The Björskogsnäs meadows have been used for hay making for many centuries. The meadows were harvested with a scythe in July, after which livestock was allowed in to graze.
The practice has stimulated a rich and special flora, with plants such as globeflower, field gentian and quaking grass. The flora is also characteristic of soils rich in lime. Many orchids thrive in such soils, and fragrant orchid and lady’s slipper can be found in the nature reserve. Lady’s slipper, more common here than anywhere else in the county, grows both in the forest and on the meadows. The forest on the peninsula has a more shade-tolerant, lime-loving flora, with interesting species such as spring pea, black pea and dark-red helleborine. The flowers are at their most profuse in the second week of June.
The limestone rock is what is left of an ancient mountain chain. Earlier, the lime was very important for the iron industry in the region, because it was used in the process to extract the metal from iron ore. In the eastern part of the nature reserve there is an old quarry and the remains of a lime kiln. Limestone is softer than other ancient rock types and the water has carved out exciting patterns in the cliffs on the peninsula. Lime-loving lichens of the Collema family, including Collema multipartitum, grow on the coastal rocks; these species are otherwise mainly found on the islands of Öland and Gotland.
The Björskogsnäs peninsula has been inhabited and farmed since the end of the 16th century, and was originally a Finnish pioneer settlement. At the start of the 19th century, all the land on the peninsula comprised village infields and was worked as farmland and meadows. As late as the beginning of the 20th century, the peninsula had no forest cover but, when hay making was abandoned, the meadows became overgrown with other vegetation and forest developed. Today, parts of the meadows are deciduous forest. Other parts have been restored and are managed as hay meadows in the traditional manner in order to preserve the diverse flora. Fields are grazed or cultivated as grassland – the modern form of hay making.
How to get there:
From Grythyttan, take road 205 towards Karlskoga. After 5 km, there is a sign in to the nature reserve. The car park is just before the level crossing. From there, the path into the nature reserve is about one kilometre, after which a circular path (1.3 km) starts. There are picnic tables, toilets, and a barbecue by the beach.
In the nature reserve, you are not permitted to:
- damage the ground surface
- have dogs unleashed
- pick flowers, dig up or damage in any other way herbs, mosses or lichens
- light fires
- drive motor vehicles
- set up notice boards, placards, posters, signs, inscriptions, or similar