Norra Kvill, one of four national parks in Småland, consists of genuine Småland virgin forest. It has not been logged for 150 years, and some of the pine trees are 350 years old. What you get to see here are fallen trees, huge moss-covered boulders and bewitching forest ponds. A hike up to the highest mountain in the national park affords a dazzling view.
A rare forest
Untouched forests are highly unusual in southern Sweden. Fortunately, the first part of the national park, a 27-hectare section, was formed as far back as 1927. It was subsequently expanded and now consists of 114 hectares. The area was allowed to freely evolve into a true virgin forest. Pines constitute 80 percent of the forest, and some of them are really large – 2.5 metres in circumference and 35 metres high.
Getting to Norra Kvill is easy
Norra Kvill National Park is located near the road between Vimmerby and Södra Vi, 7 km south of Ydrefors. A side road with signs leads to the car park, where there are information boards, WC, tables and benches. A hiking trail goes around the national park’s two lakes. Stora Idgölen lake, with its water lilies and bogbean, also is called Trollsjön. The highest point is Idhöjden, which rises 45 metres above the surface of the lake and offers a magnificent view.
The nature of the Småland highlands
All Småland highlands terrain is hilly. You can see this in Norra Kvill National Park, which is situated in this highland landscape rising 230 metres above sea level. The moss-covered boulders, which in some places form entire boulder fields, are marvellous. The state owns the land through the Swedish Environment Protection Agency.
Rumskulla Oak, Oak of Kvill, Thousand-year Oak, Christ ...
Beloved children have many names. The gigantic oak is considered Sweden's oldest and largest tree, if not the oak with the largest girth in all of Europe. It measures 14 metres in circumference and is at least one thousand years old. To visit the country's oldest living organism is something of a spiritual experience. From time immemorial we have worshiped large trees, and here one can feel the magic.
The Oak of Kvill or Rumskulla Oak, as it is often called, actually stands in the Kvill Nature Reserve a few kilometres south of Norra Kvill National Park. You will look for it in vain within Rumskulla, but town residents can show you the way to the Oak of Kvill (Kvilleken), which is the correct name here. Winding Småland gravel roads lead you forward. Once you are there, it is easy to close in on it because the road has recently been improved.
The Oak of Kvill is a survivor
During the first centuries of its life, the oak was naturally protected because it was important for farmers and their freely grazing, acorn-eating pigs. It was protected under Westrogothic Law and joint property for the village. To cut down an oak without permission was punishable with fines. When Gustav Vasa came into power, the law was repealed, and many oaks were used to build ships, but the Oak of Kvill was allowed to remain, possibly because it did not grow straight enough.
It's remarkable that the oak managed to survive storms and lightning and people who are unable to let things alone. However, it has been noted that an extremely cold winter at the beginning of the 18th century cracked the oak and caused it to wither. But the oak made a remarkable comeback and the crown became green again. The oak has braved many hard winters, dry summers and severe storms. For a hundred years it has been protected from human impact. And don't forget that he who damages an oak can be doomed to insatiable hunger ...
Read more about the national park Norra Kvill