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Hikers chase chestnuts on marvelous trails

The "sweet chestnut" is found in abundance in Ticino Keystone Archive

Theme trails devoted to everything from chestnuts, planets and marmots are drawing people to the Swiss outdoors this autumn.

This content was published on October 26, 2001 - 23:45

Once the main food staple of the peasant in canton Ticino, the chestnut is enjoying a culinary renaissance across Switzerland. In honour of its rehabilitation, a unique "Chestnut Path" has been created in the Malcantone region on Lake Lugano.

The interpretive trail through chestnut woods informs hikers of the seasonal evolution of the chestnut in southern Switzerland where the edible "sweet chestnut" is still harvested.

After November 1, hikers are allowed to take as many nuts home with them as they like - to roast of course on an open fire.

Hikers can also branch off onto the "Path of Marvels" to discover more about the history of the region. The trail leads past mines, forges and mills, including a reconstructed Hammersmith.

Planets and stars

The "Planet Trail" which winds along the top of the Weissenstein mountain near Solothurn is a journey through the solar system. Ideal for children, each of the planets is represented by a metal sculpture, engraved with planetary facts.

Visitors to Lake Geneva can take the "Star Train" to a vantage point high above Vevey. The "Astropléiades Path" provides a healthy way of getting to grips with astronomical basics.

Face to face with north faces

In the popular car-free resort of Mürren in the Bernese Oberland, outdoor enthusiasts can wander along the "Northface Trail". The walk brings about a dozen of Switzerland's most impressive north faces into view, including of course, that of the most famous of all, the Eiger.

The life story of the most cuddly wild alpine animal, the marmot, is told along the trail devoted to the animal in the car-free resort of Bettmeralp in canton Valais.

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