Äventyr på Österlen

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Fyledalen

Fyledalen is a few hundred meters wide, at some places significantly more, around 50 meters deep and strechtes like an arc from southeast of Sjöbo towards Tomelilla and onwards south to Allevad by road 19.

There are other mighty side valleys located to the east; by Ramsåsa and Benestad for instance.
The name Fyledalen might perhaps come from the old word "fyle"which means bog or damp meadow. It's still damp at many places in the valley where no dithces has been made. Some people mean that the name comes from the Danish word "fugle" (bird) and a lot of birds can be found here... so You can decide for yourself which one You like...

The rocks from the geological periods Krita-Jura-Trias is between 65-230 million years old. They appear out of the ground and can be studied especially well in Fyledalen. Here goes the border between the so called "Fennoscandian bedrock shield" and the rest of Europe. Very long ago there has been several earthquakes and faults in the bedrock here. The continents has been torn apart and later pushed and compressed the landscape together.

wfyle eriksdal jurassic
During periods with a warmer climat, lush vegetation grew here that had been stored as carbon in the white quartz sand by Eriksdal. Later, disturbances in the Earth's crust has pressed together and pleated the ground surface such that sand layers, carbon and clay now stands upright in the sand extraction of Fyledalen...

The white quartz sand was used in the making of glass while insulating material and even natural remedies was made from the silica flour. The industry closed down 2010 and the area is nowadays recaptured by the wild nature.

By "Banvaktens kiosk" where the railbike railway enters the valley from the east, there is a steep slope with quite unusual minerals. It is believed that this piece of rock that is called "Horsingabacken" once broke free from the bedrock due to movement in the Earth's crust. This probably happend when the inland ice receded over 13000 years ago... The minerals in the slope, including green cupric carbonate, shows signs of that the area once was a desert landscape close to the coast around 300 million years ago. 

Humans have been around here for a long time; homes from the stone age has been found up on the slopes when the water level was considerably higher than it is today. Practically, one can say that "Fyleån" once was one of many fiords at Österlen and that is was an important waterway through the landscape. You would often build your home quite far from the coast to reduce the risk of wreckers getting to you via the sea. Much later when the water level had dropped, the floor of the valley would mainly consist of damp meadows that got flooded most of the year. Here they would later grow and collect important fodder that became the animals' winterfeed.

 

whi tunnel 01

 

Watering of the meadows was also something that was done in Fyledalen; until the 30's, Högestad had a so called "meadow waterer" working on their land. Via small channels, he would lead the water from Fyleån out to the growing fields to nourish and moisturize the grass. 1892-93 when the big railway bridge was built, the water channel south of the railway was preserved to water the meadows there. To get a slope that was good enough; a special tunnel had to be built out of big boulders under the 8m high railway embankment. The meadow waterer could then adjust the waterflow in the channel by open and close a small floodgate.

wdj kor pinkfloyd


A big part of Fyledalens damp floor is still being used for grazing, only in the south there is some arable. Big parts of Skåne's landscape was once covered in so called broad leaved forest; oak, ash, elm, maple, hornbeam and common beech. Nowadays, most of the land is used for cultivation, but at places that has been to steep, damp or rocky to use; the old archaic biotope (habitat) has remained. On the slopes of Fyledalen there is still quite a lot of beech forest growing and som big oak trees. Alder can be found along the river; they like to grow with the roots just by the edge of the water.

Together, all of this creates a various and natural landscape that benefits both plants as well as animals. Along the entire valley there is water seeping out from different sources that all searches their way down to Fyleån. This combined with the fact that there are no lakes in the water system, makes the water relatively cold and contributes to the well-being of the salmon trout.

All of Fyledalen has a very rich flora and fauna and parts of it became a nature reserve at 2015. The hills of Benestad and Skogshejdan have already been nature reserves since a few years back.

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Among many other species; the roe deer is part of the rich fauna here and you often encounter them when they graze by the edge of the forest.

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The fallow deer are a bit bigger and they have increased in numbers in recent years both in and around the valley. You can see them in big herds of up to 40-50 animals in the forest and on the fields, but mostly they are around 15-20 individuals. Their colors can vary from almost being white to having many different shades of brown to being really dark brown.

