WELCOME TO GEOPARK IN THE SUMMER

Discover the fascinating two billion years of history of Geopark. Hiking and cycling routes as well as nature attractions invite you to explore Lauhanvuori-Hämeenkangas UNESCO Global Geopark.

TWO NATIONAL PARKS AND OTHER WONDERFUL NATURE SITES

Beautiful national parks

Lauhanvuori and Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Parks, known for their beautiful scenery, are located in the Geopark area.

You can travel back in time to the past on the easy routes of Lauhanvuori National Park. The number one sight of Lauhanvuori is Kivijata, an impressive stone field formed of rare sandstone. On Lauhanvuori you may also see Finnish forest deer, for example.

Photo: Sannamari Ratilainen / Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland, Lauhanvuori National Park

In Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park you may experience magnificent wild mire nature. Kauhaneva’s duckboard route leads you to the heart of the mire. The path of Katikankanjoni takes you into the mysterious ravine shaded by spruces.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Authentic mire nature

Haapakeidas mire reserve is the largest and most diverse mire area in Geopark. In the early summer on the hiking trails the air is filled with the scent of wild rosemary. You may watch birds in observation towers or on duckboard trails. Read more about birds in our article.

There are several mire destinations within the Geopark area that are also suitable for children. See the best sites and tips in our article.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Haapakeidas

Versatile nature activities

Hämeenkangas offers tens of kilometers of easy-going routes with many resting places as well as great natural attractions. Hiking, biking, canoeing – there are diverse nature sports opportunities in Hämeenkangas.

Photo: Sofia Sillanpää, Hämeenkangas

Rocky hills and small waterways

Climb the observation towers of the rocky hills and gaze to the wide forest and mire landscapes. There are many creeks, ponds and meandering small rivers in Geopark, too. Thus the area offers experiences for e.g. canoeists and fishermen as well.

Read more about Geopark’s diverse destinations on our website.

Photo: Sofia Sillanpää, Käskyvuori

Discover the cultural heritage

The cultural sites of Geopark tell about the common history of the people and nature of the area.  Discover Geopark’s diverse museums, unique architecture, traditional churches and art at the Kankaanpää Art Circle or along the roads.

The creativity of the area’s residents becomes visible on the Route of Arts. The joyful contemporary folk art that change every year can be seen, for example in Karvia and Parkano. You will find the most interesting places to visit in our brochure.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Alpon savanni

GEOPARK'S SITES TELL THE UNIQUE HISTORY OF THE AREA

ENJOY NATURE IN GEOPARK

Take a hike on the trails

Geopark’s trails take you in the middle of nature to see the best attractions. Geopark offers both easy and family-friendly trails as well as more demanding routes suitable for multi-day hikes with overnight stays.

Geopark’s hiking trails are compiled in Geopark’s brochure (in Finnish).

Photo: Lauri Kurki, Lauhanvuori National Park

Two Billion Year Tours cycling route

On Geopark’s new Two Billion Year Tours cycling route, you will get to know 1 900 million years of Finnish history in the best possible way – by cycling through it. The routes connect Geopark’s most significant places to visit and the most beautiful landscapes, as well as municipal centers and the best tourist services.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Jämijärvi

The three long Traveller routes going along the roads offer overnight adventures for experienced cyclists. The shorter Enjoyer routes are suitable for day trips for families, for example. Real adventures await on the Adventurer routes on mountain bike trails. You can cycle to Geopark’s routes from EuroVelo 10 route and from Järvien reitit cycling routes.

Read more about Geopark’s cycling routes and cycling services on our website and in our brochure (both currently in Finnish).

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kihniö

Enjoy by the campfire

A snack by the campfire is one of the highlights of the nature trip. Make it luxury and order a ready meal for your family or group to the campfire, or grab a snack from the area’s cafes or restaurants.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Käskyvuori

There are lots of great places in Geopark to take a break by the campfire. Most sites have firewood freely available to visitors. Campfires are only allowed at marked campfire sites. Please notice that it is strictly prohibited to set fire during a forest or grass fire warning. Check the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s website for warnings. You can find the campfire sites on the map.

Photo: Niina Rautiainen / NR Visuals, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Spend the night in nature

Spend the night in a tent or hammock and experience the magical atmosphere of the Geopark’s summer nights and early mornings. Please note that camping in protected areas is only allowed in specific areas. You can find site-specific instructions on the nationalparks.fi website. There are also very nice commercial camping sites available in Geopark.

Photo: Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere, Korsukylä

UNIQUE SUMMER EVENTS AND VERSATILE TOURIST SERVICES

Geopark’s summer is full of events: open-air concerts and summer theater as well as art exhibitions and sports. Willi Karvia, for example, offers great concerts and theater experiences at the Skantz Cultural Center, of which architecture is inspired by a 17th-century fort.

Kankaanpää has a long Finnish baseball tradition. You can feel the atmosphere of the game in the arena of the team of Kankaanpään Maila.

Photo: Niina Rautiainen / NR Visuals, Skantz Cultural Center

During the summer, the villages of Geopark come to life. For example, cafes, restaurants, boutiques and farm shops attract tourists and residents of the area to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Karvia

Enjoy Geopark destinations on a guided tour. With an expert local guide, you’ll find the best routes and sites and hear related stories. With a guide, you will get the most out of your trip. Companies also rent equipment such as canoes and electric mountain bikes to your independent adventures.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Promote your well-being on a guided wellness trip to nature. Complete your nature experience in sauna and with pampering treatments. Relax in the soft steam of the smoke sauna or more common but still traditional sauna by a lake, for example. Enjoy the gentle treatments made with the peat of the area’s mires as well.

Read more on our webpage. You can also find the services on the map. You can easily buy experiences and services through the Geopark’s online store.

Photo: Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere, Kirkkokadun Hyvän Olon Keskus

GEOPARK IS AT ITS BEST IN THE SUMMER

SOME TOP PICKS FROM OUR CURRENT OFFER

Human in Nature event in August

The traditional Human in Nature event will be held in Parkano in late August. The theme of this year’s event is biodiversity. From Thursday to Sunday, the event offers a high-quality seminar, guided tours in Geopark, a tradition day at SyVilla and a family event at the Forest Museum. Read more on the Visit Parkano website.

Photo: Hanna Tuuri /Tuuri-Tiedotus, Parkano Forest Museum

Joyful gifts from More Joy

More Joy offers e.g. dishcloths with nature-themed patterns made out of natural fibers. Joyful patterns are created in collaboration with different designers or according to the customer’s wishes. In the factory store you will find both gifts and nice craft packages for children. Read more on the More Joy’s website.

Photo: More Joy

Rental equipment from Kesport Kauhajoki

Kesport Kauhajoki offers electric bicycle and sup board rental. In addition to rental equipment, you can buy all the necessary equipment for your active nature holiday in the shop. Read more on Kesport Kauhajoki’s website.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Lauhanvuori National Park

 

Outar offers experiences with natural colors

Outar offers courses (also online) related to natural colors. Natural colors are suitable for harmonious creative moments. From plants you can extract a lot of fascinating dyes that can be used in crafts and art in many ways.

For example, you may attend the Watercolors and Inks from Natural Colors course in Parkano on Saturday 11th of June. Prepare your own inks from plants and make paintings with them. In the course, you will learn how to make pigment powders, watercolors and inks from plants you have collected, as well as from plant color extracts. Read more on Outar’s website.

Photo: Ronja Kuokkanen / Outar

The Salaisen Puutarhan Majatalo Guesthouse and Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop

The guesthouse is located in Kauhajoki, in a former parsonage built in the 1890s, surrounded by a wild garden. The building has been luxuriously refurbished with a mix of Scandinavian bohemianism and antiques. The guesthouse offers six unique double rooms with soft beds and beautiful décor. Read more on the website of The Salaisen Puutarhan Majatalo Guesthouse.

Photo: The Salaisen Puutarhan Majatalo Guesthouse

Charming Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop is located just a bit over a kilometer from the the guesthouse. In the café you can enjoy delicacies made in the own bakery along the same street. The café’s cakes and pastries are known for their delicacy. Their authentic flavors are created with American and South Ostrobothnian family recipes and local ingredients. The most famous of the cakes is the Chocolate Cake of the Secret Garden, baked on an organic spelt and also served at the guesthouse’s breakfast. Read more on the website of Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop.

Photo: Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop

Meggala Winery

Meggala Winery produces high-quality, aromatic and tasty wines with a passion for professional winemaking and domestic ingredients. You can enjoy Meggala’s drinks at the farm’s own restaurant or buy from the farm shop. In the restaurant and café you can also enjoy snacks with coffee, for example. Meals are served on restaurant days and on request.

In the summer, you can take part in Meggala’s sparkling wine and beer yoga and summer bingo, or take part in a wine tasting and winery tour. During Midsummer, Meggala offers happy summer atmosphere, as people gather for the Midsummer market. Attend also karaoke terrace dance and taste local burgers. Read more on Meggala’s website.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva

Visoko’s meditative videos

Take a meditative, about 15-minute virtual trip to Finnish nature with the help of Visoko’s videos. The virtual trip will deepen your connection with nature and you will respect nature more. Your vitality will increase, you will calm down and your stress management will improve. Get a 30% discount on videos in the Visoko’s online store with the code LHGeo. Read more on Visoko’s website.

Photo: Visoko

Experience authentic countryside in the Luomajärvi Horse Inn

Enjoy Southern Europe inspired meals in the Luomajärvi Horse Inn’s quality restaurant. Once a month in the summer, the inn’s restaurant serves delicious Spanish, Italian and French flavors.

The inn offers a wide range of summer activities in a real old-fashioned rural setting. There are e.g. children’s horseback riding, family-friendly Day at the Farm programs, rustic horse-drawn carriage rides and riding hikes available. You can also rent fatbikes and electric touring bikes for your individual adventures on Geopark’s cycling routes. Read more on the Luomajärvi Horse Inn’s website.

Photo: The Luomajärvi Horse Inn

Open Yards in Jämijärvi

Get into the local way of life in a small rural village of Jämijärvi on Saturday 11th of June. The residents open the gates of their yards to visitors and offer a wide range of activities such as flea markets pop-up cafes, concerts and craft workshops. Take part in a fishing competition or go on a boat trip on an old wooden boat. You can also climb the church tower with permission! You can find the map and timetable on the website of the organizer.

Photo: Tuomo Leikkola

Culture in the Finnish capital of art, Kankaanpää

Explore the unique Circle of Art by walking along the Art Trail or cycling around it. The Circle of Art consists of more than a hundred works of art permanently placed in the urban environment. IN the Circle of Art the work of art, the environment and the landscape meet in the finest possible way.

