A little stream at mountain Kissavos that looks like it came out from a fairytale and is distinguished by its dense vegetation and the presence of a small waterfall. The stream begins in the amphitheatrical big village of Melivia -old Athanati village- on the southeastern slopes of Kissavos mountain in Thessalia region. It flows through low hills to the east and ends at the beach of Velika and the Aegean Sea. Parallel to the stream moves a rather easy to walk, landscaped path. This is the same path that was used in the past by the people of Melivia to go to their “kastanaria”, the fields in which they cultivated the famous Chestnut of Melivia and spread out up to a few meters before the seashore. The word Tsouvala means “sack” and came out of the sacks in which the villagers used to carry their chestnuts. The stream and together the path have a length of about 7.5 km and each can choose whether to start from Melivia or Velika. It takes about 2.5 hours to walk the fairly easy path that passes through a dense riparian forest, with the trunks of the trees covered with ivies. Small bridges, recreation spots, traditional mills, stone fountains, springs, gardens and other interesting elements pop up at almost every point of the path. The small waterfall located at the top of the stream is the trademark of Tsouvala. The whole area is a single ecosystem starring the stream, the dense vegetation and the broadleaf forest. The relatively mild characteristics of the Tsouvala stream make it an ideal destination for exploring and discovering nature with children.
The stream is located just south of the famous Aesthetic Forest of Ossa. Nowadays, chestnut trees are cultivated in an area of 2,5 sq.km. The riparian forest is dominated by oriental planes, common alders, sycamore maples, willows, oaks, sweet chestnuts, cornelian cherries, wild walnuts, horse chestnuts, common hazels and silver lindens. In the lower and more open parts of the stream grow strawberry trees, mock privets and evergreen oaks among orchards with apple and cherry trees. The most important flowers of the surrounding area are Lathraea squamaria, Campanula thessala, Campanula incurva, Allium heldreichii, Silene multicaulis subsp. sporadum, Primula vulgaris subsp. sibthorpii, Viola rausii, Colchicum doerfleri, Lilium chalcedonicum and Veronica urticifolia. Other species close to the stream are Orthilia secunda, Atropa belladonna, Primula vulgaris subsp. vulgaris, Geranium macrorrhizum, Digitalis grandiflora, Erodium absinthoides subsp. guicciardii, Centaurea grisebachii subsp. confusa, Securigera varia, Delphinium fissum subsp. fissum, Lamium garganicum subsp. striatum, Viola tricolor, Viola reichenbachiana, Orlaya daucorlaya, Euphorbia baselicis, Genista carinalis, Mentha longifolia subsp. typhoides, Viscaria atropurpurea, Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum, Ornithogalum oligophyllum, Dianthus viscidus and orchids Cephalanthera longifolia, Cephalanthera rubra, Limodorum abortivum, Dactylorhiza saccifera, Anacamptis morio, Orchis italica and Neotinea tridentata.
The bird fauna includes many species of the forests and the streams. The presence of dozens of nightingales in spring and summer stands out. The predators include short-toed eagles, common buzzards, honey buzzards, levant sparrowhawks, goshawk, kestrels and hobbies. From the night predators in the area live tawny owls, barn owls and little owls. Other species present here are woodcocks, woodpigeons, turtle doves, cuckoos, nightjars, bee-eaters, green woodpeckers, middle spotted woodpeckers, hoopoes, woodlarks, grey wagtails, wrens, dunnocks, song thrushes, mistle thrushes, blackcaps, whitethroats, lesser whitethroats, subalpine warblers, Cetti’s warblers, wood warblers, goldcrests, spotted flycatchers, semicollared flycatchers, blue tits, marsh tits, long-tailed tits, wood nuthatches, red-backed shrikes, woodchat shrikes, jays, jackdaws, golden orioles, goldfinches, greenfinches, siskins, serins, hawfinches, cirl buntings, black-headed buntings and corn buntings.
Amphibians in the area include fire salamanders, toads, green toads, tree frogs, balkan frogs and greek frogs. In the area live all three species of tortoises of Greece: greek tortoise, Hermann’s tortoise and marginated tortoise. The herpetofauna includes species like, balkan pond turtles, slow worms, glass lizards, mediterranean house geckos, Kotschy’s geckos, balkan green lizards, green lizards, Erhard’s wall lizards, common wall lizards, balkan wall lizards, worm snakes, smooth snakes, large whip snakes, four-lined snakes, levant montpellier snakes, grass snakes, Dahl’s whip snakes, cat snakes, aesculapian snakes, leopard snakes and nose-horned vipers. Almost all species of forest mammals live here like, foxes, badgers, beech martens, weasels, red squirrels, hares and wild boars. More rare in the area are roe deers and wildcats. The stream attracts countless species of butterflies. Most notable is the impressive two-tailed pasha (Charaxes jasius), followed by Lang’s short-tailed blues (Leptotes pirithous), anomalous blues (Polyommatus admetus), Jersey tigers (Euplagia quadripunctaria), cardinals (Argynnis pandora), yellow shells (Camptogramma bilineata), persian skippers (Spialia phlomidis) and clouded Apollos (Parnassius mnemosyne). Other interesting insects of the stream are the thessalian bright bush-cricket (Poecilimon thessalicus), the white-legged damselfly (Platycnemis pennipes), the great capricorn beetle (Cerambyx cerdo) and the beetle Aesalus scarabaeoides.