South to the town of Idrija, river Idrijca flows on a gravel bed, between the forests that gave so many logs to the mineshafts. As many rivers in Slovenia, Idrijca river is a heaven for angling trouts. From the road, we could see several large trouts swimming in the river.
Klavze - water barriers on the Belca river
On the rivers surrounding Idrija are the remains of (and reconstructions of) Klavze. These were water barriers designed by local engineer Josef Mrak and used in the transportation of timber from the local forests into the town. Sometimes known as "Slovenian pyramids".
When the gates were closed, water built up behind the dam. Timber was placed in front of the dam and when the gates were opened, the water carried the wood into the town where it was collected - simple and ingenious!
The nearest can be reached by following the Raka (water canal) upstream - about 15km. They can also be reached by car, but be careful the tracks can be difficult to manouver. Get a map and advice from the museum or tourist office.
The Wild Lake (Divje Jezero)
"Divje jezero" or The Wild Lake is a natural phenomenon situated just outside if Idrija in the Zgornja Idrijca Regional Park. A mysterious lake syphon, descending more than 120 metres into the depths occasionally emits large quantities of underground water which gives the effect that the lake is 'boiling'. It is perhaps linked to nearby hills from from which rainwater filters into the syphon.
I always think of it as a sad place because three cave divers have so far been killed in trying to locate the source.
However, it is in an area renowned for its beautiful flora and fauna - in particular the Carniolan primrose (Primula Carniolica). Another interesting feature is that Slovenija's smallest river - Jezernica - runns the 55 metres from the lake to the Idrijca river.
To get there, take the main road from Idrija towards Ljubljana. After about 1Km turn right following the Idrijca river, and the lake is about 500 metres on the left. Small parking area on right.
Kamst - a giant waterwheel
Outside of the town centre, close to the Idrijca river and the sports area, and below the Jasek Kajzer mine, is a stone building housing a giant waterwheel - Kamst. It is the largest waterwheel in Europe, with a diameter of 13.6m, and was used to pump water from the mines to a depth of 280m. You will need to contact the town museum at Gewerkenegg castle for access.