Kankaanpää Market Square is popular meeting place for the residents of wide region. The market is open all year round on Thursdays and also on summer Saturdays. At the end of the summer, the traditional Hörhiäisviikko event offers a wide range of music, art, sport, well-being and a nice market spirit. Read more on the City of Kankaanpää’s website.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva

Kankaanpää Art Association’s brick workshops

Design your own brick in the Art Association’s workshop. The bricks will be placed in the brick wall of the Circle of Art. In May, the Kankaanpää Art Association organized these workshops. It is still possible to participate in the workshop on Saturday 28th af May from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Inquiries: Kankaanpää Art Association

Photo: Laura Koivumäki

GEOPARK IS CHARMING IN THE SUMMER

OUTDOOR ETIQUETTE

Please, always mind nature and other people during your nature trips. Respect nature in every way and keep your pets in leash. Prevent the waste in advance and bring your rubbish from the nature and sort them properly.

Please, use the marked routes that lead you to the best sites. Using marked trails prevent the harmful effects on nature elsewhere. Each mode of transport has its own routes. Stay in the terrain only in areas designated for camping. Read more on the website.

Photo: Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland, Outdoor Etiquette

EXPERIENCE THE GEOPARK THROUGH A FILM

Get to know the inhabitants, the culture and the nature of the area through the Geopark’s In a blink of an eye promotional film. What we see in a blink of an eye is the result of billions of years of geological evolution.

Watch the video on YouTube and enjoy!

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Siikainen

Main photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva

Other photos: Aili Raudla-Majakangas, Terttu Hermansson

#lhgeopark #unescoglobalgeoparks #europeangeoparks #finnishgeoparks  #unesco #twobillionyeartours #kahdenmiljardinvuodenmatkalla #outdoor #retkeily #luontomatkailu #pyörämatkailu #cyclingtourism #hyvinvointialuonnosta #taiteidenreitti #visittampere #visitlakeus #visitpori #visitsatakunta

WELCOME TO GEOPARK!

Get prepared for the Geopark cycle tour

Careful planning and preparation are an important part of a cycle tour and a prerequisite for a successful trip.

Take care of safety issues

Involve the whole group, including the children, in the planning of the cycle tour from the beginning and consider also safety issues. Tell your loved ones about your itinerary and be sure to keep them informed of any changes to the plans and the achievement of your goals during the trip.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Jämijärvi

While cycling, prefer colorful clothing, which improves your visibility and promotes road safety. A cycling helmet effectively protects your head if an accident occurs. The law requires the use of lights at dusk and in the dark. The lights also enhance your visibility during the day. Follow good cycling practices and traffic rules.

Download the 112 Suomi mobile app to your phone which helps rescuers to find you quickly when needed. Don’t forget your phone charger! Pack the medication with you for a few extra days in case your plans change and your trip lengthens. Bring with you also basic first aid supplies: gauze, patches, wound cleanser, painkiller and balm for abrasions. Also take sunlotion with you.

You can’t pre prepared for everything, but think about possible problem situations and solutions to them in advance. Pre-conceived operating models make the decision making faster and increase security. Once the issues are resolved quickly, you can continue your journey as planned.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Lauhanvuori National Park

Preparedness and anticipation increase security

Equipment and gear

A bicycle suitable for the specific bike tour is the cornerstone of the equipment. The route’s type determines the type of the bike. A commuter bike, for example, is good enough for road use, a mountain bike is recommended for off-road driving.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva

The bike must be compliant, functional and equipped for the purpose. Functional inspections and maintenance should not be neglected, as they have a close connection to road safety. A bike that is regularly serviced and repaired if necessary is also reliable.

A well-maintained bike is a prerequisite for a successful trip. Have your bike serviced by yourself or by a professional. It is a good idea to test the functionality of the bike a few times after maintenance. Problems and faults on the bike are possible, but ocuur rarely during a trip of few hundred kilometers. A well-maintained bike will usually work properly if you don’t crash.

Take with you atleast the cyclist’s multi-purpose wrench, tire plastics and pump. It’s a good idea to buy an inner tube that fits your bike in advance. It is often more sensible to change a tire than to patch it. The most common fault of bikes is a flat tire. Can you fix a tire?

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Hyyppä Valley

A chain connector and derailleur hanger as well as a few spokes that fits one’s bike should be especially in the mountainbikers’ backpacks. These parts are wheel specific. When broken, they are fairly easy to replace if a chain breaker and spoke tools are available.

The bike can be eqquipped with various bags and racks for carrying luggage. A wheeled luggage cart can also be used. It is a good idea to protect the equipment from getting wet, regardless of the mode of transport. Also consider the option of a service truck or transporting equipment using a transportation service.

Full camping equipment including the tent and other gear to stay overnight outside takes up a large portion of the bike’s carrying capacity. In the summer time, however, you can handle with a small amount of equipment. Staying in cottages, hotels, etc. will lighten the load and save space for other gear.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Punainen tupa

Special attention should be paid to loading the bicycle, as unstable loads affect negatively to the driveability. The bicycle, loaded as lightly and firmly as possible, promotes driving safety and the driver’s endurance.

Test the compatibility of the equipment and the bicycle in advance. Take an experimental day trip from your home. You may also want to test your tent and camping gear in your backyard in advance. This is the time to add or remove accessories if needed.

In addition to the bike and the helmet, you can expand the list of equipment as you wish. Padded cycling pants are an obvious part of a cycling outfit for many. Cycling shoes and lock pedals are familiar to mountain bikers, but are also used by other cyclists.

Otherwise, the clothing is chosen according to the weather. Several cloth layers work best in cool weather. Rain gear should always be included in the paggage. Cagoules and other accessories that can be packed in a small space are available for cyclists.

Photo: Joonas Vinnari, Lauhanvuori National Park

Good equipment increases the comfort

A bike tour with children

On a family cycling tour, the age and endurance of the children must be taken into account. Cycling is an energy consuming physical exercise. Have regular meals and snacks to avoid huge hunger and low levels of energy. Take enough water and other drinkiks with you and keep some energy supplies readily available. When tired and hungry, the risk of mistakes and accidents increases.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Karvia

Review the traffic rules and the principles of safe bicycling before the bicycle trip with the children. Interesting places to visit and see along the journey motivates the kids to continue forward. Avoid too long day trips and be ready to make small changes to your plans if necessary.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Karvia

Cycling with children on children's terms

Plan your route

On the Geopark’s cycling routes, the terrain is gentle and the elevation differences are usually moderate. Steep hills are rare. Municipal centers and villages, as well as less populated landscapes and nature, alternate along the routes. There is a lot to see and experience during the bicycle trip, so it’s good to take plenty of time for the cycling and the stops in the sites.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Hyyppä Valley

The main route consists of three partly overlapping routes, which follow mainly quiet roads. You can choose individual routes or cycle through them all as a continuous loop. The distance traveled per one day can be, for example, 30-60 km, in which case the daily driving time is about 2-4 hours. On individual route loops, you could stay for 3-5 days. It takes easily take a week to get around the entire route along the outerlines.

Each Geopark municipality also has shorter local routes that you can cycle separately oruse as alternative routes as part of a longer bike tour. There are also easy mountain bike trails, some of which run on gravel roads.

There are reataurant and accommodation services in the area that support cycling tourism. It is also advisable to deviate from the routes to services and destinations located a little further away. Think about your accommodation carefully and contact the companies in advance.

The services located in the centres of the municipalities, such as groceries and specialty stores, as well as a pharmacy, are availabel along the routes daily. By arranging the periods of cycling as well as visiting the sites and dining approprietly during your days, you can focus on enjoying the whole experience.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Nummijärvi Camping

While cycling, you’re on the jorney from the very start. Actually the bicycle trip starts with its planning. You don’t always have to travel far to relax and experience adventures. Leave the hurry behind and focus on gathering good memories and experiences. In cycling, being on the road is more important than reaching the destination.

Photo: Mirja Koivisto/ Tarinakuva, Katikankanjoni, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Text: Jari Hernesniemi 

Further reading:

Pyöräliitto: Pyöräilijän liikennesäännöt (in Finnish)

The Finnish Center for Cycling Tourism: Bikeland.fi

Suomen Latu: Maastopyöräilijän etiketti (in Finnish) 

Metsähallitus: Pyöräretken suunnittelu (in Finnish) 

Seikkailijattaret: Retkipyöräilyn ABC: Vinkit ensimmäiseen pidempään pyöräreissuun (in Finnish) 

Photo: Mirja Koivisto/ Tarinakuva, Katikankanjoni, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Main photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva

Other photos: Terttu Hermansson

#lhgeopark #unescoglobalgeoparks #europeangeoparks #finnishgeoparks  #unesco #outdoor #retkeily #luontomatkailu #pyörämatkailu #cyclingtourism #hyvinvointialuonnosta #taiteidenreitti #visittampere #visitlakeus #visitpori #visitsatakunta

Welcome to a memorable bike tour to the Geopark!

Enjoy the winter Geopark

Welcome to the winter Geopark! Explore the snow covered untouched mires with snowshoes, ski on trails and have fun on mighty sledding hills. Have snacks by a campfire and let the winter nature charm you. Enjoy the services offered by the Geopark companies and relax!

SKI ON TRAILS AND ON YOUR OWN PATHS

There are hundreds of kilometers of well-maintained ski trails in the Geopark. Take calm and enjoy the scenery or raise your heartbeat in varying terrains. Read more about Geopark’s ski trails in our article

Photo: Heini Tolvanen, Lauhanvuori National Park

Ski on an untouhched snow covered mires and experience the peace and quietness of winter nature. With wide and long forest skis, for example, you can reach places that are not accessible while the ground isn’t frozen and covered by snow. In summertime they can be too watery or they are protected areas for nesting birds and thus prohibited areas. Read more about skiing in the mire in our article.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

It is very important to pay attention to safety on mires in winter. There may be watery and submersible spots under the snow. You must therofore be able to “read the terrain” and assess the conditions under the snow on the basis of them. It is safest to go to the snowy mire with a local guide. You can find service providers on our Activities page.

Photo: Kari Leo, Kauhanevan-Pohjankankaan kansallispuisto

CREATE YOUR OWN ROUTES WITH SNOWSHOES

You can also explore the winter nature of the Geopark with snowhoes or skinbased skis. Hike and visit destinations, even if the trails are covered by snow. Create your own routes and find fascinating places outside the trails.

Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku, Hyyppä Valley

Take an expert local guide with you for snowshoe adventures. With the guide, you will find the best destinations and routes and hear stories related to them. A local guide will ensure the safety of your trip. You can find guides on our Activities page.

