Местность эта впервые в 1976 году была признана особо охраняемой природной территорией и получила статус памятника природы (Постановление Правительства Ленинградской области № 145 от 29.03.1976). Постановлением Правительства Ленинградской области № 494 от 26.12.1996 были определены границы памятника природы и режим его охраны.
Силами Администрации Тосненского района, Правительства Ленинградской области и ученых-энтузиастов на протяжении десяти лет на территории велись природоохранные работы: укреплялись своды в одной из пещер, велась расчистка от мусора, проводились научно-исследовательские работы по исследованию радона, устойчивости сводов, гидротехнические работы.
В июне 1999 года группа ученых влилась в Ленинградскую областную общественную организацию "Сохранение природы и культурного наследия", которая по сей день осуществляет природоохранные работы, проводит мониторинг и укрепление пещерных сводов (Заключение межведомственной экспертной комиссии по приемке подземного экскурсионного маршрута) и состояния памятника в целом, ведет эколого-просветительскую деятельность на основании Заключении № 502 экспертной комиссии государственной экологической экспертизы, Договора с Правительством Ленинградской области от 27 декабря 2000 г. по согласованию с МО "Тосненский район Ленинградской области".
Саблинский — Sablinsky
Protected Areas of the Leningrad Region
Category, type. Complex natural monument.
Location. Situated in the Tosno District, at the northern outskirts of the settlement of Ulyanovka, near the Sablino railway station.
Grounds for establishment. Established by the Lenoblispolkom Resolution No. 145 of 29.03.76, as proposed by LOGS VOOP, in order to preserve nature complexes of the Sablinka and Tosna valleys: the outcrops of old rocks, Waterfalls, artificial caves, the forest park and rare plant and animal species. Re-approved by the Leningrad Region Government Decree No. 494 of 26.12.96.
Area: 328 hectares.
Brief description. In the territory of the natural monument the rivers Sablinka and Tosna cut into the Ordovician plateau, forming deep canyon-like valleys with rock outcrops, Which are Ordovician and Cambrian stratotypes of the north-western Russian platform. There are two waterfalls here: the Sablinka waterfall, 3.5m high and 10m wide, and the low but wide (up to 10m) Tosna waterfall. In the steep slopes there are entrances into artificial caves, which are labyrinths dozens of kilometers long, with underground lakes and streams, calsite and sinter formations and even cave "pearl". Fossil fauna pyrite druses are to be found in the limestone outcrops.
The slopes of the Sablinka and Tosna canyon-like valleys are covered with forests, where broad-leaved species are common, with accompanying bushes and herds: the elm, small-leaved lime, maple, ash, honeysuckle, hazel, lungwort, asarabacca. The write form of the giant bellflower is often to be found in the grass cover. The oxlip and cowslip grow in the meadows.
There is the region's largest population of hibernating bats in the caves. Six out of ten species of chiropterans recorded in the Leningrad Region are to be found here: Natterer's, pond, whiskered, water, long-eared and northern bats.
There are cultural and historical monuments in the territory. In the Tosna Valley, there are some burial mounds and Prince Alexander Nevsky's campsite where he stayed before the battle with the Swedes. Count A. K. Tolstoy's country estate, which was often visited by the Russian poet V. S. Solovyov, was there. The famous people associated with this place include the writer V. V. Bianki, who knew the caves very well, and Ya. M. Terentyev, a founder of the Russian astronautics.
The territory of the natural monument is under considerable stress. There is the educational center of SpbGU.
Specially protected objects: the Tosna and Sablinka waterfalls, caves, old rock outcrops, Sablinsky forest park and the forests on the slopes, the surrounding meadows, the burial mounds, Prince Alexander Nevsky's campsite and Count A. K. Tolstoy's country estate; rare species of plants and animals: the giant bellflower, oxlip, all bat species and their hibernating sites.
Protection mode places a ban on allocating land for gardening, quarrying and wood-felling, dumping waste and other economic activities violating nature complexes. Caching the bats hibernating in the caves should be forbidden.
References: Yu. S. Lyakhnitsky, V. I. Simachov, B. V. Sokolov.
SABLINO — A LAND OF CAVES
Just forty kilometers from St. Petersburg, on the road to Moscow, lies of the most picturesque beauty spots in North-West Russia — the Sablino geoecological reserve. The Sablinka and Tosna rivers flow between limestone and sandstone cliffs through a 220-hectare wooded area, providing the setting for the main local attraction — the famous Sablino caves.
Man is responsible for the existence of these caves: in the late 19th century, quartz sand for glass manufacture was mined here. Now they have become a place of pilgrimage for lovers of acute sensations: potholers and tourists.
No one knows the caves, but there are thought to be no less than twenty — intricate labyrinths stretching for dozens of kilometers, with lakes and underground chambers. Some of them extend for quite considerable distances: for instance, the "Lesser Sablino" cave, which is not the deepest one, goes down nearly two kilometers into the bowels of the earth.
In the caves that are accessible to visitops, steep slopes lead from narrow entrances into spacious chambers with high vaulted ceilings, which are lost in a mysterious half-light. You only have to switch on a light, however, for a fountain of rainbow — coloured splashes to flash out from the stalactites which hang from the ceiling and the stalagmites which rise up to meet them — mineral formations consisting of drops of water mixed with calcium carbonate. You can also see another variety of mineral formations of rare beauty, the "cave pearl", and find primeval inhabitants of the Earth turned to stone in the ancient limestone outcrops: trilobites and orthoceratites… Side galleries lead of the large chambers in all directions, interwoven in the impenetrable gloom. They are inhabited by the original cave-dwellers — bats; for many years the largest colony of these creatures in the region has wintered in the Sablino caves. Despite their exotic appearance, there is no need to be afraid — they feed exclusively on insects.
The potholers who first explored the caves gate them names; they drew up maps and discovered that the underground chambers and galleries "breathed" — i. e. they altered with the passage of time. In some of the galleries, over a period of 100-150 years, the ceiling has become the floor. What nature needs almost a century and a half to achieve, however, can, happen in just one day, so it is recommended that you visit the caves in the company of instructors, who know all the entrances and exits.
A journey inside the mountain is an exciting adventure, and when you return to the surface, you see the world in a new light; but however glad you might be to come out into the sunlight, the wonders of this subterranean kingdom will remain in your memory, stimulating the desire to visit it again. (Excursions to the "Land of Caves" can be booked with a voluntary organization "The Conservation of Nature and our Cultural Heritage", between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays, by telephoning: +7(952)270-48-03.