Welcome to Högberget
Högberget is unique. A forest with the town centre just a stone’s throw away. It provides a wonderful natural environment with ample opportunities for recreation and exercise in various forms throughout every season.
The nature of Högberget is easily accessible by a diverse network of paths and trails where everyone will be able to find something of interest. If you want to take a picnic, or even just rest your legs, there are tables, benches and shelters at several locations, many of them with beautiful views.
The bedrock comprising Högberget formed around 1650-2000 million years ago. Geological processes over time have transformed the landform into the shape it appears today. The mineralogical composition and structure of the rock is of great importance to the character of the vegetation. The rock consists primarily of leptite with hints of comparatively younger green stone that helps the vegetation to thrive.
When the last ice age had retreated about 9,000 years ago, large parts of Sweden were under water. The shoreline that was the Yoldia Sea, when the water was at its highest, is called the “högsta kustlinjen” (the highest coastline). Högberget at this time was an island and traces of the coastline can be seen clearly in several places, especially on the southern side of Högberget. The island was about 50 meters high, and probably appeared similar to how the island Sollen looks today (Sollen is located about 3km northwest of Ludvika on Lake Väsman).
Previous Land Use
It has never been worth the trouble to try farming on Högberget’s thin and rocky soil. In the 1800s the land was split into two parcels, of which the southern part belonged to Östansbo farm. Östansbo farm was an agricultural property and probably used Högberget as pasture. The kilns which are still on Högberget, show that it was wooded there in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Farmers at that time got extra income by selling charcoal up to the mills.
Ludvika city acquired the northern half of Högberget in 1919 and the southern half was later acquired from Östansbo Farm in 1939.
When Ludvika expanded in the 1940s, buildings were constructed on the lower reaches of Högberget’s slopes. However, over the past fifty years, no additional disturbance has been made to the area and it has been protected as a valuable natural and recreational zone.
The care of the forest on Högberget over the last 50-70 years has been very limited. Today, the intent is to take advantage of Högberget’s natural and recreational values.
Underneath Högberget lies a large bunker system which was built in the late 1950s, during the height of the Cold War. The bunker houses a large self-sufficient civil defense facility, built on two levels. The idea was that the city council, together with the emergency services, would coordinate activities from the bunker during crisis and wartime. Today, the entrances are sealed and only the bats have access.
Nature on Högberget
Högberget reaches 244 meters above sea level, and is dominated by dense coniferous forest. In certain places where the sunlight can penetrate to the ground, the forest gives way to brush of bracken and grasses. There are a great variety of trees growing on Högberget and almost all of Sweden’s naturally occurring tree species can be found here.
The forests of Högberget are a part of the world’s largest ecosystem: the taiga, also known as the boreal forest. The taiga can be classified into several sub-types of forests, many of which are found on Högberget.
- Sydväxtberg - The steep south side of Högberget has the character of "sydväxtberg", a mountain side which is warm enough for plants that require a lot of heat from the sun to grow, such as the Norway maple and the Small-leaved Linden.
- Bergsbranterna – Mountain cliffs along Högbergets other sides are shady and host a completely different type of vegetation dominated by mosses and lichens.
- Hällmarkstallskog – Rising above the cliffs and slopes is a pine forest. Here are grand old pine trees with mosses and lichens on the forest floor.
- Rena lövskogar - Pure deciduous forests in an otherwise undisturbed forest environment are almost always the result of intense forest fire. The deciduous forest changes slowly to spruce forests if no new fires occur. The deciduous forest on Högberget is maintained so that the spruce tree is not allowed to take over.
- Kalkmarkskog - in some places the spruce forest grows alongside Liver Leaf (Anemone hepatica) which shows that there is kalkmarkskog which is one of the most species-rich forest types around Ludvika.
In the future there could be hardwood forests on Högberget as the climate gets warmer and warmer. Even now it is not uncommon to find maple and oak trees growing in some places.
The care of the forest in recent years has focused on selective felling and removing some fallen trees. Old fallen trees are vital for many of the forest ecosystems and therefore the municipality is working to keep a good balance of fallen wood in the forest.
Plants and Animals
It is possible to encounter both rare and peculiar plants and animals on Högberget
The old ski slope “Slalombacken” has been cleared of trees and has a “meadow-like” vegetation popular with butterflies. Several rare species can be seen, such as the “videfuks” (scare tortoiseshell, Nymphalis xanthomelas) and the “svävfluglik dagsvärmare” (narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth, Hemaris tityus). The lower part of the hill is a good place to watch or photograph them and there are also a small number of månlåsbräken (moonwart plant, Botrychium lunaria) fighting for survival.
The “knärot” (creeping lady's-tresses, Goodyera repens) is a threatened species of orchid and can only be found growing amongst the mosses of the old spruce forest. Another fine orchid is the “skogsknipprot” (broad-leaved helleborine, Epipactis helleborine ) which can usually be found growing on the slopes above Vidablicksvägen.
