At one time the deep, narrow rift valley was filled with the volcanic rock called diabase. Over the millennia, water and ice have eroded the diabase, leaving only steep cliffs of the more resistant rock.
By the northern lake, the rock is a very coarse-grained type called augen gneiss. Scratches in the rock (striations) were made by hard stones frozen into the bottom of the glacier, and they show the direction of movement of the glacier.
Rich and varied vegetation
A stroll round the Dovra lakes shows clearly how the vegetation differs between the higher ground and the valley floor. In the dry, infertile rocky area, pines have gained a foothold in narrow cracks in the rock, and heather, lingonberry, lichens and mosses thrive in this barren environment. The valley floor comprises what remains of the diabase rock, which is basic and supports completely different and richer vegetation. The lushest vegetation is found north and south of the lakes. Hepatica, touch-me-not balsam, narrow-leaved bitter-cress, spring pea, baneberry and wonder violet are some of the plants found here.
Follow the path to the ancient fort
From the car park, follow the orange-marked path for one kilometre until the path divides near the ruins of the ancient fort, where the remains of the fort wall can be seen. On the other side, the precipitous side of the rift valley formed a natural barrier against attackers. Continue past the fort to the nature reserve. An alternative route is to follow the path to the northern tip of the northern lake.
At the northernmost tip of the northern lake, an arch-shaped rock called Dovra Church is a remarkable landform created by freeze-thaw weathering. An area with cracked rocks like the Dovrasjödalen valley is an ideal point of attack for the action of water and ice. Water forces itself into cracks in the rock and expands when it freezes. This enlarges the cracks and eventually large blocks break off from the rock wall. When this happened in the valley is uncertain.
According to legend, it was the giant in Dovradalen who broke off the block to crush Viby church. The giant was irritated by the noise of the church bells and the new Christian doctrine, so tried to destroy the bells by throwing the block. The giant’s wife was called Dovra. She grieved at having such a ferocious husband, and her tears collected in the rift valley and formed the three lakes.
Walk around three lakes
You can walk round one, two or three lakes. The path around the northern lake is 2.3 km, round the northern and middle lakes is 4.0 km and round all three lakes is 6.5 km. The distance from the car park to the start of the walk at the northern lake is 1.5 km.
How to get there
There is a sign to the nature reserve in the centre of Östansjö. The road ends at car park at the nature reserve, where the path system starts. You can also reach the nature reserve from the south. From Åsbro, drive towards Karintorp. After approximately 3.5 km, turn left towards Dovra. After a further 1 km, turn right towards the nature reserve and park in the car park after approximately 1 km.
In the nature reserve, you are not permitted to:
- damage the ground surface
- have dogs unleashed
- disturb animals collect plants
- pick flowers, lichens or fungi, or damage vegetation in any other way. However, you may pick berries and edible fungi
- carve on dry trees or bark
- light fires except in designated barbecues and using designated wood
- drive vehicles, cycle or ride
- set up notice boards, placards, posters, signs or similar
- set up orienteering control points or mark trails with paper strips