Photo: Matti Hautalahti, Kammi Village

RENT SNOWSHOES

SNOWSHOES

Jämi area: Jämikeskus (in Finnish), Jämi Sports (in Finnish), Korsuretket (in Finnish) and the Luomajärvi Horse Inn 

Kauhajoki: The city of Kauhajoki (in Finnish)

Lauhanvuori area: Lauhansarvi, Taikapolku and the municipality of Isojoki (in Finnish)

Parkano: SyVilla, the city of Parkano (in Finnish)

SKINBASED SKIS

Jämi area: Jämi Sports (in Finnish)

Kankaanpää: Meggala (in Finnish)

Lauhanvuori area: Taikapolku

Photo: Juha Rantanen / Jämi Sports

WINTER CYCLING IS A GREAT EXPERIENCE

You can also go winter cycling in the Geopark! There is a 23 km long fatbike route in Jämi maintained in winter exclusively for cyclists. Ride a bike in the ridge landscapes of Hämeenkangas, admire the Uhrinlähde and Kylmänmyllynlähde springs that are lively all year round, and take a nice break by a campfire.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Hämeenkangas

For more information on the Jämi winter cycling route, contact the Jämi Maat company that maintains the trail. You can also rent there electric fatbikes, which makes driving a route a pleasure. If the surface of the trail is hard enough, a mountain bike will also do well on the route.

Photo: Hanna Mäkinen / Jämi Maat

RENT A BICYCLE

In the Jämi area: Jämikeskus, mountain bikes (in Finnish), Jämi Maat, electric fatbikes (in Finnish), Jämi Sports, fatbikes and mountain bikes (in Finnish) and Luomajärvi Horse Inn, fatbikes and mountain bikes

In Kihniö: Pyhäniemi Wellbeing, electric fatbikes

In the Lauhanvuori area: Isojoen eläinhoitola, fatbikes (in Finnish)

In Parkano: the city of Parkano, fatbikes (in Finnish)

In Siikainen: Tourist Center Eteläpää, fatbikes (in Finnish)

Photo: Jonna Helin Photography, Pyhäniemi Wellbeing

ENJOY THE SLEDDING HILLS

Both kids and the grown-ups go wild in the spectacular sledding hills of the Geopark, which can be found all over the area. Choose the nearest one or test several! Read more in our article.

Photo: Jari Salonen / NaturPro Films, Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland

Sledding will make you hungry for sure. It is so nice to sit down for a while and enjoy some snacks by the campfire. After sledding, enjoy a proper meal in a restaurant or treats in a café or take with you.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Lauhanvuori National Park

Tour skating on tracks

Tour skating on a track is a very nice winter activity. Try ice skating at the Kauhajoki baseball stadium skating rink or on the slightly shorter course at Filppula School (in Finnish). Rent touring skates from Kesport Kauhajoki (in Finnish). Ordinary skates also work great.

There is also a skating track in Kankaanpää at the Riviera (in Finnish).

On the ice of Lake Jämijärvi, a wonderful skating track is maintained according to the ice and snow conditions. You can get information about the situation on the track, for example, from the municipality of Jämijärvi (in Finnish). Currently, there is so much snow on the ice that the route is not in use.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Jämijärvi

Have fun in the snowy Geopark nature

AT YOUR SERVICE

Companies in our area make sure that your visit to the Geopark is as relaxing and successful as possible. Treat yourself in cafes and restaurants or buy ready-made snacks for your nature trips. In the farm shops and boutiques you will find local delicacies, such as fruit wines and lamb sausages, as well as local handicrafts such as Geo sauna elves and hand-made ceramics.

Photo: Ronja Kuokkanen / Outar

Try relaxing wellness services such as peat baths and massages. Also relax in the soft steam in an authentic smoke sauna, for example. Stay in a hotel, inn, or cottage. Quality accommodation options for a wide range of needs are available. Check out our company’s services on our website. You can also easily buy experiences in Geopark’s online store.

Photo: Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere, Kirkkokadun Hyvän Olon Keskus

SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CURRENT OFFER

SALAISEN PUUTARJAN MAJATALO INN AND VALKOINEN PUU CAFE

Stay in the Salaisen Puutarhan Majatalo Inn in Kauhajoki, in a beautifully decorated 19th-century rectory. The inn is located in a rural setting near the services of the town. Visit for example the Katikankanjoni ravine in Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park. After the hiking enjoy hot drinks and delicious stuffed sandwiches and lovely cakes at Valoinen Puu Cafe. Read more on the Inn’s website and Valkoinen Puu’s website.

Photo: Salaisen Puutarhan Majatalo Inn

PERFECT WINTER HOLIDAY AT SYVILLA

Spend a winter holiday of your dreams in SyVilla! In SyVilla you will stay in a cozy setting, relax in the saunas and in the outdoor bath in the peace of nature by the Kovesjärvi lake. The main building accomodates ten people. Hike to a little island and sit by a campfire. Ski on the nearby trails or on the ice of the lake. You can also explore the environment with snowshoes. Read more on SyVilla’s website.

Photo: Hannu Raitio / SyVilla

TAIKAPOLKU TAKES YOU INTO WINTER NATURE WITH SNOWSHOES

Taikapolku takes you on a snowshoe adventures to the enchanting winter nature of Lauhanvuori National Park, the Hyypänjoki Valley and other Geopark destinations. With snowshoes, you’ll find new places outside of the trails. Walk calmly in varied terrain and enjoy nature. Snacks by a campfire will make the atmosphere. Read more on the Taikapolku’s website. You can easily buy your experiences in the online store.

Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku, Lauhanvuori National Park

VISIT THE MILITARY MUSEUM KARHUMÄKI

At the Military Museum Karhumäki, weapons and other artefacts tell you about the wartime history. One of the attractionsis the Mig-21 fighter plane. There is also a village shop museum where you will experience the atmosphere of the 1960s and 70s. The Karhumäki Military Museum is open every week during winter holiday weeks 9 and 10. Read more on the Karhumäki Military Museum’s website.

Photo: Military Museum Karhumäki

Relaxing holiday in Lauhansarvi

Spend a wonderful winter holiday in Lauhansarvi next to Lauhanvuori National Park. Stay in a quality holiday villa and relax in the saunas. Enjoy the traditional smoke sauna, for example, take a peat treatment or choose a sauna with a hot tub. Read more on Lauha’s website and book your accommodation and sauna experience online.

Photo: Lauhatuotanto

Winter in Meggala Winery

Join the winery’s happy winter atmosphere in February! Meggala offers drinks as well as good food and mood and outdoor activities.

  • Afterwork on Fridays from 11.2., happy hour from 4 pm to 6 pm
  • On the restaurant day 12.2.moose stew and mashed potatoes as well as salmon soup are available
  • Moon trip to Sinahmi with snowshoes 19.2.
  • Shrovetide on 27.2.; sledding, horse riding, buns, hot chocolate etc.

More information from the farm’s hostess Sofia Latvajärvi, tel. +358 50 355 3878 and from Meggala’s website

Photo: Winery Meggala

The Geopark companies provide varied services

ENJOY BY A CAMPFIRE

The highlight of a nature trip is to sit and have snacks by a campfire. You can buy ready-made delicacies from the area’s cafés and restaurants. Be enchanted by the blaze of the campfire and listen  to the sounds of the surrounding nature in peace.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie / Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

There are many nice campfire sites in the Geopark area which are for visitors free to use. You can find these places on the Retkikartta map service and on the Geopark municipalities’ own webpages. Making a campfire is allowed only in designated spots. Please also pay attention to Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland’s Covid-19 instructions and mind the Outdoor Etiquette.

Photo: Metsähallitus, Outdoor Etiquette

EXPERIENCE THE GEOPARK THROUGH A FILM

Get to know the inhabitants, the culture and the nature of the area through the Geopark’s In a blink of an eye promotional film. What we see in a blink of an eye is the result of billions of years of geological evolution.

Watch the video on YouTube and enjoy!

Photo: from the film

Main photo: Terttu Hermansson, Haapakeidas

Other photos: Terttu Hermansson, Pasi Talvitie

#lhgeopark #unescoglobalgeoparks #europeangeoparks #finnishgeoparks  #unesco #outdoor #retkeily #luontomatkailu #pyörämatkailu #cyclingtourism #hyvinvointialuonnosta #taiteidenreitti #visittampere #visitlakeus #visitpori #visitsatakunta

Welcome to the winter Geopark!

Christmas atmosphere in the Geopark

Come to the Geopark and enjoy quiet nature by a campfire. Visit the cafés and restaurants in the area. From the boutiques you will buy the most wonderful gifts for Christmas. Feel the peaceful Christmas atmosphere of the Geopark!

Calm down in the Geopark

Forget the hurry in nature in the Geopark. Take a hike and explore the destinations that tell the unique story of the Geopark. The scenery tells about the development of the area from an ancient mountain range to the present landscape with vast open mires.

Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku, Kauhaneva, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

The springs of Hämeenkangas which are open throughout the year, the enchanting spruce gorge of Katikankanjoni, the frosty mires and numerous other magnificent Geopark sites call you for a visit.  Lauhanvuori and Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Parks, for example, are great excursion destinations even in winter. In Lauhanvuori National Park you can even meet Finnish forest deers!

Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku, Lauhanvuori National Park

 

Neva-Lyly is a favorite destination for families with children. Take a hike on the duckboard trail and get to know the story of Wilpertti Gnome who lives in a tiny hut. Eat snacks by a campfire in lean-to or by the lake. In Neva-Lyly you may even heat up the sauna!

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Neva-Lyly

Mountainbikers enjoy riding a bike on the GeoBike route (in Finnish) in Lauhanvuori National Park, on the needle paths of the ridges on Hämeenkangas (in Finnish), the route (in Finnish) in the cultural and forest landscapes of Kauhajoki from Hyyppä valley’s landscape area to Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park and on the wilderness route (in Finnish) from Pyhäniemi to Käsyvuori. The routes are easy to ride and suitable for beginners, too.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Lauhanvuori National Park

You can rent a bicycle from our area (the links in Finnish):

Photo: e-bike Holidays, Pyhäniemi

When there is little snow, the Geopark’s routes and destinations are in use and accessible. However, the Lauhanvuori observation tower will be closed for the winter for safety reasons. When there is enough snow, the Geopark has great opportunities for skiing and sledding.

 Learn more about the Geopark’s destinations and routes on our Discover pages.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Kylmänmyllynlähde, Hämeenkangas

Experience the local culture

In the Geopark you will also discover the fascinating culture of the area. Take a tour in the villages and chat with the locals. For example, the host of Kammi-kylä may tell you stories about former inhabitants of the area. Get to know e.g. the Circle of Art and admire the Geopark’s cultural sites and landscapes in their winter outfits. Learn more about Geopark’s cultural landscapes and significant buildings.

Learn more about the Geopark’s destinations and routes on our Discover pages.

Photo: The town of Kauhajoki, Hämes-Havunen

CALM DOWN IN THE GEOPARK

Enjoy the services and your stay in the Geopark

The companies in our area offer high-quality services to travelers in the area. Check out the wide range on our Services page.

Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku

Visit the Geopark’s cafés and restaurants, where pure local ingredients such as berries, mushrooms and game are prepared to tempting delicacies. You can also buy take away snacks from cafes and restaurants and eat them in the woods.

Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku

In the farm stores and boutiques, you may purchase unique gifts. Buy for yourself or a loved one, for example, soft socks woven from local sheep’s wool or delicacies made from local ingredients. A gift card of a Geopark enterprice is a great gift idea!

