Åsens Utmark Nature Reserve
Åsens Utmark Nature Reserve is beautifully situated next to Lake Ruppen, just on the outskirts of the culture reserve. People from the nearby village of Åsens By would gather firewood and let their animals graze here. The land has since regrown into a mixed forest where several rare plant and animal species can be found.
About Åsens Utmark
The village inhabitants used the outlying land around Åsen as pasture. They could also gather firewood and timber from the forest. Small patches of field were found in the area, and the wide crowns of some of the trees here are evidence that the environment was once more open than it is today. In the past, the land was sparsely wooded, mainly with pine, but there would also have been spruce, aspen, birch, rowan, juniper, hazel and willow trees here. A map from the 1950s shows the forest beginning to close in as land use changed.
Since 2017, part of the outlying land around Åsen has been protected as a nature reserve to preserve biodiversity, linked to a mixed forest with a long tradition of old pine, aspen, alder, spruce, birch and willow trees, and for visitors to stay and enjoy the forest.
Flora and fauna
Some of the pines in the area are close to 200 years old but most are about 140 and inside the forest there several tits can be found such as Crested Tit, Willow Tit and Coal Tit. The Winter Wren sings among the trees and both Common Crossbill and Parrot Crossbill thrive in the old forest. The lime-rich nature of the soil is reflected in the vegetation, which includes blue anemones. The young forest is grazed by moose and deer and wild boar also occur in the area. Along the Ruppen’s shoreline Black-throated Diver, Whooper Swan, Common Crane, Common Tern, Common Goldeneye nest and Osprey, Eurasian Hobby and Western Marsh Harrier are often seen in their hunt for food.
Utmarksleden trail connects Åsens By Culture Reserve to its outlying land, and Naturskogsleden trail (1.3 km) runs through the nature reserve.
The right of public access does not apply fully in the nature reserve. In Åsens Utmark Nature Reserve it is not permitted to:
- destroy or damage fixed natural features, lying or standing dead trees or bushes, or parts of dead trees or bushes
- collect mosses, lichens or wood fungi
- start fires outside of the designated barbecue areas
- ride on the marked trails
- collect insects using killing traps