At the Bloke Plateau in Slovenia, winter lasts nine months. The rest of the year, it is just cold. This is what Slovenians say about this area. We, however, find the temperature mostly very pleasant.
The Bloke plateau is a relatively flat area, surrounded by low hills. However, the appearance is deceiving and it lies at an altitude of over 700 m a.s.l.. This is why the climate is colder than most of Slovenia. Winters can indeed be harsh here, but in summer, the temperatures are gentler and Bloke offers a pleasant retreat from the summer heat.
That name “Bloke” doesn’t have anything to do with the English word »bloke«. Bloška planota, in English the Bloke plateau, is an ancient name for this upland region in southern Slovenia. It likely derives is meaning the word obloke: meaning low, rounded mountains. Between these mountains you find a beautiful, meandering stream: Bloščica, and some of the best flower-rich meadows in Slovenia.
In Slovenia, the Bloke plateau is well known as the place where Slovenians have invented skiing, entirely independent of the Norwegian skiing tradition. For several centuries, the Bloke people have made heavy skis of beech-wood. These were used in daily life: people went on ski’s to visit neighbour and even funerals were organised on skis! Recently, a delightful small museum has opened about this tradition, see: https://www.bloke.si/muzejska-razstava.html
At the Bloke plateau, we find a variety of meadows, ranging from dry to wet and from intensively grazed used to extensive hay-meadows. The most extensively used meadows are mown only once a year, and never fertilized. Here, we find the most diverse vegetation and in early summer these meadows change into colourful carpets of flowers. The floristically most interesting dry meadows are dominated by yellow-flowering rattles. In these places, we also find most wild orchid species. Some of the wet meadows are important for orchids as well, with the rare pure-white Transylvanian orchid and marsh helleborine. At some of the most nutrient-poor places, we may encounter the carnivorous sundew.
Towards the northwestern part of the Plateau, the tiny stream Bloščica meanders through wet meadows. Without a doubt, this is the most important part of the area from a nature perspective. Parts of this area are not in use for agriculture and a bumpy vegetation has developed with tussocks of Purple Moor-grass, where it can be tricky to walk. However, especially this area which is well worth to visit because of the special flora and fauna.
The wet areas along Bloščica are also the most important for butterflies, which include marsh frittilary, scarce large blue and alcon blue. Not surprisingly, this is an important area for dragonflies as well. The showiest dragonfly, and in summer hard to miss, is the beautiful demoiselle. Careful observers may encounter other, more rare species as well. These include the club-tailed dragonfly and the Balkan goldenring: the largest of all Slovenian dragonflies.
The stream Bloščica itself is home to numerous fish, but there are just a handful of species. Mostly, we see Chub, Danube Gudgeon and Minnow, while there are few Pike as well. The sides of the stream have many holes, which are especially well visible when the water level is low. These are made by Noble Crayfish, a species which has become rare elsewhere.
Perhaps surprisingly for such a small stream, there are otters in Bloščica. They are not easily seen, but you may find remaining parts of crayfish which they ate on the shore. Roe deer are especially numerous at the Bloke plateau, and in many places, you can find tracks of red deer as well. Other mammals include badger, fox and brown bear. In the dry meadows, there are lnumerous voles which attract buzzards, kestrels, kites and owls.
At the Bloke plateau, there are numerous unpaved roads. Some of these lead to stunning places, even though they are primarily meant for farming and forestry. A hiking trail, called “Karpanov pot” goes largely over these unpaved roads. This trail is named after the legendary folk hero Martin Krpan who, according to a chilren’s story, smuggled salt over these roads. The trail is 18 km long and somewhat scarcely marked at some parts.
Pubklic transport to and frrom the Bloke plateau is meant primarily for people who live in the local villages and are employed in the capital city Ljubljana. There are busses twice daily and they do not go very close to the better nature areas.
Take the A1 motorwas Ljubljana-Koper to exit Unec. From there, continue through Cerknica to village Grahovo. Here, go straight in the direction of Nova vas/Velike bloke. Just before Nova vas, you reach the plateau: both villages Nova vas and Velike bloke are actually on the plateau.
We organise custom guided tours to the Bloke plateau. Where we meet depends on what is most convenient for you: mostly Cerknica or Nova vas. Contact us for inqueries.