Photo: Noora Mäkinen / Tilapuoti Dyrfinna

Take a local guide with you on your trip and you will enjoy Geopark to the fullest. With a local guide, the tour is comfortable and safe, you will find the best routes and the most fascinating destinations and hear stories. Information on local guides can be found on our Activities page.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Alkkianvuori

It is shown that staying and exercising in nature promote health and well-being. You can make the best of the well-being effects of nature under the guidance of dedicated experts. After outdoor activities, you will pamper yourself with, for example, peat treatment and bathing in the smoke sauna and the hot tub in the woods. Learn more on our Wellness page.

Photo: Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere, Kirkkokadun Hyvän Olon Keskus

When the evening comes, it is wonderful to relax in the warmth of the fireplace in a cozy cottage. High-quality and varied accommodation options from cottages to hotels are available throughout the Geopark area. Learn more on our Accommodation page.

Photo: Pyhäniemi Wellbeing

Some gems of the current supply of companies in the area

Lauha’s Christmas delicacies and sauna experiences

Lauha offers Christmas delicacies and sauna experiences in Honkahovi and the Lauhansarvi Nature Tourist Center next to Lauhanvuori National Park. Please, make a table reservation in advance. You can also order Christmas food for your own occasions and choose the delicacies you like from several different menu options. For example, try the GEOfood menus, which are based on regional dishes such as local game, berries and root vegetables.

In Lauhansarvi, you can also enjoy a variety of sauna experiences. Book a smoke sauna, a peat sauna or a sauna with a bath for your family or group. Accomplish your sauna evening with tasty meals. Learn more on Lauha’s website (in Finnish).

Photo: Lauhatuotanto

An authentic country Christmas in Luomajärvi Horse Inn

Experience the Christmas atmosphere in the idyllic rural setting in Luomajärvi Horse Inn. The farm’s horses, ponies and other domestic animals, as well as the top-class restaurant invite you to enjoy and relax. Horse Inn offers e.g. horse rides with delicious snacks by the campfire. Also remember the gift cards (in Finnish) of the Horse Inn.

A wonderful Christmas lunch is served in the restaurant on 24th of December. Please, book your table for Christmas lunch in advance. You can also spend a memorable country Christmas in the Inn with its unique accommodations, meals and programs. Learn more on the Inn’s website (in Finnish).

Photo: Luomajäri Horse Inn

Come to the Horse Inn’s Christmas market On Sunday, December 19, 2021. In the old barn where stable lanterns twinkle, the products of local craftsmen and farms are sold. Rice porridge and Christmas pastries are enjoyed in the Christmas café, and more meaty delicacies are served in the yard. Taste also homemade Christmas glogg and glühwein. Learn more on the Inn’s Facebook page (in Finnish).

Photo: Luomajäri Horse Inn

Delicacies at Café Postelli

Pop in to the atmospheric Café Postelli located next to the famous market place in Kankaanpää! The red-brick, sympathetic, former post office built in the 1930s is an attraction in itself.

The café serves tempting savory and sweet delicacies. The pastries are made on site by Postelli’s own baker. Order the most beautiful biscuits and tasty cakes and loafs for your own Christmas table as well! Learn more on Postelli’s website (in Finnish).

Photo: Café Postelli

Meggala Winery’s Christmas shop with wines and gifts

Buy wonderful local wines, mulled wine and ciders for your Christmas table from the winery Meggala. You can also taste Meggala’s drinks in the winery’s own, atmospheric café-restaurant.

In addition to drinks, you can also buy pastries from Julia’s bakery and local handicrafts for yourself or for a gift. Meggala’s elves welcome you to the farm shop every day (except Mondays) and especially on Sat 18.12. for the winery’s Christmas market. Learn more on the Meggala Winery’s website (in Finnish).

Photo: Meggala Winery

Fabulous Christmas in Valkoinen Puu Cafe & Shop

Valkoinen Puu Cafe & Shop along the main street of the town of Kauhajoki, in the former Ollonqvist commercial house, invites you to enjoy the atmosphere and famous delicacies of the café. Sea buckthorn-meringue ​cake, Lapland’s mother’s lingonberry dream cake and numerous other wonderful pastries are handmade in the café’s own bakery from local ingredients.

In the café’s shop, you can buy the most beautiful and delicious Christmas gifts pre-packaged. Handmade delicacies baked from high-quality, local, organic ingredients, jams and juices from a nearby farm, as well as ceramics from the café’s owner couple, are sure to delight the recipient of the gift. Also remember the gift cards of Valkoinen Puu! Learn more on the Valkoinen Puu website.

Photo: Valkoinen Puu

For Christmas, a unique Secret Garden Inn will open in Kauhajoki, in the former Äijälä parsonage, located nearby the Valkoinen Puu Café. You can see on Instagram (@salaisen.puutarhan.majatalo) the owner couple of Valkoinen Puu, Kirsi and Mark, preparing the Inn to receive the first guests.

Photo: Valkoinen Puu

Enjoy the Geopark’s high-quality services

Relax by a campfire

The Geopark has lots of great resting places where you can spend time by a campfire. There is firewood freely available to visitors in most of these sites. Campfires are only allowed at marked campfire sites. You can find some of these on the Retkikartta map service. You can find information on other campfire sites on the Geopark municipalities’ web pages.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Spitaalijärvi, Lauhanvuori National Park

Outdoor Etiquette

When hiking, it is always important to consider nature and other people. Respect nature in every way and keep pets in the leash. Prevent the waste in advance. Bring your debris out of the forest and sort the garbage properly. Please use marked trails and follow the rules for different modes of travel. Stay overnight only in marked camping areas.

Learn more: Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland’s Outdoor Etiquette and How to act responsibly when visiting the Geopark

Photo: Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland, Outdoor Etiquette

Please notice the valid regional corona pandemic restrictions and recommendations (Satakunta / Southern Ostrobothnia / Pirkanmaa, in Finnish) as well as Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland’s corona virus guidelines when visiting the Geopark. Please always check the realisation of events and the availability of services on the organizers’ web pages. The Geopark is not responsible for any changes.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Katikankanjoni, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Experience the Geopark through a film

Get to know the inhabitants, culture and nature of the area through the Geopark’s In a blink of an eye promotional film. What we see in a blink of an eye is the result of billions of years of geological evolution.

Watch the video on YouTube and enjoy!

Terttu Hermansson: Terttu Hermansson, Olu Bryki Raum / Suupohja Brewery in Korsukylä

Main photo: Pasi Talvitie, Hämeenkangas

Other photos: Terttu Hermansson, Pasi Talvitie

#lhgeopark #unescoglobalgeoparks #europeangeoparks #finnishgeoparks #unesco #outdoor #retkeily #luontomatkailu #hyvinvointialuonnosta #sdgs2030 #taiteidenreitti #visittampere #visitlakeus #visitpori

Welcome to the Geopark at Christmas time!

Nature gave strength to the elderly

This year the theme of the National Elderly Week in early October was “Nature Gives Strength”. Geopark, in cooperation with the municipality of Jämijärvi, took the elderly on excursions to Geopark sites.

The municipality of Jämijärvi, together with partners, organized a diverse program for each day of the Elderly Week. The aim of the Geopark excursions was to encourage older people from Jämijärvi to get to know Geopark and its destinations and enjoy the well-being effects of nature.

Photo: Pekka Kauraharju, Kauhalammi, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Wellness trail in Niiniharju

On Monday morning, October 4, 2021, people gathered in Niiniharju, Hämeenkangas, where the municipality’s welfare manager Toni Ojala guided easy exsercises at the beginning. The locals were already familiar with the destination, but Geopark Ranger Kristiina Peltomaa brought a new kind of content and depth to the trip with her knowledge of Geopark and nature. In the landscapes of Niiniharju people walked a route along which Suomen Latu’s question boards about wellbeing (in Finnish) were attached.

Photo: Pasi talvitie, Niiniharju, Hämeenkangas

By the question boards with beautiful nature photos they stopped to consider the factors that affect one’s own well-being. The questions challenged hikers, for example, to think about what brings joy to everyday life, what is good in life and what beautiful can be seen at that moment.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson

After the walk, the snacks offered by Geopark were eaten by the campfire. Lomahotelli Jämi delivered mouth-watering offerings to the lean-to, where the representatives of the municipality took care of the campfire, atmosphere and serving. There were thirty participants in the trip.

Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku

A trip to Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

On Wednesday morning, 6 October 2021, the hikers left Jämijärvi towards Kauhanevan-Pohjankangas National Park on a charter bus financed by the municipality. Geopark Ranger Kristiina Peltomaa got the hikers to the atmosphere during the trip by telling about Geopark and the day’s excursion destination, Kauhaneva. The representative of the municipality on the trip was Pekka Kauraharju.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kauhalammi, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

In Kauhaneva people divided into three groups. Kristiina took the group, who moved at a calm pace, on a short route, whose recently renovated structures make the mire nature easily accessible. On the way, they watched birds with binoculars and Kristiina also told about other inhabitants of the mires. Participants were happy with what they got to see and experience in the mire thanks to the wide plank trail and other structures.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Kauhalammi, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Geopark Ranger Päivi Nummijoki continued with another group to the beautiful Kauhalammi and to the Nummikangas observation tower, where they admired the unique mire landscapes that open from the tower. During the trip, Päivi told stories, among other things from the medieval Kyrönkangas road along which hikers hike in the national park.

Photo: Päivi Nummijoki, Nummikangas observation tower, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Some of the hikers went on their own to go along the Kauhalammi trail. The Rangers’ spouses kept a campfire at Salomaa, where the hikers had snacks offered by Geopark. Delicious snacks were prepared by Kotipata Karvia. After the coffee, Kristiina led the crowd to the edge of the mire, and told about it. Before going home, Kristiina guided some exercise, which the participants approached with humor. There were forty participants on the trip.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kauhalammi, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Joy and gratitude from nature

The Geopark excursions for the Elderly Week clearly brought joy to the participants and humor was present all the time. The weather favored the hikers, and the atmosphere was sunny among the participants as well.

“It is very good that Geopark was involved in providing experiences for the elderly in Geopark’s nature. The hikers exuded positivity and gratitude. It’s great that the Geopark flag is fluttering in such a positive situations. Geopark is a gift for the residents of the area.”, Kristiina summed up the feelings after the excursions.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

#lhgeopark #unescoglobalgeoparks #geopark #globalgeoparks #europeangeoparks #finnishgeoparks #unesco #lauhanvuoriregion #outdoor #retkeily #luontomatkailu #hyvinvointialuonnosta #sdgs2030

The excursions were organized as part of the rural-funded Kestävää kehitystä Geoparkissa project.

 

Text: Laura Koivumäki

Main photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kauhalammi, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Last photo: Pasi Talvitie

Nature gives strength and joy

Enchanting autumn of the Geopark

In the autumn, you can experience the atmosphere of the north in the Geopark. The stunning colors of autumn, the preparation of nature for winter, the migration of birds and the sunny days call you for a hike.

