7 Vantalängan - Verkasjön
Degree of difficulty
In central southeast Skåne, a small path takes you up and down steep slopes, through lush forest and dry heathland. The Verkeån River is never far, and the sound of its flowing waters are your constant companion. There’s both history and fossils in the geology. This section of Österlenleden Trail is also part of a 37-kilometre circular trail.
Your hike begins at Vantalängan campsite, located in a glade surrounded by woodland and water. Just across the creek, the Lindskogen forest, with almost every type of deciduous tree found in Sweden, is waiting for you. But as the name suggests, linden trees dominate, and when they bloom in July, bees come in droves to collect pollen, so much so that you can hear their humming all around you. Lindskogen is a key woodland habitat.
The trail follows the Verkeån River, through a deep valley with beech on the slopes and the perennial butterbur along the river banks. In the river are trout, and unusual small animals, as well as white-throated dippers, grey wagtails and kingfishers, liver here too. At Hallamölla, you find Sweden’s highest waterfall with a 23-metre drop.
After following the winding path along the bottom of the valley, the trail starts to climb. Dry pastures gradually replace the lush deciduous forest, and you can take in a view over the river valley. Near the end of the trail at the alum works, 500-million-year-old shale is exposed along with many fossils, especially trilobites. At that time, Skåne was a sea, and these pea-sized marine arthropods with their hard exoskeleton dominated the seabed until they went extinct around 240 million years ago. Every centimetre of shale represents approximately 2,000 years.
The Hallamölla Waterfall on the Verkeån River has been harnessed for power for hundreds of years. The first mention of the Hallamölla Mill that lends the waterfall its name, is from 1491, and it was used to grind grain up until 1949. The mill itself is an old half-timbered building with a thatched roof, typical for Skåne and very well-preserved.
On the grazed hill to the northeast of the alum works, was a court house with a flogging post and prison cells. The most common crime was wood poaching from within the 20-kilometre radius where the factory owner had exclusive rights. But more serious crimes were also dealt with, and execution by beheading was carried out here.
The alum works at Andrarum was once the largest industry in Skåne, and in the mid-1700s, some 900 people lived here. At the time, the ground was bare and the air would have been filled with thick, yellow smoke. The trail takes you past factory-related buildings such as the stables, a hospital, the remains of the boiler house, storage barn and red slag heaps. The story of the alum factory and Christinehof began in 1635 when Jochum Beck dreamt about a buried treasure. The next morning he found the black shale, and subsequently laid the foundations for the factory. But its truly prosperous period began under the ownership of Christina Piper, and construction of Christinehof Castle began in 1737. Today the castle estate is an ecopark.
The campsite at Verkasjön Lake has a wind shelter and the lake is a popular sports fishing destination. Don’t forget to pick up a fishing license from the automatic dispenser in the parking lot of Christinehof Castle.
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