The steps in the rock
In Skärmarbodabergen, there are many rift valleys and fault scarps. These were formed many millions of years ago, when parts of the earth’s crust shifted and cracked. Sometimes the ground sank on one side and rose up on the other, forming large steps.
Greetings from the ice age
The last ice age held Scandinavia in its grip for thousands of years. The ice and the ensuing melt water eroded the substratum, carving out new landforms. In Skärmarbodabergen you can see precipices ground by the ice, large free-standing glacial boulders and, in particular, impressive piles of rocks. All of this was created by the ice.
This was once open sea
When the inland ice slowly melted, there was open water as far as modern-day Russia. This has been called the Yoldia Sea, named after a small bivalve that lived on the seabed. Eleven thousand years ago, the whole of Skärmarbodabergen was under water. The sea level here was up to 170 metres above today’s level. Then the land rose up again from the sea, and just a few hundred years later the sea level had dropped so far that the shoreline lay here on the slopes of Skärmarbodabergen. The waves crashed against the shore, washing away the sand and gravel, and grinding the stones round. Clear shorelines of shingle can be seen all along the edge of the Kilsbergen mountain range.
When did you last see an ancient natural pine forest?
In Skärmarbodabergen you can see forests that look like the forests of the past. The trees grow and die, then fall and are broken down by insects and fungi. Many of the species that thrive here are no longer found in today’s well maintained, orderly forests. In particular, the course pines that stand slightly apart in sunny spots are a haven for a whole host of rare insects, fungi and birds. Here you can see – or hear – woodpeckers hammering away at the trunks of the trees. Or nightjars, which are hard to spot but can be recognised by their distinctive song. If you are still here when dusk starts to fall, you might hear the droning of the nightjar, which sounds like a distant motorbike.
Dead trees are swarming with life
On the highest peaks, only a few small – but often very old – twisted pines survive. Pine forests grow below the mountain areas, with trees up to 400 years old. Some parts look like a primeval forest. There are plenty of dead trees and branches, where insects and fungi live and break down the wood. The calitys scabra beetle could almost be mistaken for a piece of wood, and is usually found in old pine trunks in open, sunny positions. In order for the beetle to thrive, the wood must first be rotted by various fungi, such as ring scale fungus or the rarer pinky-orange salmon bracket.
Traces of mining
The rocky, inaccessible terrain has made forestry difficult here. The more easily accessible areas were worked hard up until a century or so ago. During the times of mining, the forest was an important resource here in Bergslagen. Huge quantities of charcoal were needed to melt the iron ore at the region’s foundries. The nearest foundry was in Skymhyttan, west of the nature reserve. Many crofters supported themselves by making charcoal in the forests of Bergslagen. Here in the nature reserve, the remains of many charcoal stacks can still be found to this day. The remains of charcoal burners’ huts can often be found next to the charcoal stacks, where the charcoal burners who watched over the stacks once lived
Enjoy the forest berries and edible mushrooms
Did you know that you are allowed to pick berries and edible mushrooms for your personal consumption in the reserve? But be careful: not all the berries are edible. The red may lily berries (ekorrbär), for example, are poisonous. Blueberries and crow berries are similar in appearance but the crow berries have less flavour and are drier than blueberries.
In total there are about 12 km of marked trails. The terrain is very hilly and hiking can be strenuous.
How to get there
The Skärmarbodabergen nature reserve is just to the west of arterial road 50, approximately 20 km north of Örebro. The main entrance is opposite the road service area in Skärmarboda (on the other side of road 50). It is easy to get to the reserve by bus as there are several bus stops in the vicinity.
Within the nature reserve, it is forbidden to:
- dig, hack, carve, paint or otherwise harm the surface of the earth or fixed natural objects,
- drive a motorised vehicle other than on public roads,
- cycle or ride a horse other than on public roads,
- cut down, remove or otherwise damage dead standing or fallen trees or bushes,
- otherwise damage vegetation, e.g. by digging up plants such as sprigs, grasses, roots, mosses or lichens.
Without the permission of the County Administrative Board, it is forbidden to:
- erect a permanent board, sign or notice, or mark out tracks,
- use the area for organised competitions, exercises, camps or similar,
- light a fire, other than in a designated place.
Notwithstanding the above regulations, you are permitted to:
- pick berries and edible mushrooms for domestic use.