Amud Stream Nature Reserve
Meet Amud Stream Nature Reserve
History, heritage and nature
In Nahal Amud Nature Reserve there is a combination of a unique form of nature and human heritage, including a perennial stream, rock pools, the lush vegetation characteristic of riverbanks, flour mills, and prehistoric caves.
Main points of interest
Upper Nahal Amud:
- En Tina police station – an old building intended to guard the pumping station
- En Yakim – a plentiful spring that flows all year round
- The orchard – reconstruction of the typical orchard of traditional agriculture
- The Sekhvi Pools – clear water pools
Lower Nahal Amud:
- Prehistoric caves with finds from the earliest period of human history
- The “Amud”
- A lofty cliff on which raptors nest
- The En Shavshevet and En Amud springs
- Chera lookout point
Main points of interest in detail:
Upper Nahal Amud:
- En Tina police station – an abandoned, concrete building, pocked by bullets, built by the British during the “Arab Revolt” (1936-1939). The building was intended to guard the pumping station at En Yakim – the spring that rises at the foot of the hillside. Entering the building is prohibited because of the risk of collapse.
- En Yakim – a plentiful spring that flows all year round. There is a Mandate-era fortified pumping station. These pumps brought water up from the spring to Safed. As a result of pressure by the Nature and Parks Authority, pumping from the spring stopped in 1995 and all the spring water now flows into the stream. Near the spring is a large walnut tree. The name of the spring commemorates the Yakim watch – Yakim was one of the priestly families that moved to Galilee after the destruction of the Second Temple. Leading from the spring is an aqueduct that in the past served all the flour mills along the spring, and the orchards.
- The orchard – a reconstruction of the traditional agriculture that was common along the stream.
- The Sekhvi Pools – the place where the Sekhvi and Amud streams come together, forming small, shallow pools of clear water, shaded by tall plane trees. A small spring also rises here. In the open area by the pools are the remains of a flour mill.
Lower Nahal Amud:
Prehistoric caves with finds from the earliest period of human history
- Nahal Amud cave – a gaping cave mouth some 30 m above the Amud cliff. Tens of thousands of years ago, the riverbed was higher and the cave was closer to the flowing water. Today, there is no path leading to the cave and therefore visitors may not climb up to it. In 1961, a Japanese archaeological expedition excavated in the Amud cave and found human remains from the Mousterian culture (50,000 to 70,000 years ago). The expedition returned to the cave in 1964, and found an almost complete skeleton of a man, buried lying on his side and bent up. This man was 1.70 m tall, and his skull was exceptionally large in volume: 1,750 cm³ – the largest ever found anywhere among human fossils. Parts of the skull were missing, and scientists were divided over whether this was the skeleton of modern man or Neanderthal man. The riddle was solved 30 years later. In further excavations carried out in the cave, the skeleton of a 10-month-old baby was found. The skeleton was covered by the jawbone of a deer, and so the bones were kept together until our times. This skeleton was of enormous importance, because it was possible to identify the characteristics of Neanderthal man: the massive lower jawbone, the absence of a chin, and an elliptical depression at the base of the skull, where it joined the spine. These are not characteristic of modern man, and the fact that they were found in the baby’s skeleton tells us that they are genetic qualities typical of the type of human found in Nahal Amud.
- The Skull Cave (Zuttiyeh Cave) – a sign put up by the Nature and Parks Authority prohibits entry to the cave for fear of harming rare populations of microbats living in it, but an impression can be gained from the outside. The Skull Cave is the place where, in 1925, prehistoric research began in the land of Israel. In the cave Francis Turville-Petre, the pioneer of this research, discovered a human skull that was determined to belong to what became known as “Galilee Man”. Galilee Man lived in the area more than 350,000 years ago.
- The Amud – the Amud is an impressive limestone pillar rising to a height of 20 m, after which the stream is named. Processes of erosion separated the upright pillar from the adjacent cliff, and it stands alone in the channel of the stream. Many visitors climb it and marvel at the beauty of the site.
- A lofty cliff on which raptors nest – in 1864 the priest and naturalist Henry Baker Tristram described the nests of hundreds of vultures, several bearded vultures, lanner falcons and rock doves on the cliffs of the Amud Stream. In the past, Bonelli’s eagles also nested in the cliffs. Even today, although many of the raptors around the country have been harmed, the cliffs offer an important nesting site. In December 2010, up to 50 vultures were observed spending the nights on the Amud Stream cliffs, as well as other passing birds of prey such as the cinereous vulture and the golden eagle. That year, nine vultures’ nests were built there. Other species of birds of prey nesting or staying around the Amud Stream cliffs are the long-legged buzzard, the lesser kestrel, the common kestrel, Bonelli’s eagle, the Egyptian vulture, the cinereous vulture, and the snake eagle.
- En Shavshevet and En Amud Springs – En Amud is a seasonal spring, emerging from limestone rocks formed in the Eocene. Its waters attract invertebrates, such as the red dragonfly and the blue dragonfly. Toad tadpoles also develop at the spring. En Shavshevet acquired its name from the weathervane erected there by members of Kibbutz Hukok in the 1950s. The weathervane was constructed as part of the attempt to draw water from the spring into a trough to water the animals, using wind power. Above the spring is the Nahal Amud site, where there are finds from the Neolithic through to the Byzantine periods.
- Tsera Lookout Point – named after Zvi Tzur, who was CEO of the Mekorot Water Co. between 1964 – 1967. During his tenure, Mekorot began operating the National Water Carrier. The lookout point has a view of the siphon through which the National Carrier crosses the Amud Stream, passing over a 150 m deep channel. In this section, the water is carried through steel pipes. After going down the northern bank of the stream, it then goes up again onto the other bank without the need for any input of energy (the law of communicating vessels). The pipe is some 700 m long, and has a diameter of 3.10 m, and is laid in a channel carved in the cliff, 5 m deep and 10 m wide. The pipe is covered with concrete in the form of stairs.
Amud Stream Nature ReserveUseful Information
Amud Stream Nature Reserve Sunday–Thursday, Saturday: entry to the long trail: 8:00–13:00; entry to the short trail: 8:00–14:00; entry to the short trail: 8:00–14:00; last entry to the long trails at 15:00; on Fridays and holiday eves, last entry: 14:00Summer hours: Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: - 08:00 Friday and holiday eves: 16:00 - 08:00 Winter hours: Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 16:00 - 08:00 Friday and holiday eves: 15:00 - 08:00 Holiday eves: 13:00 - 08:00 Yom Kippur eve: 13:00 - 08:00
For reasons of nature conservation, visitors may stay in the nature reserve from one hour after sunrise until one hour before sunset, and hiking is permitted only in daylight hours.
From Road 866, between Hananya Junction and Meron Junction, between km 41 – 42, 2 km north of Kfar Shamay.
The upper part of the stream is a reserve open to visitors, and charges an entrance fee.
Visitors entering the Amud Stream from other entrances are requested to pay on exit.
Entrance is permitted from Road 85 (Ako—Ami’ad), through a passage under the road near the Nahal Amud campground. There is an organized parking lot.
It is also possible to enter the nature reserve from Road 8007 (the access roads to Hukok and Levanim) at the point where the road crosses the stream, and here too there is an organized parking lot. Another entrance to the nature reserve is from the Roman bridge at the south-eastern point of the stream, where the stream joins the Israel Trail.
There is no entry to the nature reserve from Hukok and Kahal, or from Chera Lookout Point.
Reserving a visit to Amud Stream Nature Reserve
|Adult in group||₪ 24.00|
|Child in group||₪ 12.00|
|Israeli senior citizen||₪ 14.00|