The Rapola Ridge Nature and History Path

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This trail, which differs clearly from other nature paths in the area, follows the Rapola ridge at Sääksmäki, about 8 km from the centre of Valkeakoski. The 1.6 km long trail starts from the parking place of the Voipaala Art Centre and follows the edge of the ridge, circling two large depressions or hollows, among others. In addition to the nature of the ridge and the beautiful landscape there are also small grove areas, primeval spruce woods, and prehistoric finds.

The Rapola ridge is one of the most important prehistoric hill forts in Finland, which were in use at least during the period 800 - 1250 AD. On the upper slopes of the ridge a large number of dwelling places, cooking pits, and other signs of habitation have been found. Closely adjoined to the hill fort on the South Western slope is a large area with numerous finds. There are, among other, a burial ground with over hundred barrows (tumuli), and an ancient field from the Iron Age, found in excavations in 1988. Likewise coherently linked to the hill fort is an ancient harbour, at the bottom of the Saunalahti bay.

The many centuries of habitation on the slopes of the Rapola ridge has left its marks on nature, particularly on the vegetation. The manors of Rapola and Voipaala in the vicinity of the fort have had an even greater influence since their founding around the 16 th century. From the parks and cultivated lands of these estates many cultivated plants have been transferred to the slopes of the ridge with the help of birds and squirrels. Examples of such plants are celandine, dogwood, lilac, larch, rowan, maple and oak, all of which grow in large numbers on the slopes of the ridge. Most of the slopes are  closed and shadowy, and that´s why such  typical species for ridges that demand plenty of light, are very scarce in the area. Often their last habitats are old gravel pits, of which there are many at Rapola. In general it might be said that gravel pits are the most visible "monuments" that man has left on the ridge.

The path is relatively easy to walk. The height difference is nevertheless  big enough to make it difficult for the youngest and oldest wanderers.

Gallery

Trail map (pdf, 31 070 kB)

Guided tours

Guided walking tours to Rapola ridge, from 50 €/ group.
Tours take approximately 1 hour and may be pre booked.

Bookings and inquiries
Tourist office
Kanavanranta 3 C
Tel. +358 40 335 6512 
matkailu @ valkeakoski.fi

Last modified by: Marjut Suokas, 1.6.2017 13:22