In many parts of the area, the rock also forms prominent north-south, long, narrow ridges, often with a steep face towards the east. In other parts a chalk-rich moraine covers the area, with limestone blocks in some parts.
There are many special types of vegetation in the Näsmarkerna nature reserve, the most characteristic of which are pine forest on meadow, the vegetation on limestone rocks and cliffs and the Röjängen alkaline fen. Unlike normal pine forest, the partly-open forest on the meadow has ground vegetation rich in grasses and herbs. This is an unusual type of natural environment in Sweden, except on the island of Gotland where it is common. The rich flora contains many uncommon plants. There is a wide variety of orchids, including species such as dark-red helleborine, broad-leaved helleborine, fragrant orchid and common twayblade.
Most of the Näsmarkerna nature reserve was used for pasture in the past, and grazed very intensively from early spring onwards. The area was probably used for pasture and logging from the 14th century onwards, when there was an ironworks in Älvhyttan. The older coniferous forest that is dominant today is therefore the first generation of closed forest for many centuries. Since the summer of 2009 Näsmarkerna has once again been grazed by cattle in order to encourage the animal, fungus and plant species that thrive in sunny grazed forests.
Sunken below two ridges is a narrow fen, Röjängen, which is largely an extreme calcareous fen. The lime-rich soil promotes many rare plants, including sedges (fibrous tussock sedge, hair sedge and yellow sedge), and many orchids, such as early marsh orchid, narrow-leaved marsh orchid, marsh helleborine and Microstylis monophyllos. The rare fen puffball also occurs in the fen, together with several unusual mosses including slender green feather-moss.
Hay making was probably traditionally practised on Röjängen fen, and has been reintroduced as part of the management of the nature reserve. A limestone ridge runs between Röjängen and Älvlången with large blocks and bare rock surfaces. Ferns such as brittle bladder fern, wall rue and the rare, northerly species Alpine woodsia grow on the limestone blocks.
On the eastern side of Tullportaberget, a precipitous slope comprises a gentle landslip surface further down, and a steeper slope completely covered with large blocks. The rock here comprises both gneiss and limestone. The vegetation is rather like natural forest, including a number of rare and lime-loving plants. Baneberry, lesser butterfly orchid, ghost orchid and sweet-scented bedstraw hide in the shady, damp terrain. The moss flora in particular is in a class of its own, and has few equivalents in the country. One example is the species associated with limestone, Cirriphylum tommasinii.
Näsmarkerna has varied animal life, with elk, badger and the uncommon Northern birch mouse. Adders also thrive in the area. The rare red-breasted flycatcher has been heard immediately north of Röjängen, and other birds living in the area include the pigmy owl and the small but highly vocal wren.
How to get there
The nature reserve lies approximately 15 km southwest of Nora, close to road 243 between Gyttorp and Karlskoga. Signposted from the road.
In the nature reserve, you are not permitted to:
- damage ground or surface landforms, for example mineral deposits
- pick flowers or cause any other damage by picking or digging up herbs, mosses or lichens
- drive motor vehicles anywhere other than on access roads to the car parks
- park cars anywhere other than in the designated area
- camp and park caravans or trailers
- ride horses or have dogs unleashed
- light fires except where designated
- set up notice boards, placards, posters, signs, inscriptions or similar
- set up orienteering control points or mark trails with paper strips