A trip to Čerchov
The local rolling landscape is covered with forests, fields and pastures, complemented by picturesque villages. The people speak a distinctive dialect, which is not unintelligible, though. Especially on Sundays, but also at other times, you will meet women in folk costumes and restaurants will cook local food for you. The most famous personality of this region is the writer Jindřich Šimon Baar, who faithfully described the essence of life in Chodenland in his work. Everyone knows the story of Jan Sladký-Kozina, the brave fighter for Chod privileges, and the treacherous local landlord, Lammingen of Albenreuth.
The trip starts in Klenčí pod Čerchovem, which is definitely worth a more thorough tour. You want to follow the green-marked trail, named after J. Š. Baar. After less than 3 kilometres you will climb up to a place called Výhledy (The Vistas). An impressive monument to J. Š. Baar stands here by the road connecting Domažlice with the Lísková border crossing. It was made in 1933 by the famous sculptor Ladislav Šaloun and, in the spirit of the place’s name, it offers magnificent views of the Chodland region. The blue-marked trail will then lead you to Capartice, from where you will continue along the red-marked forest path again for about 4 kilometres to the crossroads called ‘Horizontálka pod Čerchovem’. The climb-up on the blue-marked trail requires considerable effort, in the last section you will have to climb an elevation of over 200 metres. You will be rewarded with conquering the highest summit of the Upper Palatinate Forest, which reaches an altitude of 1,041 m. Since 1905, there has been a 19-metre-high stone lookout tower on Čerchov, but it was inaccessible for many decades due to its inclusion into a restricted military area.
In the 1970s, a 30-metre-high radar tower was built here which, together with other military objects, completes the remarkable silhouette of the summit. The peak is surrounded by deep woods of the Čerchovské hvozdy (Čerchov Woods) nature reserve, through which you will take your return journey following the blue-marked trail. It will take you to the village of Pec, surrounded by forests on which the local people used to depend for their livelihood. That is why you will see the original woodcutters’ chapel of St. Prokop from the early 20th century, or you can visit the Museum of Woodcutting, illustrating the history of the village. Then you will not be surprised by the Woodcutters’ Festival, which is always held here at the beginning of July. You will follow the green-marked trail through the forest to the state road and the village of Babylon with its recreational area. The resort has a large lake with beaches and offers various types of accommodation from hotels to campsites.
The yellow-marked trail will take you to the village of Trhanov. There is a chateau here, originally a Baroque summer residence built in 1676–1677 for Wolf Maximilian Lammingen of Albenreuth, nicknamed Lomikar by the locals. It has been rebuilt in the Empire style and commemorates the struggles of the Chod people with the local nobility at the end of the 17th century, as does the neighbouring lime alley, called Lomikar’s. Josef Thomayer, a famous Prague physician and writer, was born in the castle. In 1908, he had a Neo-Renaissance almshouse built in the town, designed by Antonín Wiehl. From Trhanov you can return to Klenčí by train.
Route: Klenčí pod Čerchovem – Čerchov – Pec – Babylon – Trhanov
Start: Klenčí pod Čerchovem
Length: 17 km
Character: moderately demanding route with a difficult summit ascent