Österlen circle trail is a part of Skåneleden, and the trail goes through beautiful deciduous forests outside village Brösarp in the south east of Skåne. The circle trail is 34 km long, and it’s connected to the rest of Skåneleden, both in south east from Piraten parking lot, north from Agusta shelter area and south from Verkasjön.
You get here by following road 19, and the trail goes straight through Piraten where you could leave your car. There are smaller roads that you could use to drive closer to the shelter areas at Agusta, Verkasjön or Vantalången.
Much of the trail goes through the nature reserves like Drakamöllan and Verkeåns nature reserve. Unfortunately you’re not allowed to camp inside the nature reserves, other than on the designated camp sites.
My first plan was to drive down to Brösarp on a Friday evening, and set up camp pretty close to the car and then spend the Saturday and Sunday hiking. But when it was time to get to the trail I ended up driving down early on Saturday morning instead.
It was roughly a two hour drive from home, and I parked my car at Piraten parking lot, just north of Brösarp, at 09.30.
The weather couldn’t be better. The sun was shining and it really felt like spring was in the air. I decided to hike the trail counter clockwise, a decision I came to regret later.
The first section of the trail went through a really beautiful deciduous forest. This section was not a nature reserve, and if / when I get back to this trail I’ll probably camp here.
After this section of deciduous forest I entered Drakamöllan nature reserve which to a large degree consists of pasture and heath on hills of sand and gravel formed during the ice age.
Just before the trail turns west, out of Drakamöllan, it crosses a stream. I sat down and decided to have a coffee break.
After the break I continued down the trail, and after a short while I came to a road. The trail follows the road for about 2,5 – 3 km before it turned back into the woods. It crossed an interesting landscape filled with junipers before it passed Hörröd church and back into a nature reserve. Despite being in Skåne, the flattest part of Sweden, there was some great views. I had lunch in a beautiful forest with tree covered hills.
Eventually I came to Agusta shelter area. It had a lean-to shelter and a lot of places to set up your tent. The shelter area was bordering an enclosed area with boars and deers. The trail follows the fence for a while. I didn’t see any deers, but I saw two flocks of boars, that started to run in the opposite direction once I came close.
After hours of walking through very scenic environment I came to the only boring section of the trail. First, a stretch of spruce forest, and after that a stretch passing a clear cut just north of Alunbruket.
My initial thought was to set up camp at Verkasjön shelter area near Alunbruket. It was getting late, and I was tired. When I came to Verkasjön though I didn’t find any good spot to set up my tent, and after looking at the map and satellite photos I decided to keep going and try to find a nice spot just outside the border of the nature reserve. This proved to be harder than I thought as the parts just outside the nature reserve was dense spruce forest. After a while I was to tired to keep looking for a better spot, and ended up in the spruce forest after all. I wasn’t happy about it. After hiking a whole day in really old beautiful deciduous forests I ended up in dark spruce forest after all.
The sun had already begun to set when I got my tent up. It was the first time I used my Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2 and my Borah Gear Bivy. Earlier in the week I had cut the extra guy lines in appropriate lengths to the guy points. I used a taut line hitch for the loops, to be able to easily tighten and loosen the guy line.
Once I got my tent up I made dinner. At first I felt to tired, but I made dinner after all. After that I cut some shock cord and tied it to a mitten hook and to the bivy to be able to strap it to the D-ring in the top of the Ultamid to get the mesh of my face.
I went to sleep early and slept fairly good. I woke up with the sun shining through my tent, and a chorus of bird songs. The disappointment I had felt over my site selection last night was gone.
There was some slight condensation on the inside of the tent, but it vanished quickly when I opened up the doors.
After breakfast I got back to the trail. I had somewhere between 8-10 km left to hike. The trail followed Verkeån for most of the time. I passed Vantalången shelter area. There where a couple of newly built lean-to shelters in the area. There was a group of campers there, that was airing out their tent and their sleeping bags.
I left the forest behind me and came to Brösarps backar. The last stretch of the hike was on the hills, with nice views of the surrounding area.
I came back to the car around noon. Not a cloud in the sky, and temperatures around 15°C. It was great, and I could easily have stayed for one more night.
I definitely recommend hiking the Österlen Circle trail. Except for the road section, and the short section through the spruce plantation and clear cuts, the trail went through idyllic fairy tale forests.