Hay bales

The regional landscape is predominantly flat with only few low ridges rising up a few dozen metres. Local bedrock consists of Silurian imestone (420 million years old), usually covered with clay and gravel. Erratic boulders and stone fileds can be found all over the region.

The curvy and variegrated coastline is overgrown with reedbeds and lined with stones. the coastline is often fringed with ast coastal meadows. Coastal cliffs can be found only in north of Virtsu (Uisu cliff). Owing to the rocky coast, sandy recreational beaches exist only by Varbla and Kuke villages.

There are a few hundred islets belonging to coastal communities. Most of the islets are incorporated into various nature reserves and are closed to tourists.

Coastal waters are shallow. Due to the low salt content, both freshwater and seawater fish live. The most valuable fish are perch, pike, zander and herring, and also roach in spring.

Approximately one-third of the region is covered with mires and swampy areas, with raised bogs occuring especially around Koonga. There are several large bog massifs around Risti settlement, the most famous of which is the Marimetsa bog.

Lakes are totally missing from the region. The largest river is the Kasari, forming a huge delta with vast reedbeds and floodplain meadows in Matsalu National Park.

As for forests, this region tends to be one of the poorest in Estonia. There are remarkably few coniferous forests here, though some larger pine woods can be found around Varbla and Risti. The main species are birch, white alder, aspen and ash. The number of oak trees is also remarkable, with surroundings of Mihkli village boasting more than any other place in Estonia.

A large portion of local woods were formerly used as wooded meadows, a traditional method of land use whereby the trees are kept sparse in order to mow hay, as well as to acquire sufficient firewood. Today, wooded meadows are predominantly overgrown in most places. Still, ome have been restored and managed, offering a high species diversity, with Laelatu, Allika and Nedrema especially attractive in spring and the beginning of summer.

The flora of western Estonia is very rich in species as a result of different meadow communities and numerous widespread calcipholous plants. The area is especially well-known for its affluence of orchid species.

Another feature related to traditional land-use is the creation of alvar or juniper heath on calcareous soil. Alvars, which spread over thin soil and dry up readily in summer, are suitable for grazing. Alvars, along with old stone walls and small bushes and trees, are western Estonian coastal trademarks. Coastal, rover and wooded meadows and alvars are our seminatural communities, created with he help of long-term human activities.

Dewberry is the most characteristic wild berry of the locale. It can be found everywhere at field edges, roadsides and ditch banks. Calciphilous Orange lichen is often found on tree-trunks and rocks.