Unforgettable autumn trips in the Geopark

Hiking in autumn when the air is fresh is a Geopark experience at its best. The mires are especially wonderful in the autumn. Hike the trails, cycle along the small roads or find some other way you like to explore the Geopark. You can find Geopark’s places to visit and routes on our Discover pages.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kauhaneva, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

In the fall, forests and mires offer huge amounts of wild berries such as lingonberries and cranberries, as well as a wide variety of mushrooms, which one can pick freely. In the pure nature of Geopark, you can collect these ingredients of delicious food and at the same time also benefit from the well-being effects of being in nature. Read more on our articles Mother Nature’s convenience store and Forest baths in the Geopark.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson

On a rainy autumn day or when the evenings get dark, you can just pull on the wool socks and warm up by the fireplace of the cottage. Atmospheric accommodation options in the Geopark can be found on our Accommodation page.

Photo: Korsuretket, Pikku-Itävalta

For a mire trip with children 

The Geopark has several mire sites where hiking is easy, safe and comfortable even with children. Welcome to a mire adventure in the Geopark: pack your favorite snacks in the backpack and come to duckboard trails to admire the great colors of the mires! You can find the mire sites and the best tips for children in our article.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Vaarinneva, Hämeenkangas

Bike in the Geopark

It is worth exploring the Geopark and its destinations by cycling either alone, with a friend or with a larger group. Enjoy the countryside on the small roads or the forests and mires on the mountain bike trails. The Geopark’s routes are easy and also suitable for inexperienced cyclists. Read more about our biking tips in the article (in Finnish).

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Kauhaneva, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

You can rent a bicycle from our area:

Kuva: Pasi Talvitie, bike from e-bike Holidays

Use the services and enjoy your stay

The companies in the area offer diverse, high-quality and nature-friendly tourism services for day visitors and those staying longer in the area. For further information visit our Services pages.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Alkkianvuori

Taste regional cuisine in the Geopark’s cafés and restaurants. Skilled bakers and chefs prepare delicacies in which wild berries, mushrooms and other local ingredients have a main role. In the farm stores and boutiques, you make unique purchases.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, cake from Kahvila-Konditoria Postelli

On guided tours and activities, you will enjoy the Geopark deeply. You can also rent equipment for independent adventures. After the outdoors, pamper yourself with wellness services. Stay in a cosy cottage or in a small hotel. High-quality accommodation options for a wide range of needs are available throughout the area.

Photo: UK-Majoitus

ENJOY HIGH-QUALITY AND NATURE-FRIENDLY SERVICES

Picks from the current offering of our area

By the campfire in the Alpo’s savannah

Stay at the campfire site in the Alpo’s savannah ITE art park. In the campfire site only screws and nails are new. The legs of the benches are old metal and rubber rings, and the wood used is old too. The fire is made in an old pot. The firewood used to be a barrel of oil. The campfire site can be used freely as long as safety is ensured. Read more about the Alpo’s savannah and the Arts Route (in Finnish).

Come to the Alpo’s savannah campfire site on Wed 29.9. at 12 to 1pm. and make the Savannah Rose and discuss culture and rural villages. The event is part of a nationwide Rural Parliament. Read more about the event (in Finnish).

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Alpo’s savannah

Visit the Visit Suupohja website before a trip 

The versatile and inspiring Visit Suupohja tourism website presents the offerings of Geopark’s northernmost municipalities and their surrounding municipalities also outside the Geopark area. On the website, you will find Nature Destinations and Routes in the Suupohja Region, as well as cultural sites and accommodation, food, activities and other services. Read more on the Visit Suupohja website (in Finnish).

Photo: Visit Suupohja, Hyypänjoki Valley

Probably the best chocolate cake in Finland

Is the chocolate cake of Valkoinen Puu Cafe the best in Finland? Visit the Kauhajoki café, taste this delicacy which is the most popular in the selection and decide for yourself! Baked with locally produced organic spelt, the Secret Garden’s Chocolate Cake attracts customers to Valkoinen Puu cafes up to hundreds of kilometers away.

In addition to this favorite chocolate cake, the gluten-free and lactose-free apple-caramel brita and a gluten-free, velvety chocolate dream cake suitable for vegans are also just some examples of the delicacies offered in the cafe. Read more on the Valkoinen Puu website.

Photo: Valkoinen Puu

Sauna experiences at Kirkkokatu Wellness Center

After the hike, warm up in the saunas of the Kirkkokatu Wellness Center. Children have their own fairytale sauna experience, where fun sloth, teddy bear or flower masks can be used for skin care. In the sauna for couples, you relax by candlelight and enjoy the skin-friendly complaints of organic products. Read more on the website.

Photo: Kirkkokatu Wellness Center

Experience the unique Arts Route from Kammi to Skantz

Along the Arts Route, you can visit five magnificent destinations: Kammi-kylä Village, Alpo’s savannah, Anne’s Art Café, Karvia Church and the open-air museum area, and the Skantz Cultural Center.

Each destination on the route, located in the municipalities of Kauhajoki and Karvia, has its own story. Each site is full of detailed and unique art. Take the entire 37 km route or visit individual destinations. Read more on the brochure, the map and the website (all in Finnish), and take a closer look at the Arts Route.

Photo: The Arts Route from Kammi to Skantz

Delicacies and Geonalle products in Raijanholvi

Raijanholvi offers delicious home-cooked food at the lunch buffet. Jellies and jams for the cakes are made by self from local berries. For sale are Raijanholvi’s own finalist berry meringues as well as Geonalle’s products, such as hats, kuksas, mugs, booklets and dark blueberry chocolate with Geonalle’s picture. Read more on Raijanholvi’s web pages (in Finnish).

Photo: Raijanholvi

KykyDesign’s Art Diving

Finding talent is an art that focuses on involving people. The services of KykyDesign include cultural well-being services, where the main emphasis is on promoting health and well-being.

The new concept of the autumn is an experiential Art Diving (Taidesukellus®) workshop (3 h), which is well suited for companies or hikers looking for their creativity. Now it is time to book an activity for the Christmas seasons parties as well. KykyDesigns is located in the former Yrjänäinen school in Kauhajoki, but they can also come to you if necessary! Read more on KykyDesign’s website (in Finnish).

AUTUMN IS THE BEST TIME FOR HIKING

Get yourself warm and have snacks by the campfire

Enjoy snacks by the campfire. You can also sit down to eat and admire the scenery at the beak of any stump. When sitting and eating snacks, you have time to notice even the smallest details of the environment. You can buy snacks with you from the cafés and restaurants in the area.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Lauhanvuori National Park

There are lots of great resting places in the geopark where you can spend time by the campfire. In most of the places there is firewood freely available to visitors. You can find most of the resting places on the Retkikartta map service. Information about other resting places you can find on the Geopark municipalities’ own websites.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Lauhanvuori National Park

Outdoor etiquette

When hiking, it is always important to consider nature and other people. A smart hiker respects nature in every way, keeps pets in leashes, prevents debris from forming in advance, and brings debris out of the terrain and sorts it properly.

Please use marked trails and follow the rules for different modes of travel. Stay overnight only in marked camping areas.

Photo: Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland, Outdoor Etiquette

Campfires are allowed only on marked places. Always check the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s website for current warnings. During a forest or grass fire warning, fires are strictly prohibited. Learn more about Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland’s Outdoor Etiquette.

Read more about how to act responsibly while visiting the Geopark.

Photo: Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland, Outdoor Etiquette

EXPERIENCE THE GEOPARK THROUGH A FILM

Get to know the inhabitants, the culture and the nature of the area through the Geopark’s In a blink of an eye promotional film. What we see in a blink of an eye is the result of billions of years of geological evolution.

Watch the video on YouTube and enjoy!

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Pauliina Lilja from Lilja’s Yarn Shop is knitting mittens with glass veranda pattern, Local History Museum of Siikainen

Main photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Kauhaneva, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Parks

Other photos: Terttu Hermansson

#lhgeopark #unescoglobalgeoparks #europeangeoparks #finnishgeoparks  #unesco #outdoor #retkeily #luontomatkailu #pyörämatkailu #cyclingtourism #hyvinvointialuonnosta #taiteidenreitti #visittampere #visitlakeus #visitsatakunta

WELCOME TO THE AUTUMN GEOPARK!

Built cultural environments of the Geopark

There are diverse built cultural environments in the Lauhanvuori - Hämeenkangas UNESCO Global Geopark. The area has historic countryside with peasant houses and more modern architecture.

Built cultural environment

The built cultural environment consists of  structures of a community, buildings with indoor and outdoor spaces, courtyards, parks, bridges and other elements. The built cultural environment includes both old peasant houses and modern industrial buildings. Often the unique architecture as well as the representative buildings and villages sare landmarks and emblems of their area.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Kankaanpää Academy

There are several nationally significant built environments in the Geopark area. There is representative peasant architecture in the villages of Vuorijärvi and Leppijärvi in Siikainen, Karviankylä in Karvia and in the Isojoki River Valley in Isojoki. The red brick architecture of the center of Kankaanpää and the barracks area of the Niinisalo garrison represent modern architecture.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Siikainen

The peasant architecture of Siikainen

The Siikainen area once had large forest resources and, in addition to them, good log floating opportunities to nearby sawmills. The selling of logs made the peasants wealthy. They showed prosperity by grand buildings. The gems of peasant architecture of Siikainen are decorative and angled glass porches with numerous window panes. Porches were usually decorated by itinerant builders who had gained the skills by building ships. They could get paid a coin, one mark, for every window pane.

Glass porches are beautiful but also laborious to make and maintain. It is said that there was a porch in Ylisentalo in Vuorijärvi Village with a window pane for every day of the year. The hostess of the house was very tired of washing the tiny windows. The decorative glass porch can also be found in the old elementary school in the center of Siikainen, which was built in 1882. The building has been called the porch school and today it is a local history museum.

Photo: Sari Vuorela, Siikainen Local History Museum

The main buildings of the peasant farms are long and narrow. In addition to the beautiful glass porches, the buildings are often decorated with dinner bells on the roofs. Well-preserved examples of the old building stock can be found, for example, in the villages of Vuorijärvi and Leppijärvi.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Siikainen

Hämes-Havunen

A representative example of 19th-century South Ostrobothnian peasant architecture in Kauhajoki is the Hämes-Havunen closed yard complex. The complex is part of the Hyypänjokilaakso landscape management area and is currently a popular venue. It is the best-preserved old building stock in the area and is closely linked to the history of the settlement of the Kauhajoki River.

Hämes-Havunen’s two-storey main house was built in 1827 and the small house in the 1860s. The third side of the yard is bordered by a long row of barns, and the sides of the area are bordered by animal shelters and a barn. Outside the closed yard you will find a sauna, a workshop and two barns. The buildings were laid out in the shape of a closed yard for practical reasons. The closed yard protected from meat-eating beasts. The construction method also saved space.

