Cycling around Kýiv - Siverščyna


Trail photos

Photo ofCycling around Kýiv - Siverščyna Photo ofCycling around Kýiv - Siverščyna Photo ofCycling around Kýiv - Siverščyna


Trail stats

327.26 mi
Elevation gain
7,493 ft
Technical difficulty
Experts only
Elevation loss
7,493 ft
Max elevation
714 ft
Min elevation
378 ft
Trail type
April 3, 2021
April 2021
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714 ft
378 ft
327.26 mi

near Konotop, Sumy (Ukraine)

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Photo ofCycling around Kýiv - Siverščyna Photo ofCycling around Kýiv - Siverščyna Photo ofCycling around Kýiv - Siverščyna

Itinerary description

A 6-day light-weight round-trip across the northern part of Ukraine, known as a historic land of Siveria. Multiple towns preserve the heritage of the times when this territory was the heart of the Cossack Hetmanate, with its capitals in Baturyn and Hluxiv; while the towns of Novhorod-Siverśký and Putyvl date back to even earlier times of the 10th ct. Lying in the forested interfluve of the Desna and the Sejm, this area has plenty of natural landmarks: Sejmśký Regional Landscape Park, Mezynśký National Nature Park, Šalyhynśký Landscape Reserve etc.

The following route is aiming to cover the most prominent sites where possible (where passible) by the dirt roads rather than highways. Below is the detailed itinerary.

DAY 1: Konotop to Baturyn (~50 km). Start in Konotop railway station (from Kýiv a Regional train #888 arrives at 13:15), and there goes a direct road to Baturyn. The initial plan was to ride along the bank of the Sejm, but what is shown as a road on the map in reality was not passable due to multiple crossing of creeks flowing into the Sejm (maybe it's relevant only for a spring month...). Eventually I had to take a muddy forest road to the abandoned village of Karpenkove and then to go out on the main road P-61. Baturyn is the target of the day - this town has a very good hotel ('Vitryla Maklaja' - Вітрила Маклая) as well as a number of renovated landmarks: a restored fortress, a palace and a park, also several museums.

DAY 2: Baturyn to Desńanśke (~100 km). A long ride along the asphalt road from Baturyn to Korop (40 km), passing several small and also abandoned villages. The quality of this road turns from perfect to almost totally broken, and around Korop it is also quite battered. The small town of Korop has several old churches of 18th ct. as well as museums. Here we enter the road P-82 which soon crosses the Desna. Again, I had an initial plan to stay in the village of Horodyšče (Городище) in a guest-house belonging to Mezynśký NNP, but the quarantine restrictions interfered and I had to change the route. A hotel exists in Korop, but the closest to that is a cottage 'Na Kraju Svitu' (На краю світу) in a village Desńanśke (Деснянське), another 50 km away from Korop. Anyway, ahead was the territory of Mezynśký NNP which I was aiming to explore, so I made this route even longer:
- first I made a loop to the village Vyšeńky (Вишеньки), a former Hutterite settlement preserving the remnants of a late 18th ct. palace;
- the next stop was a village Ryxly (Рихли) with some remarkable natural objects near a monastery (old oak-trees, a spruce alley).
From here, the fastest way would be to go to Ponornyća (Понориця), but I chose a seemingly more interesting route through the forest and then across the fields to the village Krysky (Криски). This could have been a total failure as the road was sheer mud, but on the outskirts of Krysky I eventually accidentally found myself near a picturesque ravine amid the birch-tree groves, serving as a local pasture. The road, however, didn't get less intense, as the village is situated on several steep hills with hardly any concrete roads except for the central street. After all the wandering, I reached a meteo station near the village Pokošyči (Покошичі), and here turned on the highway down to Desńanśke.

DAY 3: Desńanśke to Novhorod-Siverśký (~80 km). The day was devoted primarily to the main part of Mezynśký NNP - a hilly right bank of the Desna River between the villages Desńanśke and Radyčiv (Радичів) and further northwards to Mezyn. Here are all the picturesque viewpoints upon the wide river valley with floodplain lakes and meadows, upon the forested upper bank and its sandy-chalky precipices, and upon all the meanders of the river and wooden floaters crossing it. The most prominent sites are Puzyreva Hora and a hill near pension 'Desna' to the south of Radyčiv. There is a road connecting all these places along the river, yet in spring it was unpassable due to excessive moisture - but in many cases there is a comfortable parallel track going in the grass. I left the park in Mezyn - a village famous for its archaeologic museum - and continued the route along the beaten road threading a dozen villages on the right bank of the Desna. One of them - Putyvśk (Путивськ) - will be the next stop thanks to its marvelous chalk quarry. The adjacent village Arapovyči (Араповичі) also offers some beautiful views on the river. The last village Černaćke (Чернацьке) has a symbolic monument on a place where a Cossack hero Ivan Bohun is assumed to have been executed. Right after that we are entering the ancient town Novhorod-Siverśký - a historic capital of Siveria and one of the few towns that have managed to preserve a lot of its pre-revolution buildings as well as several iconic ensembles (Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Gubernśka street and Prince Ihor square).

