The evening light smelled of distant lands and the low golden rays of the sun that streamed down from the hills made the windshield of the car glow. The first time I encountered Brösarp's slopes was through the car window, heading south on the crooked roads towards Skillinge. It was getting close to midnight and the air was hazy with insects and grass pollen. Somewhere I saw it through my tired eyes. That paradise view of Astrid Lindgren's Nangijala, with the endlessly green, lush hills. The only thing missing from the book were the blooming cherry trees, otherwise it was just as beautiful. Since that drive, I've wanted to go back to Brösarp's slopes and experience the rolling waves of the landscape from a closer distance. This year the opportunity came and it was a hike around the slopes of northern Brösarp. A hike through both beech forest, horse paddocks and steep hills.
Classic Österlen landscape
For many, Brösarp's slopes are the very image of Österlen. The mile-wide views in Verkeån nature reserve through Verkeån's narrow valley offers a completely different landscape from the rest of Scania. Maybe also the rest of Sweden. A toned transition from the deep forests of Småland to continental Europe. A rich area with milk, apples, cornfields and honey near the white sandy beaches of the Baltic Sea. It is no wonder that Österlen is often called "little Provence" and attracts artists from far and wide. There is something special about the light here. Something sheer, embracing and warming. If you have ever seen Prins Eugen's paintings from Brösarp's slopes, you will understand what I mean. That light.
The blue trail from Glimmeboda
We start our hike at Glimmebodagården, where it is possible to reach the blue trail around via a short detour of 200 meters Brösarp's northern slopes. The farm is a classic Scanian half-timbered farm with an enclosed courtyard and thatched roof, dating from the 17th century. A well-kept and beautiful farm with horses and home-ground flour that is worth a visit when you return from your excursion among the hills.
The blue trail is well marked from Glimmeboda, although the side road to the hiking trail itself is neither wide nor well maintained. The path is a little too narrow and the grass is a little too tall. We had time to wonder once or twice if we had come to the right place before we reached the blue trail. But once at the trail, there is no doubt that we have found the right place. The blue trail is wide, well maintained and well marked. We climb over the electric fence and decide to go clockwise.
The blue trail is a 5 kilometer long circular hiking trail, which will take us through beech forest, meadows, cow pastures, valleys and hills. Our clockwise walk begins through a beech forest. Norra Brösarp's slopes are considered by many to be the most majestic slopes. A little higher, a little wilder, a little cooler. So far we see none of this. Just forest.
Although the sun shines from an almost clear blue sky, it is cool and almost dark on the hiking trail. The beech forest embraces us with a thick blanket of rustling leaves. On the side of the road ripples a small stream. There are supposed to be kingfishers here in the nature reserve, but we can't see any colorful little fishers darting in the currents today.
We hike at the foot of Brösarp's slopes, next to the small stream and through and next to pastures with grazing cattle. I manage to come up with a plan of where to run if an angry bull happens to come, but we don't even see a cow in the distance.
The different landscape
Carl von Linné came to Skåne in 1746. Here at Brösarp's slopes, he found a landscape that he noted was different from the rest of the country. Suddenly the forest opens up in front of us and we understand what he means. Are we in Sweden, or are we in Italy? Slender junipers that look like cypresses stretch towards the sky and the conifers are easy to count.
Brösarp's slopes are shaped from sand and were formed when the ice sheet retreated from Skåne's east coast over 10 years ago. Here, the hills are drenched in flowers from early spring and grazing animals have wandered over the lush hills for centuries. We cross the meadow and try to avoid looking too much at the landscape to avoid being surprised by a cowhide under our shoes. Although it's almost worth a chance to enjoy the scenery a little extra.
Animals on the road
The meadow turns into a dirt road and we walk on towards the hills past a paddock with several horses. I go first. Suddenly it rattles at my feet. A black snake that has rested in the sun on the road slowly coils away half a meter in front of me. My first thought is a snake, but the fearless behavior, the broad head and the cat-like eyes speak for themselves. A black viper. I tend to always be careful when I walk abroad and always check where I put my feet. Especially in Australia and the USA. But here at home in Sweden, I forget about myself. I'm grateful that the snake went away, although it would have liked to have been allowed to wriggle away a little sooner. At Brösarp's slopes, I don't just have to check for snakes, but also snakes.
We leave the meadow and the horses. The path slowly ascends, with the hills on my right and the forest on my left. There are plenty of raspberries and blackberries growing by the side of the path, but also a lot of tall stinging nettles. I therefore do not stick my hand too voluntarily into the raspberry vine.
When we enter the forest again, the path is suddenly covered in dead beetles. The live beetles we see on the path are few. It's dung beetles. Those that I probably associate more with Africa than Scania. Several of the dung beetles here in the nature reserve, including heath dung beetle and hard dung beetle, are unusual and special sand piles have been created here along the hiking trail for them to enjoy a little extra. But what good is a pile of sand if the beetles like to hang out on the path and are neither fast nor afraid? Then they still get stepped on.
Up on the moors
After a few hundred meters of ascent, we now arrive at what we came here for. Brösarp's slopes. All the trees disappear with the snap of a finger and a moorland takes over. Suddenly there are also people everywhere. People sitting and eating picnic. A group of school children. A couple lying and sleeping in the grass. Everyone is here for one thing. The views. A large number of horses graze at the foot of the hills. It is the horses and cows that make this landscape what it is. Without the cattle, the hills today would probably have been forest.
It is said that on a clear day you can see all the way to Bornholm from the top of the northern Brösarp slopes. At least I can see all the way to the sea. Anyone who says that Skåne is flat has definitely not visited Brösarp's slopes.
The last part of the path over Brösarp's slopes descends very steeply for about 50 meters, but it is really the only part of the path that is a bit challenging. The rest of the trail is pure fun.
A short distance later we are back in the beech forest at the crossroads towards Glimmebodagården. The 5 kilometers just flew by. Simply a lovely hike in beautiful July sun. Now it's time for a coffee and a shrimp sandwich at the coffee house Alunbruket. But that is a completely different story.
How do I get to Brösarp's slopes?
Brösarp's slopes are located in the Verkeån nature reserve in eastern Scania, right in the middle between Kristianstad and Ystad. We parked the car at Glimmebodagården and then hiked the blue trail over northern Brösarp's slopes.
Map to Glimmebodagården (opens in Google maps)
Who can hike the blue trail?
In principle, anyone with good knees can hike the blue trail over Brösarp's northern hills. The very largest part of the hiking trail is on a smooth trail with a slight incline, but the last kullen requires you to be able to walk very steeply uphill (or steeply downhill) in sand for about 50 meters (uphill/downhill depending on whether you walk the trail clockwise or counterclockwise).
It is not possible to drive a pram along the trail, as it is very narrow in parts and there are many electric fences with narrow stairs that need to be climbed over.
You don't need any special equipment to visit Brösarp's northern slopes and you also don't need hiking boots, as the trail is neither uneven nor full of stones and roots.
The total length of the hike is 5,4 km from Glimmebodagården.
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