Photo: Kauhajoen kaupunki, Hämes-Havunen

Hämes-Havunen is located by the Kyrönjoki River. The old Kyrönkangas road from the medieval times passes the farm. It is known that Tyni Hannunpoika, the ancestor of the Havunen family, arrived along the road in the 17th century. The first building on the site was a fishing hut built by the river. Residential and other buildings were later built. Once a tavern served bypassers in Hämes-Havunen. Construction on the present site began in the 19th century.

Photo: Riitta Alapiha, Hämes-Havunen

An author and a collector of folklore Samuli Paulaharju described the settlement of Kauhajoki in 1935 as follows (in Finnish): ”Sanotaan Hämeen rintamailta, Hauhoosta tulleen ensimmäisen talontekijän näin maille, ja Hämes-Havuusen hän ryskäsi jokirantaan – tulevalle Kauhajoen rinnalle. Kolkkona korpena, rumana ryteikkönä silloin oli koko ranta, kun hauhoolainen sen otti kotopaikakseen.” 

“Mutta rintaa se nyt on. Ja komeana kohoaa nyt Hämes-Havunen rukihisten peltojensa keskellä, ja ylpeinä seisoa könnäävät varijalaat isäntänsä ja kotopaikkansa vartijoona. Siinä kaksikerroksinen tuparati, vellikello vielä harjalla, porttikäytävä pihaan, hauskat ristikkoaidat talontien kahta puolta, ja tien vieressä vanhojen aittojen sievä kunnianarvoisa kolmiyhteys. Hyvin kehtaa olla koko pitäjehen vanhimpana.” 

Photo: Riitta Alapiha, Hämes-Havunen

Hämes-Havunen is a magnificent and nationally valuable architectural heritage site. In Southern Ostrobothnia, the selling of tar made peasants wealthy. Thus it was possible to build grand residential buildings and surrounding outbuildings. Hämes-Havunen had a large amount of forest. Tar as well as animal husbandry made the farm rich. There used to be a tradition in the area that the family house should always be left to the next generation in better condition than it has been received. Thus the farms became more grand generation by generation. The municipality of Kauhajoki bought the building complex in the 1970s and it was renovated.

Photo: Riitta Alapiha, Hämes-Havunen

Sanssi Manor House

Sanssi Manor House, which currently serves as a venue and a banquet hall, is located in the center of Kauhajoki. Despite its name, the building has not been an actual mansion, but a large farm. In the 19th century, this Yli-Knuuttila farm was owned by the Von Schantz family, who came to Finland from Germany, and from which the building got its name. The main building was built in 1863.

The farm was owned by the family for over a hundred years, and during that time the farm had three different masters. All of them were well-known men in Kauhajoki and active in positions of responsibility. The family sold the manor to the municipality of Kauhajoki in 1903, and the building served as a nursing home until 1986. In 1997, Sanssinkartano was renovated to its current glory.

Photo: Sirkku Ylikoski, Sanssi Manor House

Isojoki River Valley village settlement and the church landscape

In Isojoki, the traditional South Ostrobothnian building stock can be found in the Isojoki River Valley. Isojoki was a wilderness area for a long time, until in the 16th century. During the Vaasa period, wilderness began to be inhabited and taken for cultivation. At that time, the settlement naturally settled on the fertile lands of the river valley.

The historical settlement on the ridges of the hills adjacent to the Isojoki River Valley has been preserved in the vicinity of the church and in Koppelonkylä. The area has typical South Ostrobothnian-style long, one-and-a-half-storey peasant buildings with enclosed square courtyards. Old stone fences line the old roads in the Isojoki River Valley. The centerpiece of the field landscape is a cross church designed by Carl Ludvig Engel from 1833.

Photo: Isojoki Church

Karviankylä Village

Karviankylä village represents the oldest village settlement in Karvia, and its history dates back to the mid-17th century. The village has a typical peasant building stock from northern Satakunta. The most notable of the individual buildings is the Lähdeniemi building group, which includes the main building, a granary row, a special-shaped warehouse and an old basement. The small fields of the agricultural landscape slope towards the Karvianjärvi Lake.

Photo: Arto Ala-Karvia, Karviankylä Village

The old granary of Kontti Village

In Kontti Village in Jämijärvi is an interesting historical building, the old granary of Kontti’s farm. The granary may be one of the oldest wooden buildings in Finland and may date from 1553, as this year’s engraving can be found on the wall of the granary. The granary may have been moved to its current location in 1880. According to the memory, the building has been used, among other things, temporarily to store clothes and other small items.

If the granary was indeed built in the 1550s, which is likely, it has its roots in the time hunting and fishing economy of the Northern Satakunta. Therefore, its original use has probably been the preservation of grains and possibly the preservation of game birds and furskins.

Photo: Tuomo Leikkola, Kontti Village

The architecture of Kankaanpää

There is more modern architecture in Kankaanpää, of which’s center is a lively and traditional marketplace. There are business spaces around the marketplace dating back to the reconstruction period. One of the most interesting buildings is Postelli from the 1930s, a former post office. Today, there is a cozy café in the building.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Postelli

In Kankaanpää, market days began to be held in 1902 in the square in front of the church. The market was moved to its current location in 1912, after which the center of Kankaanpää began to form around it. As the popularity of the market grew, the rather small market area was expanded and the sheds with wood shingle roofs were built.

At first, animals were also sold at the market, but later a separate animal market was set up for the animal trade. Partly with the market days, Kankaanpää became the center of its economic area, and the market days became the market of the whole area of the northern Satakunta. The market of Kankaanpää is still lively, and market days are held once a week on Thursdays, and also on Saturdays during the summer.

Photo: Niilo Santaharju, Satakunta Museum, Museovirasto-Finna, Kankaanpää marketplace at 1928

Kankaanpää is known for its distinctive red brick architecture. Red brick was chosen as a façade material due to the local brick industry. Later, red brick was deliberately chosen, and it became a very popular building material in Kankaanpää, both in public buildings and in residential, commercial and industrial construction.

Photo: Juha Levonen, Kankaanpää

The main architectural sites of Kankaanpää are the town hall from 1967 and the sports center and a former parish center, which were completed in the 1970s. These buildings were designed by Kaija and Heikki Siren. The office center, completed in 1992, is also a well-known red brick, and was designed by Kouvo & Partanen Architects. The same office has designed the Kankaanpää Art School, which was completed in 1995. You may find the sites on the architectural map.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Kankaanpään Town Hall

You can get to know the interesting architecture of Kankaanpää with the exhibition VIIVA of the Kankaanpää Town Museum. The exhibition tells about modern architecture and urban planning in Kankaanpää from the 1930s to the present day. The exhibition is open until April 2022.

Photo: Kankaanpään Town Museum

The barracks area of the Niinisalo garrison

The barracks area of the Niinisalo garrison in Kankaanpää is one of the nationally significant built cultural environments. It represents the advanced architecture of the Finnish Defense Forces in the 1930s. The Niinisalo barracks area was established in the 1930s as a nationwide military refresher course center.

The buildings represent ascetic functionalism, characterized by smooth plastered facades. In the middle of the area is a barracks building built in 1935 as a military refresher course center for the army. The main designer of the area was architect Kalle Lehtovuori. In addition to the barracks building, he designed other essential buildings in the 1930s, such as the sauna, the hospital, the kitchen, the canteen as well as the cafe and bakery building, the apartment building of the officers, and the test shooting station.

Photo: Museovirasto-Finna, Niinisalo garrison in 1939

In the 1940s, the LottaSvärd cafe, which is nowadays a canteen, was built. The building was restored in the 1990s according to the original architecture. Next to the building is the former residential building of the Lottas, Impilinna, built in the 1940s.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Niinisalo Canteen

In 1957-1958, residential buildings were built in Niinisalo using the Selvaag method. The Selvaag houses originate in Norway where they were designed for the needs of the post-war housing shortage. The houses have been built using very simple methods without anything useless and irrelevant. The low price of residential houses and the speed of construction were important features during the reconstruction period. In Finland, in addition to Niinisalo, there are Selvaag houses in Helsinki, Oulu and Joensuu, among others.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Niinisalon Selvaag Houses

The built cultural environments are the representative landmarks of the Geopark

Cultural environments representing different eras and building styles can be found in the Geopark area. The unique architecture and buildings are representative landmarks of municipalities and villages. Peasant architecture expresses former life in the countryside. The area’s natural resources of the forests made the peasants wealthy. The wealth was shown by grand houses with beautiful porches. Across the Geopark area you can find such Magnificent old peasant houses and these historic courtyards.

Photo: Eino Nikkilä, Museokeskus-Finna, Otamo’s Vanhatalo at 1930

Those looking for more modern architecture can admire Kankaanpää’s distinctive red-brick architecture and the town’s lively market square with its surroundings. By the Niinisalo garrison, you can get acquainted with the nationally significant built environment. The garrison brought life and services to the area. In the 1940s, several cafés, a hotel and a cinema were found along the village road of Niinisalo.

Photo: Museovirasto-Finna, Niinisalo Centre at the 1970’s

Text: Jenna-Maria Lehmijoki

Main photo: Riitta Alapiha

Photos of the other headings: Terttu Hermansson, Julia Kivelä

Literature (in Finnish):

Collander, Raija. 1999. Siikaisten lasikuistit – Pohjois-Satakunnan kaunottaret.

Kankaanpään kaupunginmuseo Museo – Kankaanpään kaupunki (kankaanpaa.fi) 

Kankaanpään kulttuuriympäristöohjelma https://www.kankaanpaa.fi/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Kankaanpaan_kulttuuriymparistoohjelma.pdf 

Museovirasto https://www.museovirasto.fi/fi/kulttuuriymparisto/rakennettu-kulttuuriymparisto/valtakunnallisesti-merkittavat-rakennetut-kulttuuriymparistot

Lions Club Kauhajoki ry. 2006. Hämes-Havunen – Pohjalaista rakennustaitoa jälkipolville.  Hämes-Havunen | Kauhajoki tutuksi

Museoviraston Valtakunnallisesti merkittävät rakennetut kulttuuriympäristöt –palvelu RKY  ι  Museovirasto

Parkanon rakennetun ympärstön selvitys https://www.parkano.fi/images/stories/Parkanon_rakennetut_kulttuuriympristt.pdf

Pihlaja, Mirjam. 1984. Isojoen pitäjän kirja

Satakunnan Museon y-pakki palvelu y-pakki – tietoa palvelusta (y-pakki.fi)

Selvaag-talot https://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selvaag-talo

Siikaisten matkailukohteet Kohteet – Siikainen 

Uusi-Seppä, Niina. 2012. Satakunnan kulttuuriympäristöt – eilen, tänään, huomenna.

Valonen, N. 1946. Vuosiluvulla merkittyjä rakennuksia Ikaalisten ja Parkanon seudulta. Satakunnan Kotiseutututkimuksia 12.

Explore the Geopark’s valuable built cultural environments

Hämes-Havunen

Learn more on the web pages of Kauhajoki (in Finnish).