It is common knowledge amongst locals that many edible mushrooms grow in the forests in autumn, but there are several varieties that are less well known. The large and stately “blomkålssvamp” (cauliflower mushroom, Sparassis crispa) grows on some pine trees, however it should not be picked because it is becoming increasingly rare to find. On the occasional pine tree, “tallticka” (bracket fungus, Porodaedalea pini) can be seen. It usually only grows on pine trees that are over 150 years old.
There is a really nice diversity of bird species on Högberget. If you go out early on a spring morning when the traffic is quiet, you can hear the melodic song of the “trastar” (thrush, Turdidae), the occasional drumming of a “hackspett” (woodpecker, Picidae), the cooing of the “duvor” (dove, Columbidae) and the chirping of the “mesar” (tit, Paridae).
If you take a walk along “Ravinstigen”, which is one of the marked nature trails, you will see a fine example of unspoiled nature and many interesting plants. It is almost like a grove, where “svart trolldruva” (black baneberry, Actaea spicata) and “stinksyska” (hedge woundwort, Stachys sylvatica) thrive in this environment. Growing on the cliffs along Ravinstigen you can find “svartbräken” (maidenhair spleenwort, Asplenium trichomanes) a beautiful type of fern.
Lookouts of yesteryear and today
Högberget is located in the middle of Ludvika and is clearly visible from all directions. However, there is no view from the very top of Högberget because it is so heavily forested. This was not always the case though, in the 1930’s a tower was constructed at the top of Högberget. It proved to be a popular visitor attraction and eventually a café was built there along with a storage shed. The tower was demolished in the early 1970’s as it was becoming unsafe to go up.
Even though the tower doesn’t exist anymore, you can still enjoy some of the views that Högberget has to offer from the vantage points which are marked on the map.
Sport and Recreation
Sports have a long history on Högberget. A ski jump was built around the early 1900’s where the old ski slope “Slalombacken” is today. Interest in downhill skiing grew in the 1960’s and the ski jump was demolished in favour of a downhill ski slope with lights and a lift. When larger ski slopes were established in the region, fewer and fewer people made use of the Högberget slope and the lift was eventually removed.
The “Eljusspår” is an illuminated track on Högberget that was opened in the early 1960’s. In the autumns, the “Högbergetrundan” trail running race was organised and attracted many elite runners, for example Finnish world champion Lasse Wirén. Ludvika’s sports club (LFFI) organised ski competitions on Högberget and up to 10 000 spectators watched the race when famous skiers participated. In March 1978, future Olympic and World champion Gunde Svan entered the race, age 16, and no one had a chance against him.
Joining to the north of Högberget is the sports ground “Skogsplan” and the VBU high school. This makes it easy to combine exercise on the grass or running track with the terrain training opportunities up on Högberget. VBU has introduced the “hälsospår” where you can test your fitness level by monitoring the time it takes to follow a certain loop on Högberget’s “elljusspår”. Ludvika’s orienteering club have also created a detailed orienteering map of Högberget.
Over the years, Högberget has become a more and more important location for exercise and recreation. A beautiful natural environment with well-lit tracks enables people of all ages to enjoy exercising on Högberget.
Nature helps us to feel healthy
Being outside in nature is good for the health, both physical and mental. Research has shown that being physically active has positive effects on the brain, body and the senses. It also reduces stress levels and helps the body to heal.
Good green spaces near homes, makes it easier for people to get out and enjoy the seasonal changes in nature.
To See and Do
Högberget gives everyone, big or small, the opportunity for activities out in the forest. Children can build a cubby house, play hide and seek, go on a treasure hunt or just enjoy being out in the surroundings amongst the trees and boulders. The forest and nature can help children have better health and fitness, strengthen their confidence, increase their ingenuity and inspire their imagination. If you want to take a picnic or maybe cook on a fire, there are several tables, shelters and campfire sites, many of which have excellent views. The locations are marked on the map. Please note that you should not damage or cut down any trees.
There are also several themed paths and points of interest marked on the map:
- Naturstigen – Learn about the forest, nature and the importance of the forest ecosystem as you follow “the nature trail”.
- Ravinstigen – The path runs through a ravine that makes the environment feel a bit mysterious, but also diverse and beautiful.
- Hitta-vilse-stigen – What should a young child do, if lost in the woods? This path provides the answers in a fun way! The path goes through beautiful woodland and can be recommended for the young and the young at heart.
- Grottan – There is a cave here that gives the nearby street “Grottvägen” its name.
- Slalombacken – There are many good tracks on Högberget which are suitable for cross country running, but interval running up the old ski slope is one of the toughest ways to test your fitness!
- Gång och cykelväg – A walking and cycling path runs along the eastern side of Högberget. There are also many tracks that are suitable for mountain biking.
Högberget covers a total area of approximately 65 hectares and is owned by the Ludvika municipality. It is designated as a recreation area in the municipality’s strategic plan. Management and maintenance is carried out to maintain and develop Högbergets great natural and recreational value.