DAY 4: Voroniž to Hluxiv (~60 km). From Novhorod-Siverśký I took a morning suburb train #6702 which arrives in a town Voroniž (Вороніж) at 09:33. The only attraction here is perhaps a 18th ct. Myxajlivśka church. My route goes south, aiming to reach Hluxiv at the end of the day. To my unfortunate surprise, the road from Voroniž is paved of stone and is very tiresome for riding... After almost 20 km, I took a turn to the right into the fields on a concrete military road - that was a sheer relief. Another turn to the left goes into a dirt road directed into Dubovyči (Дубовичі) - a large village with a park and an old wooden mansion. From the village, there was again a stone road going through the forest, crossing M-02 highway and ending up in the village Tulyholove. Here I took a route in an long wide alley through the fields, leading to a half-broken wooden bridge across a rivulet Verbivka - but it can be passed if carefully. The next interesting village on the way is Pološky (Полошки) with a quite remarkable Soviet clubhouse amid a park on top of a hill. This is already a suburb of Hluxiv, and within 10 km we are entering the town itself. This day was the shortest by the travelled distance, given that more time would rather be allocated to sightseeing in Hluxiv - a prominent town by the amount of its heritage relative to its size. A lot of the buildings have been well renovated, but the poor roads still remind you of its provinciality...

DAY 5: Hluxiv to Putyvl (~100 km) was promising to be the most intense of all, but thankfully the weather was helpful. The first 20 km were an easy ride along the P-65 highway and then a road towards the town Šalyhyne (Шалигине). Right before the town situates a monastery Hlynśka Pustyń (Глинська Пустинь), but as of spring 2021 it was actively renovated. The town itself starts with a large pond, on the opposite bank of which stands a tall brick chimney-stalk with 1899 written on it - the only remnant of an old sugar plant. On the other side of the town (which resembles rather a very stretched village) there is a natural wonder 'Seven Springs' - a river starting from vertically gushing springs.
From Šalyhyne, the next 10 km will be quite uncomfortable, going along another stone road, which are very abundant in this area. As a contrast to it, a turn to the village Vesele is an almost perfect dirt road between the fields. Soon it will lead through the village into a forest and cross the river Kleveń - this part of the way will require some struggling with the mud. This is the second time I crossed this river that day, and most part of the route will be going along its bed. But first I go uphill towards the village Banyči (Баничі), where the target is to see a quartzite quarry. From the quarry the sandy road goes down through the pine-tree grove until it goes out on the P-44 highway.
Very soon I'll take another turn down to three villages on the river Esmań - Mackove, Kubareve and Kočerhy (Кочерги) - the latter is a more picturesque one, sitting on several hills, one being occupied by an old church. The road, however, is a nuisance - first it's again a stone road, then it turns in a muddy dirt road... Yet the main goal of this part of the route is the next village Volokytyne (Волокитине).
Since 1850s Volokytyne was famous for its porcelain manufactory, and the local landlord built here a landscape park, a mansion and a church. All the latter were demolished by the Soviets in 1950s, but the factory survived (however, now it hosts a school), and the entrance to the park is still framed by the wonderful pseudo-gothic 'Golden Gates'.
On the way out from Volokytyne I turn on the beaten dirt road through the meadows, going along the Kleveń river - soon it will lead to a waterlock (a popular place for picnics among the locals) and eventually to a bridge on the other bank to the village Jacyne (Яцине). Here an old church is being slowly renovated, and an old landlord house still serves as a school.
To the south of Jacyne lies a large forest massif called Spadščanśký Lis (Спадщанський ліс), in the middle of which there is a Soviet WW2 memorial complex as well as a modern-era park of demolished communist monuments. However, it is not easy to get there from this direction: first there is a sandy road through the fields, and soon even it gets plowed, so it requires some walking... But once you reach the forest, the track gets much more comfortable. Unfortunately for me, the museum works until 17:00, and I arrived 1 hour late. But even without entering, it is possible to look around, and funny enough there is also a pile of Lenin busts on the backyard of the museum. Worth noting, that the territory of this memorial is huge with numerous objects like guerilla dugouts, but they are all connected by tracks and have all the route pointers.
The remaining route passed through three more villages along the Sejm river, before entering Putyvl.

DAY 6: Putyvl to Konotop (~90 km). So I spent the morning looking around in the town of Putyvl, lying on several high hills above the Sejm, each of these hills hosts a remarkable site: a 17th ct. fortified Molčenśký monastery (Молченський монастир), a park on the place where the ancient town was situated, and a Soviet-time memorial.
It was raining all day long, so I decided not to take risks and to follow only the main roads: in 30 km of a broken road from Putyvl, I visited the village Kamiń (Камінь) - here the Kleveń river flows into Sejm, forming creeks and islands, and revealing some picturesque sandstones - and there is a new park on this place. Surprisingly, for almost 10 next km from Kamiń the country road is totally new, unlike the P-60 highway, which I was riding along the way to Konotop. For the 20 km after the turn, the highway first crossed the wide Sejm valley and then entered a large forest of Sejmśký Regional Landscape Park. The only stop between the forest and Konotop was made in the village Bočečky (Бочечки), where right next to the road there stands a 18th ct. palace and a park (nowadays a school).


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