Address: Koskenkyläntie 312, Kauhajoki

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.38943, 22.23896

Photo: Riitta Alapiha

THE VILLAGE SETTLEMENT OF THE ISOJOKI VALLEY AND THE CHURCH LANDSCAPE OF THE ISOJOKI RIVER

Learn more on the web pages of Finnish Heritage Agency (in Finnish).

Address: Honkajoentie 1, Isojoki (Isojoen kirkon parkkipaikka)

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.11373, 21.95791

Photo: Isojoki Church

The architecture of Kankaanpää

Learn more the web pages of Visit Kankaanpää (in Finnish).

Address: Kauppatori 2, Kankaanpää (Kankaanpään marketplace)

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.80447, 22.39438

Photo: Kankaanpää

Karviankylä Village

Learn more the Lauhanvuoriregion.fi web pages.

Address: Karviankyläntie 592, Karvia

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.21920, 22.67459

Photo: Arto Ala-Karvia, Karviankylä Village

The old granary of Kontti Village

Address: Private

Photo: Tuomo Leikkola

The barracks area of the Niinisalo garrison

Learn more on the web pages of Finnish Heritage Agency (in Finnish).

Address: Kotitie 32, Niinisalo (Niinisalo Canteen)

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.83884, 22.46868

Photo: Museovirasto-Finna

Sanssi Manor House

Learn more on the web pages of Sanssi Manor House (in Finnish).

Address: Ullantie 7, Kauhajoki

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.42490, 22.17587

Photo: Sanssi Manor House

The peasant architecture of Siikainen

Learn more on the web pages of Siikainen (in Finnish).

Address: Kirkkotie 3, Siikainen (Siikainen Local History Museum)

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.87163, 21.81983

Photo: Sari Vuorela

There is valuable cultural heritage in the Geopark

Cultural landscapes and villages

The beautiful cultural landscapes and rural villages of Lauhanvuori - Hämeenkangas UNESCO Global Geopark are part of the cultural heritage of the area. These environments tell us about the lives of past generations.

CULTURAL LANDSCAPES TELL ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE AREA

Cultural environments are areas and places that have arisen from the interaction of man and nature. Cultural environments consist of ancient relics, architectural heritage and cultural landscapes. In cultural landscapes traces of both natural history and human activities can be seen. Signs of the Ice Age, as well as people’s livelihoods, housing, movement and beliefs, can be found in the cultural landscape.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Siikainen

We have 156 nationally valuable landscapes in Finland which are the most representative cultural landscapes of our countryside. In the Geopark area, Hyypänjokilaakso and Vihteljärvi-Niemenkylä are nationally valuable landscape areas. There are also other beautiful cultural landscapes and historic rural villages in the area. Along watercourses, for example, culturally and historically significant sites with traces of mill and sawmill activities can be found.

Photo: Antti Luusalo, Kairokoski, Parkano

THE HYYPÄNJOKI VALLEY LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT AREA

The nationally valuable landscape area of the Hyypänjoki valley is located in Kauhajoki. The valley’s impressive landforms, together with the area’s geological background, biodiversity and human impact, make the area especially valuable. The building stock with its Ostrobothnian features, barns and other rural buildings, forest pastures, open ditches and forest islands represent an open countryside landscape.

The Hyypänjoki valley is a living countryside that is actively managed. One of its special features is the lively village activities. The main occupation of the area is agriculture, the practice of which began in the 16th century with permanent settlement. In total, the Hyypänjoki valley includes twenty different villages. Hyyppä is one of the first villages in Kauhajoki, and it was formerly known as Rauhanhyyppä.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Hyypänjoki, Kauhajoki

The Hyypänjoki valley has buildings of many ages and the oldest structures date back to  the 18th century. The building stock is characterized by Ostrobothnian features, such as the grouping of buildings around a closed yard that protects from the wind.

The closed yards in the area have been partially opened, and therefore there are very few left. However, most yards are still bounded on at least two sides by a building. The main building of many of the old farms is a large, one and a half storey, long rectangular and red-molded Ostrobothnian house. The best-known example of the old building stock is Hämes-Havunen which is currently a popular venue.

Photo: Riitta Alapiha, Hämes-Havunen, Kauhajoki

VIHTELJÄRVI-NIEMENKYLÄ LANDSCAPE AREA

The formation of Vihteljärvi-Niemenkylä cultural landscape in Kankaanpää and Lavia has been influenced by the drying of the lakes at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. As a result, coastal waters turned into accretion and to meadows. Later, the meadows were cleared as arable land. Over time, small field patches merged, and today there are large open fields in the area.

According to some stories, the village of Vihteljärvi has been the most famous shoemaker village in our country. A tight community of shoemakers formed around the Vihteljärvi lake even before the 20th century. Shoemaking was a common profession in Kankaanpää, which greatly influenced the development of the municipality. As elsewhere, in the village of Vihteljärvi the profession was often inherited from father to son, which strengthened the area’s shoemaking community and the preservation of tradition.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Vihteljärvi, Kankaanpää

The classic rural community house Toukola from 1936 and farm houses from the early 20th century represent the old building stock of Vihteljärvi village. In the courtyards of several farms you will find old buildings such as various types of barns. The beautiful porches of the main buildings are typical in the village.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Toukola, Kankaanpää

CULTURAL LANDSCAPE OF RUOKOJÄRVI

The cultural landscape of the Ruokojärvi lake in Kankaanpää is of national value. The landscape originates from the 16th century as people settled down in the old hunting areas of Satakunta. The landscape is formed by groups of old buildings, fields by the lake and Kankaanpää Church.

Alakylä village is the old village of Kankaanpää, and it represents the oldest peasant settlement in the region. The village is located by the lake. Alakylä village has retained the look of an old rural village, although a town has been formed next to it. Farms dating back to the 19th century form a cohesive group in the field landscape between the church and the lake. The oldest road in Kankaanpää has passed between the courtyard buildings of Päivike and Vanha-Honko farms. On the shores of the Ruokojärvi lake is an ancient gathering place for young people, Kelminmäki.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Ruokojärvi, Kankaanpää

The premises of the folk high school, Kankaanpää Institute, founded in 1909, are located by the Ruokojärvi lake. The main building, built in the classical style, dates from 1928 and was designed by Elias Paalanen. The art nouveau dormitory dates back to 1914.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Kankaanpää Institute, Kankaanpää

CULTURAL LANDSCAPE OF THE RIVER VIINIKANJOKI

In Parkano, the Viinikanjoki river and the low-lying riparian fields form a cultural landscape. The landscape has formed over time as a result of a long period of clearing and the establishment and division of farms. Historically, agriculture was concentrated on the lower shores of the Viinikanjoki river and the Kirkkojärvi lake. The Viinikanjoki region represents the oldest agricultural landscape in its area. According to folklore, Parkano takes its name from the peeled spruce or pine, which grew from the confluence of the river that flows from the Kirkkojärvi lake to the Viinikanjoki river.

Photo: Antti Luusalo, Viinikanjoki, Parkano

In the agricultural landscape of the Viinikanjoki river is the square, rustic courtyard of Kana farm. The farm has presumably been in the same place since the Middle Ages. The village of Parkano developed around Kana farm. The current main building dates from the 1880s and the barn building from the early 20th century. In addition, there are several other old buildings in the courtyard.

The Viinikanjoki river and its surroundings have been an important route, wilderness area and place of residence. The river is part of a chain of rivers and lakes north of the Kyrösjärvi lake. During the Bronze and Iron Ages, it offered the population of Lower Satakunta and Pirkanmaa a route towards the Kyrönjoki river, and in the Middle Ages the Viinikanjoki branch was part of Kyrönkangas winter road.

Photo: Antti Luusalo, Kana House, Parkano

CULTURAL LANDSCAPE OF THE KARVIANJOKI RIVER

The cultural landscape of the Karvianjoki river is located in Kankaanpää, where the Karvianjoki river flows through the meadow and agricultural landscape of northern Satakunta. The settlement is concentrated on the upper slopes of the riverside and along roadsides. The old building stock dates from the 19th century. In the village of Honkajoki, the river landscape includes natural rapids, grand trees, groves and natural streams.

Photo: Matti Poutvaara, National Board of Antiquities Finna, Kankaanpää

 

On the former border between Honkajoki and Kankaanpää, the rapids of Iso-Haapakoski were the strongest rapids of the municipality. A dam and power plant were built in the rapids in 1927, and the name of the place became Vatajankoski instead of Iso-Hapaakoski. In the 1930s, a power plant bridge was built across the river. The power plant played a major role in the lives of the locals. It improved the living standards of the residents and enabled amenities. The village of Vataja began to grow around the power plant.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Vatajankoski, Kankaanpää

Lankoski in Honkajoki is one of the many rapids on the Karvianjoki river. On the shore of the rapids is the Ylinen mill, which serves as a mill museum and is still in its original place. It was originally a watermill, but over the years the machinery was changed to electric. There is an old and well-maintained building stock around the rapids. The main building of Lankoski farm dates back to 1770. The decorative porch belonging to the building was built at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Photo: Hanna-Mari Kamppikoski, Lankoski, Kankaanpää

KANTTI SAWMILL AND MILL AREA

In Kanttikoski in Karvia there is a culturally and historically significant Kantti sawmill and mill area. It is known that there has been a mill in the rapids as early as in the 18th century. Myllykoski sawmill received its privilege in 1846. The sawmill ended at the beginning of the 20th century, and the mill continued until 1920. After this, Kantinkoski power plant was established in the rapids.

The place is also known as Vartti sawmill and Varttinkoski. In 1932, businessman Julius Vartti bought a power plant in Kanttikoski, an electricity network, a sawmill and an electric mill that was located in the village center. Vartti sawmill was once a major employer in Karvia. It employed about 30-40 people and there were men from almost all of the houses of the village working at the sawmill.

Today, an old stone-vaulted bridge remains in the area, next to which the former mill floor can still be seen. The bridge offers a beautiful view of the surroundings of Varttinkoski.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kantti, Karvia

IDYLLIC RURAL VILLAGES

Across the Geopark, there are beautiful, historic rural villages that are among the most valuable cultural sites in this UNESCO region. The village settlement of the Isojoki river valley and the church landscape of the Isojoki river, Karviankylä and the villages of Leppijärvi and Vuorijärvi in Siikainen are of national value. In addition, the Geopark has numerous other idyllic village environments of great regional and local importance.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Siikainen

VILLAGES AS CULTURAL ENVIRONMENTS

Historic and idyllic rural villages form the settlement-historical stratum of the cultural environment. The concept of a village was born to unite houses in a particular residential area and their holdings for taxpayer accounting. The names of the villages in the tax list were especially important when surnames did not yet exist. In Kauhajoki, for example, the names of houses were not recorded until the 17th century.

