10 Lövestads åsar - Vitabäck
Degree of difficulty
Small roads carry you along the ridges and down in the basins of a unique system of eskers, through the open rural landscape and woodlands of central southeast Skåne. You pass a couple of stones infused with local folklore, a Dutch-style windmill, and at the end, a lush valley known for its rich wildlife, especially birds of prey.
Your walk begins at the campsite in one of the basins of Lövestads Åsar. These eskers are unique in Skåne as they consist of a network of alternating basins and ridges in the south, and a single esker to the north. Lövestads Åsar are the result of extensive glacial melt at the end of the last ice age some 15,000 years ago, when melt waters forced their way through tunnels, depositing mainly gravel and stones in long ribbons. You wander along and over the eskers, through beech woodlands teeming with life and down into the moister basins where other types of deciduous trees thrive. To the west, there are grazing pastures with early-purple orchids, common milkwort, and pasqueflower.
Small roads bring you to the slopes of the Fyledalen Valley Nature Reserve. A completely different world waits below and this valley has been chosen as one of the top ten most important natural environments in Sweden by the Nordic Council. The steep slopes are covered in deciduous woodland and grazed pastures, but because it is so deep, there is a special climate at the bottom which benefits many species: frogs, reptiles, common and unusual birds, and red deer abound. All of Sweden’s bat species have been observed here, and birds of prey can almost always be spotted circling above. The closer you get to the bottom of the valley, the richer the flora becomes. There is a fen here with bird's eye primrose and western marsh orchid and round the campsite at Vitabäck there are many springs, some so powerful that the water gushes up a couple of metres into the air. Vitabäckskällan Spring is one of the quieter ones.
The ridges and basins of Lövestads Åsar were once common grazing lands for the villagers, but they have always been a popular place for walking. Massastenen – The Massa Stone – is located just southeast of the campsite. The stone was ordered by the local vicar Gussenius, known for his extravagant lifestyle and for his fondness for alcohol. One day he invited the high sheriff and other municipals clerks to join him on a walk, where he had hidden a keg of aquavit, which in Latin means water of life, but which is actually potato vodka. He struck the ground with his staff and magically produced the keg of spirits. The entire incident was a play on a couple of versus from the Bible (Exodus 17, verses 5-7) where Moses strikes a rock with his staff in front of the tribal elders and water flows for the thirsty Israelites to drink. Moses names the place Massah, and the memorial stone inscription is a reference to this place.
Not far from the campsite and east of the trail you see Kullamöllan Mill, a Dutch-style windmill, the upper part of which can be tilted to angle the sails to take best advantage of wind. Why not book a guided tour?
Next to the trail, along the abandoned road on top of a ridge, you find Broåsastenen, locally referred to as Broås käring -– The Old Woman of Broå. With a little imagination, the stone resembles an old woman wearing a scarf. Legend has it, that this stone woman turns around whenever she smells newly-baked bread. A few kilometres southwest there is a milestone from 1728. Part of the old road system, it indicates that the distance to the nearest inn is one Swedish mile (approximately 10 kilometres). Once upon a time, the Vitabäckskällan Spring at the campsite was a place for healing and washing. It is most known as a meeting place for the peasant uprising against the Archbishop Absalon in 1182.
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