Skåne is my favorite place to be. One might think that the landscape is mostly a farmland sparsely dotted with Bronze Age burial mounds. But there are plenty of places I know about that are simply out of this world. And since I enjoy a good walk in the forest and all things peculiar, the Trollskogen might be my most cherished one.
Trollskogen is a part of Prästaskogen Nature Reserve, a dense beech forest, which is a stone throw from Dalby National Park. Now what makes this place so special since beech is quite popular in the region? Well, the only kind of tree growing here is the dwarf beech (vresbok in Swedish), a rare cultivar of European Beech. There are only about 1500 trees in Europe of that kind. The area of this unique forest it’s not really that big. It’s more of a thicket. The trees are surrounded by an old, mossy stone fence – just like a garden or a sanctuary. They bend, stretch and curl in the most imaginative ways. They also much older and shorter than those growing outside of enclosure. You can see the common beeches peeking in the back – growing straight and tall, just regular Joes of a woodland society.
According to local folk tales, the trees have been twisted by trolls. Another, more believable, story says that this area was a sacred tree sanctuary in the past. But tainted with a case of brutal witch execution.
Two years ago this place made quite an impression on me. When I entered the area I’ve immersed myself in another world. Crowns so thick and entwined that very little light got down to the ground. I couldn’t even hear the birds or feel the air moving. Nothing, just calm silence. As if time has stopped. I could really feel the presence of something otherworldly. Every here and there I’ve stumbled upon witch huts made out of fallen twigs, and that certainly added to the eerie atmosphere.
Today the forest gave me a completely different feeling. Some of the trees are slowly dying, the forest doesn’t seem so dense and isolated anymore. The weird vibe is gone, birds are singing and chirping loudly. Old witch huts have fallen apart, replaced by new ones that don’t really make sense or hold any particular shape. It’s been just two years. It’s like revisiting a childhood place that is changed now, while the old version of it is still vivid in my mind. The forest still looks enchanted, but maybe it’s just me who has changed.
You can find more photos from this location in my Flickr album.
Alesmark C., Järnefelt P. (2017) Gåtfulla Skåne: en guide till mytomspunna platser. Estland: Roos & Tegnér.