Tilia platyphyllos). The crown of the natural monument was trimmed again and again, so that it appears like a coppiced lime that has gotten too big. The exceptionally large leaves of the lime tree (not only shadow leaves) are striking, a reaction of the tree to the repeated strong pruning.
Large leaved lime bus stop Cabel

A picture from April 2013 shows the same lime tree unleafed.
arge leaved lime, bus stop Cabel 2013

On the left hand side, passing the pension is the small park. Unfortunately it has gone increasingly wild due to lack of care and strong growth of Norway maple (Acer platanoides) and sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus). On our first visit in 1999 the park was still groomed. Some of trees are hard to reach because of the dense undergroth an the unusual memorial stone dating from 1840, on the occasion of the golden wedding of the former owner and park creator, for example, is difficult to find, let alone its inscription being legible. Here is a photo from past days.
Memorial Stone, park Cabel

We could not find any information about the park, its origin and history, the more valuable this inscription and the year, also for the estimation of the age of some of the trees in the park. These may not be as numerous or not as "diverse" as in other parks, but here they are all the more remarkable and valuable. Just a few metres to the left of the entrance stands a large old copper beech (Fagus sylvatica Atrorpurpurea group) in the warm autumn sun, bright red-orange and with a circumference of 5.80 m also a really strong tree. In addition to the old main trunk, a somewhat younger, but already strong second trunk has developed from the same rootstock to "eye level". At a height of 6 m, a branch branches off from the older trunk, which has completely grown together with the secondary trunk, as if the old tree wanted to hold on to its young offspring.
European beech, park Cabel

Back, directly at the main path an old European larch (Larix decidua), which already forms a plinth-like thickening at the foot of its stem, a sign of old age.
To the right hand, slightly set back from the path, another copper beech and a stone pine (Pinus cembra). At this point the overgoing of the park is very obvious. The copper beach is in its decay phase, the trunk is heavily rotted, the crown thinned and partly broken out. The reduced crown no longer shades the ground, numerous young stems stand close together, each of them wants to be faster than the others, a race to the light, to the sun, which only one or few can win. To the disadvantage of the old stone pine, which had already lost part of its multi-stemmed crown, due to the branches breaking out form crown of the nearby copper beech in 2017.
Now she is not only stressed by the light-hungry growth, she had also suffered from the dryness of the last two years and shows brown needles. A very rare tree which is very much worth being preserved and is also listed in the German Championtree Database of the "Deutsche Dendrologische Gesellschaft" and mentioned in FRÖHLICH (1994) as a remarkable tree.
One of the highlights of the park is located about 50 m east of here. A strong, old summer lime with its mighty slightly raised trunk of 6.9 m circumference hides in an egde the park. Unfortunately, during one of the storms of the years 2018/19, a larger branch of the double-trunk crown broke off. It is designated as a natural monument and is also listed in the book "Fröhlich, Wege zu alten Bäumen" volume Band 8, Brandenburg with its own entry. Which was the main reason for our first visit of the park 20 years ago in 1999.
Large leaved lime, park Cabel

Further south, slightly raised, stands the so-called "Parkschlösschen ", a fo rmer forester's lodge, flanked by two strong English oaks, both declared natural monuments. The eastern (left) tall tree, slightly weaker with a circumference of 5.20 m, already shows a thinning of the high and large crown and some breakouts of big branches. The stronger oak standing to the west (right) appears somewhat more compact. Immediately next to its slightly woody trunk is the stump of a former third equally strong oak. FRÖHLICH (1994) mentions this tree in the entry to the large leaved lime. And also already in the draft for the "Forstbotanische Merkbuch" (tree register) of the province Brandenburg (BARCH 1900) an English oak is mentioned "at the Kämmmererwege". This oak is probably the oldest tree of the park with about 300 years and is also listed in the Ostdeutsches Baumarchiv.
Strongest English Oak Park Cabel

