The southern Styrian Nature Park, one of 7 nature parks in Styria, is seductively diverse with an area of 417 km². From the depths of the Mur to the heights of the Poßruck, it is crisscrossed by countless hills and vineyards that have been used in a variety of ways for thousands of years.
A nature park is a cultural landscape area, created by human management, that is particularly worthy of preservation, and is to be maintained in this condition. In addition, it creates recreational and educational opportunities for the locals and visitors.
The cultural landscape in the Southern Styrian Nature Park is dominated by two elements: warm mixed deciduous forests with oak and sweet chestnut trees, and steep, intensively used vineyards. In between, there are remnants of the formerly much more diversely used stone walls, scattered fruit stands, rough pastures and hedges. Arable farming is mainly limited to the valleys and the Leibnitzerfeld, while small areas around Leutschach are still used for hop growing. The special feature of the Southern Styrian Nature Park is that it is also a landscape conservation area and home to several nature reserves. These include the Attemsmoor, the Demmerkogel meadows, the Sulmaltarme or the alluvial landscape along the Laßnitz and Sulm as well as the "Demmerkogel-Südhänge, Wellinggraben mit Sulm-, Saggau- und Laßnitzabschnitten" Natura 2000 site,.
The nature park hiking trail runs along vineyards, orchards and forests. Here you can get to know different habitats and learn all kinds of interesting facts. The family farms along the way are happy to provide an insight into their everyday lives and welcome interested visitors. A varied snack offering and delicious wines make the hike a culinary foray through southern Styria.
The main objective of the Southern Styrian Nature Park is to develop and implement strategies for the preservation of the small-scale cultural landscape. Active strategies are strived towards which give the region the opportunity to determine the development of the cultural landscape itself, at least to a certain extent.
Many projects have already been implemented. For example, in Southern Styria there is a nature experience programme to raise awareness of the nature park among the population and guests, a management plan that elaborates the added value of the nature park for the region, its role in the overall structure as well as its mission statement, a biodiversity and species protection offensive, sustainable landscape management and many other initiatives that contribute to the protection of nature and the cultural landscape.
Facts & Figures
Nature jewels are very special habitats within our cultural landscape. In the 7 nature parks of Styria, there are a total of 27 such natural jewels and 3 of them are located in the Southern Styria Nature Park.
With the nature park hosts, you can stay in authentic regional accommodation and experience nature with all its special features right on your doorstep.
Products of local origin that contribute to the preservation of the typical cultural landscape in the nature park are sold throughout Austria under the brand "Naturpark-Spezialitäten" (Nature Park Specialities). There is also a group of nature park producers in the South Styria Nature Park who make their products with sometimes laborious but loving manual work.