Lekeberga-Sälven has been used for hay making and pasture for many centuries. When the area was declared a nature reserve in 1974, it had been uncultivated for 30 years and was very overgrown.
Today, the area is once again grazed and is beautiful all year round. Descending into the ravine is like entering another world. The only thing that can be seen above is the sky, and everyday noise and sounds do not reach the floor of the ravine.
The flat land below the Kilsbergen hill is made up of fine-grained sedimentary rock, formed in an inlet of the sea that covered the Närke plain until 6,000 years ago. The two rivers, Garphytteån and Lekhytteån, have cut down into this sediment and formed deep ravines and meanders.
Embedded in the sediment is a ridge (an esker) through which the River Lekhytteån cuts. The erosive power of the water is constantly at work on the riverbanks, and there is evidence of this at many places in the nature reserve, including toppled trees and collapsed banks. Another example is the ox-bow lakes that are formed when the river cuts through the neck of a meander, creating a straighter course.
Former hay meadows
For many centuries, the ravine landscape was used for hay making and pasture. Some areas in the nature reserve are like groves, but the open pastureland with individual clumps of deciduous trees is more common. In some parts of the open pastureland, there are still plants that thrive as a result of hay making and pasture, including the pyramidal bugle, bitter-vetch and sweet vernal-grass.
Beavers and birds
The beaver has been found in the Lekeberga-Sälven area since the 1930s. Traces of beaver activity can be found everywhere in the nature reserve, for example on paths and fallen trees. Bird species that are characteristic around the river include the mallard, goldeneye, kingfisher, grey wagtail and, in the winter, the dipper.
Lekeberga-Sälven lies on the eastern edge of Lekebergslagen, a traditional ironworking area. An ironworks, Lekebruket, lay in the northwest part of the nature reserve, and was in operation for a short time in the 16th century. There is an information board where the path passes the ruins of the buildings. There are several marked paths in the nature reserve. In the very south, there is a shelter and a barbecue.
How to get there
The nature reserve lies approximately 6 km north of Fjugesta, beside Hidinge Church. From the E18 motorway between Örebro and Karlskoga, turn off towards Fjugesta and Lanna. Continue towards Lanna at the junction. After approximately 1.5 km, turn right towards Hidinge. There is a signpost to the nature reserve after approximately 2.5 km, beside Hidinge Church. The car park is situated 200 metres along this road.
In the nature reserve, you are not permitted to:
- have dogs unleashed or disturb grazing animals and other wildlife
- pick or dig up flowers, remove branches and damage living or dead trees
- ight fires anywhere other than in designated places
- camp or park caravans