Lake Hodoš and its surroundings – Goričko nature park

Area description
The valley of the Dolenski stream and its surroundings represent a good example of the typical cultural landscape of Goričko. Lake Hodoš (also known as Lake Dolensko) was formed by the damming of Dolenski stream. The lake covers an area of 5,2 hectares and is up to three metres deep. Although most of them were transformed into fields, some wet meadows can still be observed here. The northern and shallower side of the lake is overgrown with aquatic plants that form a suitable habitat for some endangered species. The east side of the lake is surrounded with heat-loving pine forests, whereas the west side is covered with damp beech forests. The sloping terrain to the north leads us to the hilly orchards of the villages Dolenci and Budinci.

Access and trail description
We get off the train in Hodoš, where we head north through the village. The lake is 2,5 km away from the train station and is situated at the end of the village on the left side of the road. The way to the lake is well marked with direction signs. There is an educational trail with information boards and an observatory that leads us around the lake. When we finish with the sightseeing of the lake we continue our trip on the road. After 3 km we reach the village Dolenci, where the first slopes lead onward to the village Budinci (both villages are bordering Hungary). The lake can also be reached from the train station by bike. If you choose to explore the surrounding areas as well, you will definitely need a whole day for the trip.

Rare species that nest on the lake are little bittern, water rail and great reed warbler. The lake is also an important feeding ground for the black stork, great egret and grey heron. The stream valley has exceptional densities of the red-backed shrike and yellowhammer. The black woodpecker, grey-headed woodpecker and stock dove can be heard out of the nearby forest. In Dolenci and Budinci we can hear the green woodpecker, wryneck, hoopoe and woodlark, whereas the calls of the scops owl echo in the night. The tawny owl is also quite common in the area. With a bit of luck, jackdaws that settled caves of the black woodpecker can be heard out of some forests.

Other plants and animals
Lake Hodoš is the main habitat for otters in Goričko (yet the majority of the regional otter population is located in Hungary). Rose daphne, which is unique for growing on a silicate ground basis, thrives on the forest edges along the valley. Because of its (semi)bush type growth some botanists classify it as a subspecies – the bush rose daphne. Extensively managed dry grasslands can still be found on some southern slopes in the vicinity.

Interesting links
Goričko nature park