Ragakāpa Nature Park

The area of the park is 150 hectares. Ragakapa Nature Park is a specially protected territory of nature formed in order to preserve the dunes covered with an ancient pine forest and the biodiversity on the sea coast. Ragakapa, reaching the height of 17 metres, is protected by the state since 1962. In order to introduce the visitors to the natural values of the territory, two nature trails have been established in the park. One of the trails leads through the pine forest, is approximately 2 km long, and is mostly formed of boardwalks. Information stands and benches are placed along the route, and in its steepest places - stairs. Near the Open-Air Museum by the stairs you can leave this trail and go to the second trail maintained by the JSC "Latvijas valsts mezi".

The nature trail provides information about the biodiversity of the park, the unusual history of Ragakapa sceneries, plants, development of a natural old pine forest, and traces left by the insects in the forest. The constantly changing ecosystem of the Nature Park is the only refuge for many rare species. Seven biotopes protected in the European Union can be found there, including embryonic dunes, white dunes, forested coastal dunes, and naturally developed old coniferous forests. Forested coastal dunes are a specially protected biotope in Latvia. In the park 21 specially protected species may be found: eight plant species, one mushroom species, eight species of insects and four species of birds. Sand pink, protected in the European Union, grows in the Park; stock dove, black woodpecker, wood lark and tawny pipit make their nests there. Taking into consideration these values of Ragakapa Nature Park, it has been included in the network of protected territories of the European Union NATURA 2000.

Both colourfully blooming and more modest plants welcome you to the Ragakapa Nature Park and accompany you through it. Each plant has adapted for growing in special conditions. In the sun-bathed slopes of forested coastal dunes such plant species find home that are not harmed by dryness, but more shadowy northern slopes provide more dampness for species preferring the shade. The nearness of sea, influence of wind, and salty sandy soil form a unique micro-world inhabited only by the strongest. Eight in Latvia specially protected plant species have been discovered here.

Residents of Latvia usually do not see dunes as something special: we are used to seeing them on our coast, stretching along it almost for 500 km. Yet in many places across the world there are no dunes, therefore they are a unique ecosystem in Europe. For many species of plants and animals the dunes are the only suitable environment for life. The soil mantle of the dunes is very fragile. Once destroyed, it takes a very long time to be restored. For this reason, it is forbidden to damage the soil mantle of the dunes, drive a motor vehicle in the dunes, make bonfires there, or build tents. Dunes have been formed on the coast of the sea through centuries. At the beginning of the 20th century the wandering white sand dunes were forested; pines were planted there, since these trees are able to survive the harsh conditions on the coast. The dunes nearest to the sea still continue to be formed.

Dry and hollow trees are a significant habitation for various species of birds. The hollows provide a place for woodpeckers, tits, flycatchers to build their nests in, as well as for the owls and even some species of ducks. Old, large runts often become a peculiar multi-apartment houses: the hollows of the trees may be a home for flycatchers and tits; behind a bark slightly parted from the tree stump a treecreeper may build its little nest; but at the top of the broken stump one of the thrushes may nest. Hollows in the trees may form in several ways: they may open in the places where the tree has broken by the help of wood mushrooms and insects; as the time passes the tree may slowly rot away; or the birds may make these hollows. Most often holes are made by the woodpeckers who make a new hollow each year; in the following years other birds who do not make hollows may nest there. Hollows can be sometimes made by two species of tits: crested tit and willow tit who usually choose soft, rotten trees.

Ragakāpa Nature Park
Ragakāpa Nature Park
Ragakāpa Nature Park
Ragakāpa Nature Park

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