15 Häckeberga - Sturup
Degree of difficulty
In central southern Skåne lies Häckeberga Castle, poised on a lake and surrounded by rich countryside. Carl Linnéus described Häckeberg as one of the most beautiful places he had ever seen when he visited Skåne in 1749. History set against seductively peaceful nature.
At Allmänningen there is an extensive grazed pasture with lady's bedstraw, field wormwood, and wild thyme. And as you head west towards Genarp, you walk deeper into the Häckeberga Nature Reserve, with its ancient pastures, rolling fields and expansive deciduous forests – sometimes wet, sometimes dry. This makes Häckeberga one of the most valuable woodland areas in Skåne. In some places, the trees have escaped forestry and achieved a very old age. These oldest parts of the forest are protected, and mosses and lichens grow on the bark, and unusual fungi and insects live in the partially rotted trunks. Three species of deer – red, fallow and roe – live here and in the fall, you can hear their throaty barking as they call for mates.
From Häckebergasjön Lake, the Höje Å River starts its 35-kilometre meandering journey toward Öresund Sound. It’s a rather small river, its width not exceeding 10 metres until it nears the sea, stony in parts and with the odd section of rapids. Keep your eyes open for white throated dippers.
At the ruin of the Häckeberga Mill, you can find the largest common spindle (Euonymus europaeus) in Skåne. This large bush rarely grows into a tree, but just here it has achieved a respectable height. Its fruit is beautiful. And poisonous!
Your footsteps follow a sandy path through the Risen Nature Reserve, with its limestone rich hills covered in pasque flower, damp hollows with orchids and unusual frogs in the ponds. Directly adjacent is the extensive wetland of Skoggårdsängar. Birds abound, ancient trees surround, and it is an important little niche for lichens, fungi and beetles.
Shortly after leaving Allmänningen, the trail passes close by the village of Genarp. The church here is the only one built in Skåne in the 1500s. It is also quite unusual to find churches built entirely of brick in the countryside. This one is quite impressive, sometimes referred to as a cathedral because of its relatively great size – it can take as many as 250 persons. Take the opportunity to get some supplies in the grocery store.
The Häckeberga estate dates to the 1300s, though the present buildings are built in the late 1800s. The manor itself is set on Häckebergasjön Lake, surrounded by lush forests, and a network of small roads lined with carefully spaced trees, where the canopies create a shady tunnel in summer, and many farms and crofts abound. This planting of trees along the roads was extremely popular in the 1800s, and today we still reap the benefits.
Suddenly you find yourself walking along a wide and historically interesting road. On Bedevägen Road, you follow a route that has been used for centuries. It was improved at the end of the 1600s and became the main route between Lund and Ystad for both troops and weary travellers. Notice how the road divides into three or four alternatives. Sometimes the main route was just too muddy and inaccessible.
Take a little detour to the ruins of Häckeberga Mill at Genarp. There the Höje Å River has its only waterfall, and local farmers used the power of the drop to grind their grains into flour.
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