Söderåsen National Park is located in southern Skåne and according to the parks website is a horst which was formed approximately 150 million years ago and has experienced four ice ages resulting in deep valleys, scree slopes along and idyllic lakes such as Odensjö lake, near Röstånga. This popular area, has many hiking trails as well as picnic facilities and a number of camping areas, winter is the quieter time of the year to visit the park (if there is no snow). A map of the trails can be found here. So my plan was to use a Friday to pass though the park when there are few people around. The main through hiking trail is the Ås till Åsleden which is also known as the Ridge to Ridge trail, part of which I hiked about year ago.
I commenced from the bus station at Röstånga which is a small township on the east of Söderåsen National Park, within 5 minutes of leaving the bus I was walking past the closed visitors centre into the forest, it was a grey misty day with low cloud and the occasional drops of rain. The trail begins with a climb providing views of Odensjö lake, as well as the surrounding hills. After passing the lake, the trail wanders through the forest before arriving at Dahlbergs cabin where accommodation is free.
After a short break I continued along the trail before descending steeply to Skäralid, the location of the Skäralid Naturum (in Swedish) which is located adjacent to Skärdammen there is also a restaurant which is closed during the winter.
After lunch beside the lake I climbed to the plateau about 90 metres above the lake and then to Kopparhattan (Copper Hat) which provides wonderful views up and down the valley.
The weather was cool and breezy so I did not stay long before descending once again into the valley, then climbing up the other side to Liagården where there is a large rest stuga as well as a wind shelter and a large camping area.
After leaving Liagården the trail again descends to the river valley and then follows the valley on what can be best described as a slippery rocky path that ensure your focus is on every step, ultimately the path turns and then climbs along the side of the waterfall out of the valley, once again in these damp conditions it was wet slippery and a lot of care was required to ensure that you exit at the other end in one piece. Having climbed out of the valley for the last time the trail remained close to the stream as it wanders through the forest before exiting the national park. I was appreciating the solitude of the forest and then suddenly I met a couple out walking their dog, which was a quick reminder that civilisation was not far away, a theme that I would continually encounter in the coming days. Soon after I was at Svartesjö, camp for the night. The lake is described as being "a natural spring lake surrounded by a quagmire." it is this quagmire that you need to walk through to get water. The area was quiet apart from the sound of the occasional gun shot from hunters, and later in the evening, owls. The camping area is large with many flat spots as well as a wind shelter, it was evident that in warmer weather this would be a popular campsite but for tonight I had it to myself. I set up camp in the murky light and quickly cooked dinner, it was not long before I was in bed and listening to the Outdoors Station podcasts as well as the rain falling the Duo Mid.
I awoke in the morning to a grey dull sky, but no rain, after breakfast I was packing and then noticed a lady heading to wards the camp with dogs in tow, again highlighting that whilst I felt I was a long way from anywhere, in reality I was very close to houses. Firstly the trail took me south , then west and finally north allowing me to explore the different type of forests and vegetation, the climbs and the descents were never challenging and as a consequence allowed me the opportunity to enjoy the experience. Ultimately I came to a large lake which feeds the Dejebäcken, the lake provided an idyllic rest spot as well there were many places to pitch a tent (maybe next time).
The trail continued to wander through the forests with its autumn tones interspersed with pine forest, whilst it was still misty the temperature was mild and walking was pleasant. I was pleased that I was able to remove the arms and hood from the Paramo Third Element the remaining gilet combined with my smartwool hoody ensured I was never over heating, nor was I cold. Ultimately I reached the Klåveröd recreation area, described as being the "a little piece of wilderness in the middle of Skåne with impressive valleys and extensive spruce woodlands, footpaths, picnic places with barbeques and a pond. In the Country Park there is Traneröd bog, the only raised bog in Skåne where cloudberry grows" It was a pleasant walking experience and the stone formations as well as the wetland views combined with improving weather made this section one of the highlights of the trip.
After passing through Klåveröd and entering the gorge area of Klövahallar I was reminded once again of the popularity of the area with two groups of scouts who were heading towards campsite at Krig Skog, I was intrigued by one group who were equipped with the usual heavy scout gear as well as wearing climbing harness, they jingled and jangled as they walked. After the trip along the rim of the gorge the trail then descended to the river at Svenstorp before climbing gradually on the other side. It was getting late in the afternoon and I had intended to walk another 6 kilometres, but I also felt walking the dark was not an option and I started looking for a campsite as the sun quickly dipped below the surrounding hills. After rejecting one area I passed a small stream and then found a nice grassy spot which was to be home for the night.
I awoke to a cool misty morning pleased that the condensation in the DuoMid had dissipated during the night. As I was sitting and drinking coffee I was pleasantly surprised to see a herd of about 12 deer including 4 young stags heading through the forest away from the valley, one stag even came with about 10 metres of my campsite before trotting off. I was soon packed and headed along the trail which initially took me along minor roads before returning to the forest. Before arriving at Hålebäck shelter I came across smaller herd of deer (no stags) munching at the beets left out by the hunters to attract deer and wild pigs (one of which was grunting nearby). Hålebäck shelter has a wonderful outlook over a small dam and there are many campsites located nearby, once a gain an indicator of the popularity of this area. It was a pleasure though to be able to sit, sheltered from the breeze and just admire the forest without the sounds of cars whizzing along some nearby highway.
Soon it was time to continue, the trail passes through a large water storage area including passing Magleby Karr ( large water area) which provided a welcome change from the pine forests, finally you enter the manicured and well lit trails of Skyttaböket, from here it is descent to Tingvalla near Åstorp and the end of the trail. It had been a very enjoyable trip and one I intend to repeat, ideally in sunnier weather.
Until next time ...