8 Osby - Verum
Degree of difficulty
There was a time when life in Sweden was anything but secular, and along this stretch of trail there are plenty of physical and cultural reminders, for example “The Holy River” and “The Christ Stone”. You can also visit the ruins of a medieval church at Verum. All in a setting of ancient pastures, wetlands and forests.
Leaving Osby behind, you cross the Gullarp peat bog on a small dirt road built on an embankment lined with gnarly birch trees, hare's tail cotton grass and cloudberries. Continue along gravel roads over rolling hills and meadows, a river, and huge boulders left behind by retreating ice sheets 12,000 years ago. Slowly but surely, the forest takes over.
A paved road carries you across the Helge Å River, and the meadows of Hörlinge open up before you. These meadows have been grazed for centuries and are a rich habitat for plants and birds. There is a viewing platform and outdoor museum here, and in the summer, the Vieåleden Trail and the nature you find there is worth a detour.
At the western end of the trail you follow footpaths, mainly through spruce plantations. At Horsaskog, you pass the occasional pasture until you approach the village of Verum, where the landscape opens. At Verum, take in the beautiful view over the Vieån River. The river is narrow and its natural course meanders through valuable wet meadows, where trees line the banks providing shade. At Mölleröd, the rapids and small waterfalls liven things up. Fish and mussels thrive here, and grey wagtails nest along the banks amongst the unusual and varied flora which also flourishes here.
At the Gullarp peat bog, you can see the pits and cuts along the road banks where peat was extracted for fuel in the 1940s.
Several of the large boulders in the area have been used as boundary markers and are incorporated into fences. Some have names, such as Kristusstenen – “The Christ Stone”. According to legend, a pagan Viking chief was struck by a fatal bolt of lightning, which also split the boulder. Look down into the cleft, and notice how the inside of the rock is shaped like a Jesus figure on a crucifix, hence the name Kristusstenen.
East of the Helge Å River, or “Holy River”, you can find earthworks, probably the remains of a fortification built during the war between Sweden and Denmark over Skåne in 1675-79. There is an abundance of tar kilns scattered throughout the area, and you can see a very good example of one at the Hästberga power station. Pinewood was burned in these kilns, and the tar settled to the bottom. The process could take several days and needed constant monitoring.
Be sure and visit single-nave Verum Church, which dates to the 1200s. The church remained unchanged for centuries but there have been a couple of renovations since the 1800s. Many different people have worshipped here, from the pro-Danish partisans to Carl Linnaeus, known as the father of taxonomy. In 1971, Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus of the Swedish pop group ABBA married here.
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