Sunday, 8 September 2013

Virgin Forest Exploration

We are lucky living in Stockholm, as we are always close to nature...
... we are also a short drive from a Virgin Forest - which my children learned about yesterday as we visited Sweden's most southern virgin forest - a forest not interrupted by man - so the trees are allowed to fall and rot, nature's cycle is allowed to proceed. There are plenty of trails going through this forest - so it is hardly untouched by man... and when we visited this forest last time, when the girls were 3 years old it was clear we needed to stay on paths... this time it was clear that no-one seemed to bother about that anymore - and there were small obvious trails going off the main trails all the time. This made it difficult to explain to my children about one way to respect this forest was to stay on the trails... even harder when we could see families picnicking here and there off trail...

It did mean by the end of our walk we were not keeping exclusively to the path, but that we WERE treading with care and respect. Afterall my children are used to exploring the forest (as are probably most children in Stockholm) and keeping to the path was something rather strange and limiting...

BUT it is an interesting thought - how our human feet impact the nature around us, and how we should be behaving so that we can preserve the glory and diversity of nature at the same time as igniting the enthusiasm of young children in preserving nature through free and guided exploration...

exploring the rotting trees for bugs... we saw a few trees close to fallling and listened to the noise they made!

sometimes nature falls down on you - this fat caterpillar just about landed on me, so Michael rescued it, so that it was not in the middle of the path

the forest providing a blueberry treat!

and lingonberry treats

making music with grass

a bit of risk taking - "can I climb down the cliff face?"

fallen trees provide lots of exploration... ancient fairy writing? or insect trails?

and sometimes things look so incredibly wornderful that you HAVE to touch and feel... the desire to lie down in this moss made my children liken it to clouds...

and to my son's great joy - there were frogs and toads in the forest

sometimes a big open space just screams RUN - and you simply have to obey!

a beaver damm

swimming snake

there were LOTS of spiders and glittering spider webs in the forest... even though we had mosquito repellent with us the only use we had was to transport this spider so that we could all have a look - as the last part of our walk three of us power-walked and the other two took it easy (allowing them to discover more treasures)

climbing - every rock, every opportunity - it has to be climbed!

many areas of the walk are boarded to protect the forest floor, and also because many areas are mire and marshy - allowing us to see the diveristy of floor types in the forest... there were signs all through the walk so we could learn more about the forest and the animals living there (Tyrestö National Park)

and of course no trip to the forest would be complete without meeting a troll or some other magical creature of the forest!


  1. What a beautiful forest hike!

    It is so encouraging to hear that most children in Stockholm are used to exploring the forest. Sadly, I would say that is not the case in my area of Texas in the United States.

    Thank you for sharing at the Outdoor Play Party, and I hope you come back to share again.

  2. Fantastic post and what a beautiful place to live so close to! It does really make you think about our impact, like you say