On the way back from the park, we quickly visit the three eastern white pines (Pinus strobus) at the northern edge of the park. The strongest has reached 2.38 m circumference. The numerous natural rejuvenation around these trees is striking, and rare for Brandenburg. And at last the third remaining strong beech in the park. A European beech (Fagus sylvatica) with a two-stemmed steep crown, in autumn no longer distinguishable from the copper beeches in spring and summer. European beech

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Calauer Schweiz, Goldborn and Hölle

In addition to the park, there are other nature objects worth seeing in the immediate vicinity, the Calauer Schweiz (Calauer Switzerland), the Goldborn (golden spring), and the Hölle (hell). All three a must-see to be experienced and explored, but not enough time this time for that, the days in November simply are too short. The so called "Hell" with its probably autochthonous spruce stand (Picea abies) is a very unique and rare experience of nature. Right next to it and around it, the bright pine-covered slopes of Calau Switzerland where you can encounter a completely peculiar intergrowth of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and jack pine (Pinus banksiana) in the form of a two leg. On the way near Werchow, the "Goldborn", a spring rich in water, whose name relates to the iron deposit on the grounds of the spring.
Today a short detour to Calauzer Switzerland and a short impression must do.
Calauer Schweiz bei Cabel

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A short visit to the Napoleonic oak in Calau

The smiling November sun is still sinking, and shining much longer than promised by the weather forecast. In the west the first cloud fields an be seen. We don´t wnat to wait at the station in the dark, so we have to leave the park and the Calauer Switzerland, and hurry back. A last greeting to the lime tree at the bus stop and we walk along the small country road back to Werchow, now through the village and we enjoy the gentle landscape that accompanies the road. To the left behind the railway tracks stands a broad crowned English oak and invites us to a small detour. Beneath this tree of the future and already designated a natural monument, stands young growth of black cherry (Prunus serotina)
. English_Oak by Werchow

The way to Calau afterwards takes a little longer, especially after all the tree and nature experiences, but at its end the Napoleon oak is waiting for us. A once mighty broad-crowned old tree, in the past standing in front of the city, gradually surrounded more and more by houses over the past decades. After years of careful crown care a dramatic mutilation of these methusalem took place in March 2019, see own blog entry. It sprouted again in 2019, but yet a sad sight, and some of the shoots do not look sustainable and permanent. The next few years will show how things will continue.
Napoleon oak Calau

From here to the cafe, from there to the train station and back to Berlin. FIN

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List of shrubs and remarkable trees

Species Girth cm Place Location Remark
Alnus glutinosa 308 Werchow in the former park at the dirch vital wide-croned tree
Fagus sylvatica 427 Cabel in the manor park, to the right of the main path vital
Fagus sylvatica Atrorpurpurea Group 468 Cabel in the manor park, right of the main path decay phase
Fagus sylvatica Atrorpurpurea Group 580 Cabel in the manor park, northwest corner two stems
Fagus sylvatica Atrorpurpurea Group 395 Werchow in the former park meadows
Larix decidua 279 Cabel in the manor park, directly on the main path thickend base
Pinus cembra 221 Cabel in the manor park, right of the main road crown partly broken out, damaged
Pinus strobus 238 Cabel in the manor park, north edge two more specimens and natural regeneration
Quercus palustris 193 Cabel in the manor park, southeastern corner felled after severe storm damage
Quercus robur 376 Werchow in the manor park on a hill, strong exposed roots
Quercus robur 493 Werchow Weinbergstraße, north of the railway line tree of the future, natural monument
Quercus robur 522 Cabel in the manor park, east of the "Parkschlösschen" crown thinning, knotholes, natural monument
Quercus robur 582 Cabel in the manor park, west of "Parkschlösschen" natural monument
Quercus robur 735 Calau southeastern edge of the City Napoleon Oak, Natural Monument, crown in 2019 strongly cut back
Salix cinerea 20 Werchow close to the road to Plieskendorf field hedges
Salix purpurea 20 Werchow in the former park several large shrubs
Tilia platyphyllos 616 Cabel in village at the bus stop crown repeatedly cut, natural monument
Tilia platyphyllos 690 Cabel in the manor park, eastern parts natural monument

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