How do I get there? Pictures Description

The multifaceted archipelago outside Björkö covers everything from wooded inner archipelago bays and pools to barren vegetation-poor outer skerries. Rounded hummocky moraines and washboard-like De Geer moraines give the landscape its personality. On some of the islands and islets traditional sheep grazing, once common throughout the archipelago, can still be found. The Björkö-Panike trail offers a great way to familiarise yourself with the area's nature.

Pohjakartta © Maanmittauslaitos lupanro 172/MYY/02

Björkö archipelago

Björkö archipelago is located at the narrowest point of the Kvarken region, which is why this area has played an important role in transports. In the old days, Björkö residents were often engaged to deliver people and the mail between Sweden and Finland. The biggest islands - Lappören, Slåttskär and Rönnskär - have been important for the villagers as haying fields and pastures, as well as for wood, fishing and hunting. Plenty of traces of human activity can still be found: remains of old barns, fences and fishing cottages. Sheep still graze in summer on Slåttskär and on Långgrund on the island of Björkö itself.

The traditional customs have also left their mark. On the large islands expansive sparse birch forests have retained their open structure thanks to grazing and thinning. Where animals no longer graze, the spruce tree has rapidly spread in among the birch trees and transformed the light open pastures into mixed forest. These have later transformed into dark spruce forest.

The birch forests have an abundance of windfall and hollow trees, which makes them valuable for the many plant and animal species that need dead or rotting wood. Many unusual mushrooms can be found here, as well as insects and birds, including the white-backed woodpecker, which is an endangered species in Finland because of the lack of appropriate feeding and nesting sites.

The small-scale varied topography also creates an abundance of wetlands of various types: "flador" (pools connected to the sea) and "glosjöar" (tidepools that only have water in them when the sea washes in), which are inlets in different stages of being cut off from the sea, as well as marshes, mires and bogs. In contrast, here and there are tall barren cairns and brush-covered heaths. The white-tailed eagle breeds in the area and is often seen circling over islands, sometimes several together.

Photo: Arto Hämäläinen
Photo: Lise-Lotte Molander
Photo: Lise-Lotte Molander
De Geer moraines, also called end moraines, at Svedjehamn
Along the hiking trail are signs describing the nature and culture of the area
The suspension bridge, the rocky terrain and the length of the trail place certain demands on the hiker
     
Photo: Lise-Lotte Molander
Photo: Eero Murtomäki
Photo: Jouko Riipinen
Sheep graze on many islands and islets during the summer months
The sea buckthorn thrives on sunny exposed beaches. The acidic orange berries are extremely rich in vitamin C
The small-scale moraine landscape and land uplift result in a series of lakes in different stages of being cut off from the sea. This representative series of pools and tidepools can be found on Lappören

How do I get there

The best way to learn about the area is through the hiking trail which has trailheads at either end in Svedjehamn in Björköby and in Panike. It is 12 kilometres long and boat transportation is needed to walk its entire length. For a shorter hike that doen't need a boat, the recommended stretch is Svedjehamn-Långgrund, which is 4 kilometres one way.

Services

Svedjehamn has a parking area and toilet facilities. Boat transportation and a box lunch for the hike can be purchased at Café Salteriet in Svedjehamn.
Kvicksund has simple overnight accommodations (Reservations via Metsähallitus, Terranova tel. no. 0205 64 5281).
The closest stores are in Björköby and Replot.

Pointers

Cruises, fishing trips and seal safaris can be arranged by several local firms (read more under Boat Ride and Nature Guides).

Links

Korsholm municipality http://www.korsholm.fi/en/default.aspx
Kvicksund http://www.utinaturen.fi/page.asp?Section=2935&Item=5663 (in Swedish)


Texts: Anders Enetjärn, Lise-Lotte Molander.
Translation: Accent Språkservice AB.
Layout & illustrations: Päivi Anttila.
Webbdesign: Fredrik Smeds, Freddi Com Oy Ab.
for maintenance & updates contact: [email protected]