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The males have flat antlers.


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Then we have the red deer which is much larger than the fallow deer and second largest ot the four deer species in Skåne. It's also the symbol animal of the county Skåne and the biggest chance to see them is during dawn or dusk; beacuse they hide in the woods during the day. During autumn nights, one can hear their bellow several kilometers away. Sometimes a fight can occur.


wdj septemberfight j
A very small amount of moose live in Fyledalen as well, but these you see very rarely.

Every day, many animals are crossing the valley and the railway between the forested and protective slopes.


As for the vild boars; they move in herds, mostly during the night and they often run in a long row behind eachother; the big ones mixed with the small ones. And they move fast... We usually say that if one boar appears; several are likely to follow behind him...
 

wdj vildsvin buske


Wild boars are very shy animals and are therefore most active during the dark hours of the day. However, you often see traces from them on the ground where they've been digging for food. During one single night, the boars digging can mess up a big piece of land. If you move quiet and slowly in the forest, you might hear their gruffing sound through some dense shrubbery where they like to relax during daylight. But don't go too close, keep a great distance because if the sow has got piglets, she is very aggressive and dangerous.

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Badgers and martens are also animals that are more likely to be seen during dusk when they go out food hunting. My grandfather used to say that if you were to go out in the forest where there could be badgers, you should always put some crackers in your wellies. It was said that if the badger bits your leg he doesn't let go until he hears a crunch...(!) Do you dare taking the risk..?


In the old days, the land was splitted up in small pieces between several small farms. These pieces of land was cut off from eachother by dry stone walls, carefully made by thousands and thousands of stones in long lines. The dry stone walls has remained in the forests and today they serve perfectly as home for many small animals. If you during a sunny day sit down close to a stone wall, the chance is big that you'll get to see some animal; maybe a curious weasel who wants to see who you are...

Lizards and snakes are also fans of the sun, but they will quickly disappear as soon as they notice your shadow on the ground.

 

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Some years ago, me and my daughter Josefin started our own little project with sand lizards by Banvaktens kiosk. It turned out to be very successful and now we have a well-established colony of 12-15 individuals that will let you study them if you move carefully. Ask the staff in the kiosk!

 

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The sand lizard is a voracious little rascal. It catches both small flies and bigger preys like this katydid here, almost as big as itself...

 

wdj sand 03 hane bakfot

 

Among logs and rocks, where they like to hang out, the male can be slightly easier to spot due to the fantastic lime greenish color on the two sides of his body.

 

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The female is more light brownish but they both have brown parts on their backs with white small white dots. Often they sit still; bathing in the sunshine and sometimes you don't notice them until they start moving. Just like snakes, the sand lizard shed their skin as it grows. 

 

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We also have a few colubrids but they are a bit more shy... The colubrids has got a shining black color with a yellow smaller part arond its head. Both sand lizards and colubrids can move very quickly if frightened.

 

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During the 90's the fox population suffered from scabies and many vanished. Today, one can once again see an occasional fox, sneeking around looking for a good meal. It can for example be a hare, rabbit, pheasant or different kind of small rodents. But if the fox doesn't manage to find something on his hunt, he might pay a visit to a hen house where the door isn't closed! Foxes are both clever and curious.


Around Fyledalen there are some really old pastures that look the same as they've always done. This is thanks to the farmers who've maintained them by only letting the cows stand for the grazing; just like in the old days. And in the pastures there are some thorn shrubs here and there which works perfect as protection for many small birds. There's also some alder marsh with really swampy and waterlogged ground where many moisture-loving plants live. Some of the small "lakes" are traces after smallscale peat industry.

These water accumulations are not very deep and are therefore many frog species like it there. The "garlic toad", European fire-bellied toad, agile frog and especially the extremely green little European tree frog.

 

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The fire-bellied toad can barely be seen when it lies still by the water's edge. But when it comes up on land and feels threatened, it buckles up and streches out the front and back legs and shows of its sharply orange spotted belly to scare away the enemy. 

 

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The extremely green little European tree frog that have their lovely concerts during spring evenings and nights are great climbers. You can encounter them both by the pond as well as among the leaves in shrubs and trees. The tree frog is the loudest animal in all of Sweden in relation to its size and can be heard from over one kilometer of distance.


