Along with the settlement of Rakitna, a karst field expands, which in its shape and position belongs to the karst fields of the high plateaus with uneven bottoms. It lies on the edge of water-holding rocks and the depression itself mostly consists of the Norian-Rhaetian dolomite, making the karst phenomena more common here than in its surroundings. The field is shaped like a highly raised bowl, which has in two places only a 20 m high rim. To the north, the depression opens towards the Ljubljana Marshes and to the southeast towards the deeply cut valley of the Zala stream. The bottom of the depression is 2 km long and 1 km wide. The terrain descends to the northwest, where the disappearing stream called Rakitniščica also flows, which has its spring at the extreme southeast edge of the field at Nakličev konec. Rakitniščica gets water from several springs at the southern edge of the field, while some springs are also at the bottom. At the foot of the Novaška gora Mountain at the western edge of the field, two occasional streams collect water from several springs – Potok na Griču and Potok na Logu, which disappear into the sinkholes in Ponikve. The ponor area of Ponikve in the northwest part of the field is arid, rocky and full of dolines. Next to the main sinkhole, which drains the largest amounts of water, are numerous small ones and to the north of the sinkhole there are several dolines, which during the floods also drain excess water. The water that seeps in Ponikve on the Rakitna Field re-emerges in the springs on the karst field of Ponikve near Preserje. From there, it flows towards the springs in Podkamnik on the edge of the Ljubljana Marshes.
2. Wet Meadows
Wet meadows are found in lowlands, mostly in tectonic depressions, karst fields, basins and sometimes even in river valleys; in all cases, they are found in the poorly permeable ground. It depends on the use of the land what type of vegetation will thrive in certain soil. Due to the gradients of ecological factors and human activity, a series of plant communities have developed on wet meadows, consisting of more than 100 species of higher plants. On the forest edge, forest and meadow come in contact, which is why the animals’ characteristic of both ecosystems appears there.
All three great Carnivorans are present here: bear, wolf and lynx. Of the remaining mammals, four species of bats are mostly tied to the forest area as well.
4. Source of the Zala Stream
In the valley, we find the main source branch of Zala, a torrential and crystal-clear stream that flows together with Iška through the Iška Gorge. Along the wall, its flow is unsteady and it only fills in heavy rainfall. The soil along the stream is damp in all seasons, so moist-loving animals and plants live here. In puddles and ruts, fire-bellied toads and frogs are definitely found and if you are lucky, you may also encounter newts and crayfish. Grass snakes and the ground beetle Carabus variolosus also need a constantly moist environment. Many animals come here to quench their thirst and cool down in the summer (deer, foxes, badgers, weasels, bears, wolves).
5. Roman Wall on Rakitna
Find the remains of the Roman wall and tower! A ridge winds on the slope, covered with sod and bushes. These are the remains of a once mighty construction erected by Roman soldiers in the 3rd and 4th centuries. A 2–3 m high and 1 m wide barrier wall with towers was built to control the passageways to Italy. The 600 m long line of the Roman wall on Rakitna, well-positioned between the natural stone walls, is part of the larger barrier system claustra Alpium iuliarum, which winded from Rijeka in the Croatian Kvarner to the Soča Region in Slovenia. The barrier wall on Rakitna once protected the passage from the Ljubljana Marshes towards Cerknica. The barrier had two defence towers that stood on opposite slopes and provided a good overview of the entire section of the barrier wall. You are standing next to the tower that was archaeologically excavated in the 1960s. Therefore, the remains are still relatively visible today. Take a walk upwards along the wall to find the supports of the wall, on which wooden logs were laid – this was a walking deck for the Roman soldiers on guard.
6. Mixed Forest
On the slope, the Roman wall is surrounded by mixed forests with spruce and beech trees. There are no shrub and herb layers or they can be only found where light reaches the ground between the gaps. Under the roots of the plants, we found brown soil and carbonate rock (limestone or dolomite). We are located at an altitude of 830–925 m above the sea level, so the boreal owl and the ural owl are also among the forest population.
7. Section of the Roman Wall
Find the section of the Roman wall in the road cut above today’s main road. It is 1.1 m wide. The construction of the entire claustra Alpium Iuliarum barrier system is distinctive. The larger stones were piled up on the outer sides by the masters so that the better-looking sides were turned outwards and if necessary, they were roughly carved as well. In between them, smaller stones were thrown in no particular order. The wall was bound with lime mortar. The lime was burned in close proximity and the building material was limestone, which is not lacking here.