Jelenec Chestnut Forest Protected Site
A trip to the romantic ruins of the Gýmeš Castle can be made even more special by a visit to the Jelenec Chestnut Forest. A green tourist trail leads to it. The sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) is not an indigenous species to the Tribeč forest. It was brought here by the Forgách family of the Gýmeš Castle. The chestnut forest was allegedly established by progenitors of this family in the mid-13th century. It means that it is the earliest known attempt to artificially create a forest in the territory of Slovakia which, moreover, was successful, too. Thanks to the acclimatization of the sweet chestnut in the oak-hornbeam forest, more than 300-year-old trees grow under Gýmeš today. The precious growth on an area of 3.8 ha has been protected by law since 1952.
The forest of the Jelenec massif has a similar character as in the Zobor part. However, warmth-loving trees and meadow plant colonies are represented here to a smaller extent. The local fauna is noteworthy due the presence of mouflons, also brought here by the Forgáchs. As passionate hunters, they established a mouflon park on their property in 1868 and 1869. Their passion for hunting is evidenced by the 1,756 mouflon trophies which used to decorate the interior of their mansion in the past. Today, these beautiful animals, along with numerous deer and wild boars, adorn the forests of Tribeč Mountains.