2 Grundsjön - Östafors
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Across Ryssberget, through quiet, deep forests and stony pastures cleared centuries ago. Admire the traditional Swedish houses painted red and then imagine the aquatic dinosaurs that swam here 80 million years ago. How about some fly fishing? Or a dragonfly safari?
This section of trail takes you along small roads and footpaths through the extensive forests of Ryssberget. There are several nature reserves on the ridge, and some areas are classified as woodland key habitats. Grundsjön Lake itself is surrounded by beech forests and is a paradise for dragonflies, including various species of the genus Leucorrhinia otherwise rare in Skåne. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout and there are plenty of docks where you can fish and grill pits where you can prepare your catch – fishing license required.
Continue to the lookout over Näsumsdalen Valley. As you take in the view, imagine that this area, in fact all of southern Sweden, was an archipelago some 80 million years ago. There was a bay here, teeming with marine dinosaurs - Scaniasaurus and the lizard-like Mosasaurus. Fossils from these sea creatures have been found in the area, some of them up to 13 metres long.
Today, you see the little community of Drögsperyd with its traditional Swedish houses painted the traditional Falun red colour. This colour of paint comes from a by-product of Swedish copper mines, the most famous of which was in Falun in the province of Dalarna. North of Drögsperyd you follow footpaths over the stony slope of the ridge, through beech forests rich with various species of wildlife, but also crossing small pastures.
Eventually you leave Ryssberget behind you, arriving at the well-equipped campsite at Östafors: a wind shelter, grill area, a supply of firewood, fresh water and toilets. The word “fors” in Swedish means rapids, and true to its name, the Holjeån River divides near the campsite forming two natural waterfalls roughly 100 metres apart and with a total drop of about 10 metres. Birdwatchers should keep an eye out for grey wagtails and kingfishers. The rare royal fern (Osmunda regalis) grows here as well.
Just east of Östafors Campsite, you can find a stretch of cycling trail – the Banvallleden Trail. Originally, a railway between Sölvesborg and Älmhult ran here, used mainly for transporting the granite mined at the quarry in the village of Örkened. The area around the rapids at Östafors was quite an industrial complex once upon a time with a sawmill, blacksmith, several flour mills, a power station and a nail factory. This came to an end in the late 1960s and most of the factory buildings were demolished. The dam of the old power station was removed in 2007, so fish could once again swim upriver.
Skåneleden Trail hikers are not the first people to spend time here. The area around the Holjeån River was settled around 5,000 years ago, and numerous remains of ancient settlements and tombs have been uncovered in the surrounding area.
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