11 Vitabäck - Snogeholm
Degree of difficulty
Small roads and footpaths guide you through the lush, flat bottom of the Fyledalen Valley, and then onward to the lake kingdom of Snogeholm nestled along the southeast side of the Romeleåsen Ridge. Both ends of this trail are a bird-watcher’s paradise. Or perhaps you’d prefer a little sports fishing or some quiet paddling?
The starting point for this stretch of trail is the Fyledalen Valley Nature Reserve, chosen by the Nordic Council as one of the top ten most important natural environments in Sweden. Because it is so deep, there is a special climate at the bottom which benefits many species. The trees have been able to attain great age, frogs and reptiles thrive, there are many common and unusual birds, all of Sweden’s bat species have been observed here, red deer abound, and the area is considered one of northern Europe’s best places for winter viewing of eagles. There are several springs along the slopes, some of which are powerful enough to send water gushing a couple of metres into the air.
Fyledalen is complicated geologically. Movements in the earth’s crush have skewed ancient layers of sand, coal and clay so much so that they stand vertically and near the surface. The steep slopes and the flat valley bottom were carved out by glacial melt some 15,000 years ago. At Eriksdal, you pass a quarry with quartz lying loose just as it did some 200 million years ago. Just east of the quarry is Kurremölla, which became a geological sensation in the 1800s. Coal with fossils of leaves, cones and nuts from ginko trees were found here.
Woodland tracks lead you through deciduous woodlands to the Snogeholm Recreation Area with a mix of forest, grazed pastures and ponds teeming with life. Along the shore of Snogeholm Lake you find ancient oaks, dubbed Evighetsträden – The Eternal Trees. The oaks are protected and provide homes for rare species of beetles, and the bats who love to eat them. Even the stag beetle – Europe’s largest at 5 centimetres or larger – can be found here. In the surrounding ponds, you find common tree frogs and the chances of spotting deer are high. For the best bird-watching go to the Navröd Nature Reserve, just south of Sövdesjön Lake. In addition to different species of wild geese, you can often spot large birds of prey such as the white-tailed eagle (also known as a sea eagle), and the golden eagle.
Once upon a time, the quiet waters of Vitabäckskällan Spring were a place for healing and washing. The spring is best known for the role it played as a meeting place for the peasant uprising against the Archbishop Absalon in 1182. Absalon was the greatest builder of fortresses for that time period, but he was also a merciless collector of taxes. Hence his unpopularity.
Snogeholm Castle is young – built in the 1870s. But from there you can see the island of Hägerholmen where a medieval fortress was situated, owned by Archbishop Absalon and later the knight Krognos. Snogeholm slowly evolved into an estate with its own little community, including housing for estate workers, a blacksmith and brick works. The large deciduous woodlands, grazed pastures, tree-lined roads and ancient oaks are all remains of the estate.
In nearby Bare, you find Möllefoten, the estate windmill. And to the south is Kejsardammen – The Emperor’s Pond – and memorial stones raised to commemorate German Kaiser Wilhem II’s hunting trip to Snogeholm in 1899. Then, just as now, there were plenty of deer in the area.
Along the section
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