The village also contains the Älvhytteängen nature reserve, a hay meadow with rich flora. The meadow is cut every year by local residents, commissioned by the County Administrative Board. The grass is removed to prevent nitrogen-loving species such as rosebay willowherb, raspberry and the common nettle taking over the meadow. Hay making and grazing are vital to preserving the diversity of species.
A belt of limestone begins in the Älvhytte area and extends north-eastwards to Stråssa. The calcareous rock means that the soil has rich lime content. The Älvhytte meadow is also very damp.
Much of the Älvhytte meadow is a wooded meadow from which hay is cut. Most of the trees are birches but the lime-rich soil has promoted broadleaves such as ash, elm and maple. The soil, the dampness of the ground, and the land use promotes a diversity of species. The magnificent lady’s slipper grows here, as well as the beautifully-scented fragrant orchid. Cowslips and the headily-scented lily-of-the-valley are found in large numbers. The lime-loving birds-eye primrose has one of its biggest habitats in the county here.
Marsh fratillery butterfly
Bush species such as honeyberry and mezereum thrive on the meadow. During the summer, many other species are in bloom, such as the fragrant orchid and heath spotted orchid, marsh helleborine and common twayblade. Viper’s grass, common milkwort and globeflowers are abundant due to the harvesting and grazing of the meadow. This area marks the geographical boundary between species with southerly and northerly distributions, including the rare flea sedge and bird’s-foot sedge. If you’re lucky you may see the rare marsh fratillery butterfly on Älvhytte meadow. This butterfly requires a moist habitat with devil’s-bit scabious where it can lay its eggs.
How to get there
There is a sign on road 243 between Nora and Karlskoga. There are marked paths in the area, and picnic spots and toilets in the car park.
In the nature reserve, you are not permitted to:
- have dogs unleashed
- light fires
- drive motor vehicles, ride horses or cycle anywhere other than on the through road to Övre Älvhyttan
- park anywhere other than the designated car park
- remove branches, cut down or damage in any other way living or dead trees and bushes
- pick, dig up or damage in any other way flowers or other plants introduce exotic plant and animal species
- camp or park caravans
- set up orienteering control points or mark trails with paper strips
- set up notice boards, placards, posters, inscriptions or similar