The local rock is red gneiss, one of the most common ancient rock types. Incorporated in the gneiss is iron ore, hence the many former mines in the area. In the winter, the iron ore was transported to the ironworks at Å in Skogaholm.
The partly south-facing slopes with their varying nutrient-rich soil and the moist valley floors promote a rich flora. The coniferous forest also contains birch, aspen, hazel, guelder rose, fly honeysuckle and mezereum. Herb species include many species whose main distribution is further south in the country. On the landslip areas and cliff ledges, southerly species grow, such as bloody cranesbill, sheep’s bit, black pea, narrow-leaved everlasting pea and copse bindweed. On the damper valley floors, sanicle, alternate-leaved golden saxifrage, common butterwort and Alpine enchanter’s nightshade thrive. Arnica and globeflower grow in the fields around Skåle Farm. In the Skålesänkan hollow, the birch field at the foot of Skåle hill is particularly interesting, containing plants such as arnica with its large yellow flowers.
Much to discover
Many species of moss with northerly and westerly distribution thrive in the damp conditions in the fault valleys. Even the rare short-horned grasshopper has been found in Skåle, but it is uncertain whether it still survives today. It is one of Sweden’s largest grasshoppers. The males fly with a drumming sound, and have red wings. They should thrive in the warmth of the sun against the slopes, at the edge of the pastureland. Keep an eye open for the short-horned grasshopper and inform the County Administrative Board if you see it! On mild spring evenings, the nightjar’s cry like a two-speed sewing machine can be heard over the pine heath on the hill.
Skåle Farm was a working farm into the 1960s. Some parts were soon planted with forest but by the time the area became a nature reserve, the remaining farmland had reverted to pasture. In recent years, spruce has been extracted from the plantations down towards the lake and the area has become pastureland. The farm has regained much of its open landscape. The farm is private land and is owned by Sveaskog AB. Skåle has good facilities for visitors. There are several paths, the longest being approximately five km. There are a number of car parks,toilets, barbecues, bathing sites and wind shelters.
When the ice sheet melted around 10,000 years ago, the land surface was pressed under the Yoldia Sea, which later became the Baltic Sea. Since then the land surface has risen approximately 140 metres. The beach formations that were created by the waves of the Yoldia Sea are now this height above the sea and 40 metres above Lake Tisaren. These formations can be seen most clearly on the northern slope of Skåle hill, where they appear as broad, treeless embankments of stone, cobblefields.
All finer-grained material was washed out to sea – gravel was deposited further down the slope and sand was deposited on the beaches of Lake Tisaren and Lake Åfjärden. The most impressive sand deposits are at Sandviken. At Jättaberget, west of the nature reserve, there is one of Närke’s most remarkable ancient forts, built during the Younger Iron Age (400–050 A.D.).
How to get there
The nature reserve lies approximately 10 km southeast of Hallsberg and 10 km west of Svennevad. From road 51 in Svennevad, turn off towards Skogaholm. After Skogaholm, follow signs to the nature reserve. Skåle can also be reached from Hallsberg and Pålsboda.
In the nature reserve, you are not permitted to:
- damage ground or vegetation, for example by digging up or picking flowers
- drive cars, motorcycles or mopeds anywhere, except on the major through road and into the two car parks park
- camp and light fires except where designated
- disturb other visitors with radios, stereo systems or similar