Fyleån that you bike along with the railbikes is one of the country's best reproduction places for the sea trout. A strenuously fish-management work has resulted in that big trouts swim up to the small streams via Nybroån all the way from the sea. In the river you can also find eel, pike and European bullhead fish.

During 2013, Fyleån was restored and got its original, beautiful and winding shape back through the valley. You who biked the railbikes here during that time could closely see the fantastic work. From Fylans Farm and north-west, the river consisted of a rather insipid ditch since the middle of the 1800's. It was when they started making ditches in the valley, that earlier had been very damp, that they filled the old and winding river and made the straight channel instead. This was done little by little and for the sake of being able to farm the land and eventually construct the railway 1891-93.

On another place on our website, you can follow the work with Fyleån through pictures and text.

The many birds in Fyledalen attracts ornithologists. The area is a very well-known and loved place to go for nature interested people, coming from different countries such as Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. During a long time, Fyledalen has been one of the best locations to study predator birds in north Europe. Here you can spot both the white-tailed eagle (sea eagle) as well as the golden eagle. Young sea eagles comes down from coasts in the north to easier find prey here in the snow-free Skåne. The golden eagle comes here from the Swedish mountains during the winter, but some of them has stayed longer than expected and have now nested a few years here in the valley.

More common predator birds in Fyledalen are the common buzzard, rough-legged buzzard and common kestrel, but the most usual one is the kite which is also the symbol of Tomelilla... The kite often roams the sky above the valley and can come quite close to you when biking the railbike or walking.


At damp places in the valley you can more often than before see the stork on its hunt for frogs and other stork-snacks.

 

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Sometimes it joins the heron, a bird you see much more often than the stork. Even the black stork visits us by Banvaktens kiosk every now and then. And a few hours later; the ornithologs arrive!

Sometimes if you is very observant; one can see the stunningly beautiful kingfisher by the edge of Fyleån, sitting on a branch above the water and waiting for a prey to pass by. Suddenly the kingfisher sees something, dives and comes back up with a small fish.

Among the stones in the rapids north from the railway-bridge in the Silverstream, the white-throated dipper likes to sit on a rock; watching its prey before diving into the water, catching something yummy.

 

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In the forest part east from the bridge, along the railway, one can often see and hear great spotted woodpecker, lesser spotted woodpecker, black woodpecker and european green woodpecker. You hear them from far away while they peck the dead trees in their search for larvaes and other bugs. In the end of the 1900s, the dutch elm disease was very harsh on the trees and there's still "elm-skeletons" left in the forest.

Regarding plants; Fyledalen is well-known for its diversity. Walk out in the woods with the flora book in your hand and you will see that there's much to discover.

 

wvax smorboll

 

Already from the railbikes, one can get a close look at the yellow beauties Globeflower (Trollius europaeus) between June-July

 

wvax kabeleka

 

and the Marsh-marigold aka Kingcup (Caltha palustris) between April-July that grows in the waterfilled ditches along the railway by km 61,5-62 and 64-66,5.

 

wvax ramslok 01

 

You will find Ramsons (also called wild garlic) April-June in the surroundings where they thrive in big amounts on damp meadows close to the rail by km 64. You are allowed to carefully pick a few with you home for personal use in the salad, but without damaging the leaks. The leaves pops up already in March. These plants likes it close to the water and damp land.

 

wvax backsippa

 

Along the rail you will also pass some dryer sand land where the Pasqueflower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) grows between April-June on the middle of the rail by km 61,5. The Pasqueflower are as well as the Orchids and other plants, protected. This means that you can watch, enjoy and take photos but not pick them! You can enjoy the sight of many Orchids in the valley of Ramsåsa (Ramsåsadalen) between km 63,3-63,7.

In other types of soil, the Cowslip (Primula veris) thrive in May-June by km 65,8.

 

wvax vitskrap 01

 

If you walk across the valley from Banvaktens kiosk to the turn after Fylans Farm, you might see the rare White butterbur (Petasites albus) which, unlike the Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) has white flowers. The buds appears from the earth already before the snow has disappeared in Feb-March.


*For more information You can get the brochure about Fyledalen's nature at the Tourist agency or in Banvaktens kiosk.