17 Hovs hallar- Torekov
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The dramatic coastline of the Bjärehalvön Peninsula tells many tales. Some are geological, told in the precipices and jagged outcrops. Other tales are younger – just prehistoric – and told by the Bronze Age graves and “elf mills”. The beauty and the sense of time is almost overwhelming.
Wander the coastline, following small paths through meadows, forests, and windswept bushes, and an abundance of rocky dramatic shores. At Hovs Hallar, the Hallandsåsen Ridge meets the sea. The rock consists predominately of reddish gneiss with amphibolite embedded in it, formed when magma forced its way up through the bedrock. But the ridge itself is a horst, the result of shifts in the bedrock along faults. Erosion from the Baltic has carved out sea stacks and caves and there is an abundance of seabirds.
Coastal meadows extend out to the west of Hovs Hallar. They have been grazed for centuries, and a very special flora and fauna has developed. An area of pebbles is actually the bank of the ancient Littorina Sea, a brackish precursor to the current Baltic. It’s named after the common periwinkle – Littorina littorea – which prevailed then.
At Sänkudde you pass Ilasjön Lake. There is a pool here which provides a unique environment for interesting plants, such as the carnivorous common butterwort, and on spring evenings you can hear the loud, distinct mating call of the natterjack toads.
North of the golf course rare sedges and flowers grow. This is the real high point of the Bjärehalvön Peninsula for those interested in botany.
From the heights of Hovs Hallar, you can look down to a broad area of pebbles called Smygeslätt. Notice the remains of posts from the old fishing village. West of the restaurant, you find large bounders with small, prehistoric bowl-like hollows chiselled in. These are referred to as “elf mills” in old Swedish folklore, which suggests that later inhabitants thought they were used by elves to grind flour. They represent the most common type of petroglyph and are found on all continents except Antarctica.
Ships often ran aground on the jagged seabed along the coast here. Local villagers pillaged what they could, including all the bolts, and left the rest for the sea. Later, auctions were held on the beach, and a salvage company was established at Segeltorpsstranden to meet demand. They towed the wrecks to Segeltorp and auctioned off the parts.
But new ships were also built, just south of Sänkudde between 1829 and 1848. The large boulders Stora and Lilla Ringasten where the boats were moored can still be seen jutting up from the water.
The villagers grazed their cattle, sheep and geese here and could collect as much seaweed as they wanted. They took it home and used it as fertiliser on the otherwise poor soil.
Just west of Sänkudde, the footpath soon leads you to Gröthögarna, a grave field with eight burial mounds, the largest of which is 2.5 metres high and 20 metres in diameter, dated to the Bronze Age. Each mound likely contained the remains of more than one individual, and it is easy to understand why this beautiful site on the shores of the Baltic was chosen as a final resting place for the departed.
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