Photo: Tuomo Leikkola, Rannanperä, Jämijärvi

The key elements of the agricultural-oriented cultural landscape are fields, meadows and settlements with outbuildings. The location of the settlement has been influenced by, among other things, natural conditions, and therefore there are different types of villages in different parts of  Finland. In Ostrobothnia, for example, settlements were formed on riverside and historic riverside villages can be found in municipalities of Kauhajoki, Isojoki and Karijoki.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, the Hyypänjoki valley, Kauhajoki

THE VILLAGES OF THE GEOPARK

There are many lively rural villages in the Geopark, where village associations and common voluntary work are still popular. The villages host a wide range of activities and events. The villages also offer great opportunities for various nature activities such as skiing, cycling, fishing and swimming. In summer, summer residents and guests enrich village life. Over the years, services have been concentrated in the centres of municipalities and towns, but there is still active cooperation among the residents in the villages.

The rural cultural landscapes and villages of the Geopark area reveal the history of the area. In the villages you can make a time-jump from the early days of the settlement of the region to the present day. In the villages and cultural landscapes, you can admire the old building stock and the beautiful rural landscapes.

Photo: Kurkikorpi Grandma’s

Text: Jenna-Maria Lehmijoki

Main photo: Tuomo Leikkola

Photos of the other headings: Tuomo Leikkola, Riitta Alapiha

Literature (in Finnish): 

Etelä-pohjanmaan maakunnallinen rakennusinventointi 

Hyypänjokilaakson maisemanhoitoalueen käyttö- ja hoitosuunnitelma 

Kankaanpään kulttuuriympäristöohjelma 

Kirjoituksia Vihteljärvestä Vihteljärven kylä – Kirjoituksia (kankaanpaa.fi)

Museovirasto 

Museoviraston Valtakunnallisesti merkittävät rakennetut kulttuuriympäristöt –palvelu RKY  ι  Museovirasto

Parkanon rakennetun ympäristön selvitys 

Papunen, P. 1996. Ikaalinen eräalueena ja kappeliseurakuntana keskiajalta noin vuoteen 1640. Teoksessa Ikaalisten entisen emäpitäjän historia I vuoteen 1640.

Satakunnan Museon y-pakki palvelu y-pakki – tietoa palvelusta (y-pakki.fi)

Uusikallio, Irja. Vatajankosken mekaanikko Päiviö ryhtyi tehdasmaisesti valmistamaan lankaa pitkin kulkevaa valoa eli voimaa Vatajankosken sähkötehtaasta 1920–1940 –luvuilla. Pro gradu -tutkielma. Turun Yliopisto. 2019. Vatajankoski energian välittäjänä / (utupub.fi)

Ympäristö.fi Karvianjoki Ymparisto > Karvianjoen kosket

Get to know the cultural landscapes and the villages of the Geopark

HYYPÄNJOKI VALLEY

Learn more on the web pages of Kauhajoki (in Finnish).

Address: Pantintie 61, Kauhajoki (Hyyppä observation tower)

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.308860, 22.26257 (Hyyppä observation tower)

Photo: Terttu Hermansson

The village settlement of the Isojoki valley and the church landscape of the Isojoki river

Learn more on the web pages of Finnish Heritage Agency (in Finnish).

Address: Honkajoentie 1, Isojoki (Isojoen kirkon parkkipaikka)

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.11373, 21.95791

Photo: Isojoki Church

KANTTI SAWMILL AND MILL AREA

Learn more on the web pages of Karvia (in Finnish).

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kantti, Karvia

CULTURAL LANDSCAPE OF THE KARVIANJOKI RIVER

Learn more on the inventory of Satakunta Regional Council (in Finnish).

Address: Patotie 19, Kankaanpää (Vatajankoski dam)

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.92592, 22.23992

Photo: Matti Poutvaara, Museovirasto-Finna, Kankaanpää

KARVIANKYLÄ CULTURAL LANDSCAPE

Learn more on the Lauhanvuoriregion.fi web page.

Address: Karviankyläntie 592, Karvia

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.21920, 22.67459

Photo: Arto Ala-Karvia

LEPPIJÄRVI VILLAGE

Learn more on the web pages of Siikainen (in Finnish).

Address: Leppijärventie 585, Siikainen (Katselmankallio crossroads)

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.94687, 21.85061 (Katselmankallio crossroads)

Photo: Terttu Hermansson

RUOKOJÄRVI CULTURAL LANDSCAPE

Learn more on the web pages of Finnish Heritage Agency (in Finnish).

Address: Laviantie 279, Kankaanpää (parking lot of Kankaanpää Church)

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.79838, 22.40144 (parking lot of Kankaanpää Church)

Photo: Laura Koivumäki

VIHTELJÄRVI-NIEMENKYLÄ CULTURAL LANDSCAPE

Learn more on the inventory of Satakunta Regional Council (in Finnish).

Address: Laviantie 1155, Kankaanpää (rural community house Toukola)

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.74741, 22.52090 (rural community house Toukola)

Photo: Pasi Talvitie

CULTURAL LANDSCAPE OF THE VIINIKANJOKI RIVER

Learn more on the web pages of the fishers’ association of Parkano (in Finnish).

Address: Parkanontie 118, Parkano (Haapaslammi)

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.01975, 23.02347 (Haapaslammi)

Photo: Antti Luusalo

VUORIJÄRVI VILLAGE

Learn more on the web pages of Siikainen (in Finnish).

Address: Erkkilä-Ikävalkotie 31, Siikainen

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.83508, 21.98838

Photo: Terttu Hermansson

Fall in love with the cultural landscapes and the villages of the Geopark!

Inspiring school trips in the Geopark

The Geopark offers diverse and inspiring opportunities for schoolchildren’s excursion days and longer camp schools. At the end of May, schoolchildren from Kihniö spent a nice spring day in Jämi, Hämeenkangas.

Get to know the Gepark on an excursion

At Geopark excursions you get to know the Geopark’s natural and cultural attractions and at the same time learn to be in nature. In the Geopark you can make a day trip to one destination or organize a longer camp school and visit several places. The companies in the area offer school groups quality services from equipment rental to guided tours and from meals to accommodation. Read more about excursion tips by destination.

Photo: Sofia Sillanpää

Schoolchildren on a Geopark excursion in Jämi

As part of the European Geopark Week, schoolchildren from the municipality of Kihniö made a spring day trip to Jämi located in Hämeenkangas. Pupils were introduced in advance to the diverse range of activities in the area, from which they selected their favorite ones together. The excursion day was based on sporty activities. At the same time, the aim was to learn about the Geopark and the unique nature of the area.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie

By mountain bikes to number one nature attractions

Mountain biking was chosen as the activity before noon. The electric fat bikes were rented by Jämi Maat. The kids were surprised how funny the bikes are, and the cycling aroused great enthusiasm already in the testing phase of the bikes before the actual bicycling. The easy-going and comfortable trail network of Hämeenkangas enables successful mountain bike trips even for first-timers.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie

The inspiring cycling guide of Jämi Maat led the group to the top of Soininharju, where they admired the scenery that opened from above the high ridge. The queue of bicyclers then headed along the needle trails to the most popular natural attractions in the area. The group passed the valuable forest area of Niiniharju towards Koivistonvati, the largest kettle hole in Hämeenkangas.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki

Uhrilähde and Kylmänmyllynlähde springs, which are one of the finest springs in Finland, are located in Hämeenkangas. By the springs the kids heard stories related to the place and refreshed themselves by drinking the water. On the way back to Jämi, you can choose steep uphills to test how electrical assistance affects pedaling. The group considered mountain biking to be the best part of the day.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson

Climbing and golfing

After cycling the group had a tasty lunch at Lomahotelli Jämi. In the afternoon the kids climbed high among the canopies of the trees in the Jämi Maat Adventure Park. The park has five different levels of tracks, each of which you can choose the most suitable for you. The longest cable track in Finland is located in the Adventure Park. Schoolchildren loved climbing and tracks, too. In addition to climbing, the pupils played casually mini golf and frisbee golf. In the afternoon, an hour’s drive back home folded comfortably on a local charter ride.

Photo: Jämi Maat

The whole group, both the students and the teacher and the assistant, considered the trip very successful. In addition to the nice day, the kids learned about their own Geopark and its uniqueness.

The Geopark excursion day was piloted in a Leader-funded project. The project paid part of the cost of the excursion.

Text: Laura Koivumäki

Photo: Terttu Hermansson

Main photo: Terttu Hermansson

Last photo: Terttu Hermansson

The Geopark offers diverse trip opportunities for school groups

Mother Nature’s Convenience Store

The diverse and clean terrains of the Geopark offer a huge amount of nature’s own delicacies that any hiker can pick up, eat right away, or prepare for food even by the campfire.

Would you like to taste the blueberries from the top of Lauhanvuori, cranberries from the kermis of Kauhaneva, or porcinis from Hämeenkangas? The forests and swamps in the area are guaranteed to produce a healthy and fresh harvest from spring to late autumn.

In the spring, the first foragers are delighted by the false morels emerging from the sandy forest land. After careful pre-treatment, delicious soups and stews can be prepared from the false morels. Spring and early summer are the best time for foraging wild herbs. The healthiest salad base can be created from the leaves of foraged ground elder, dandelion, fireweed and wood sorrel. Please note that plant foraging is prohibited in conservations, nature reserves and national parks.

Perhaps the one of the most anticipated berries of the summer include the favourite berry of many people, bilberry, the exceptionally diverse health effects of which have long been talked about around the world. Bilberries taste the best when freshly picked, eaten while sitting on a hummock in the forest. The sweetest pies are made from picked bilberries. Excellent bilberry terrain can be found all over the Geopark area, but the top of Lauhanvuori in particular is known for its abundant bilberry yields. Lauhanvuori has been the chosen bilberry site for people from long distances away.

The treasures of the bogs, the coveted, golden-yellow cloudberries ripen at the same time as the bilberries. In a good year for cloudberries, there can be a lot of berries in the wetlands, but the best cloudberry sites are quickly found and harvested by hard-working pickers. Healthy cloudberries are good as such, but they are also widely used in baked goods, such as the traditional cloudberry cake. Later in autumn, the red, tart cranberries ripen in the wetlands. Cranberries should not be picked until after the first frosts of autumn, as the frost softens the acidity of the berries These wetland berries could be the hallmark berries of the Geopark – after all, the wetlands form the most important habitat in the Geopark. The nutritious, mild-tasting bog whortleberry also grows in the wetlands, but it is under-used.

In late summer, the lichen-covered heath of the pine forests turns red in places as the lively lingonberries ripen. Large quantities of lingonberries, so versatile to use, can quickly be picked from good growing sites. These nutritious berries can be picked late into the autumn. You can also find the much less used but super-healthy crowberry in the same type of habitat. It is worth being bold and trying it, and using it in many different ways, much like the other wild berries.

In late summer, the lichen-covered heath of the pine forests turns red in places as the lively lingonberries ripen. Large quantities of lingonberries, so versatile to use, can quickly be picked from good growing sites. These nutritious berries can be picked late into the autumn. You can also find the much less used but super-healthy crowberry in the same type of habitat. It is worth being bold and trying it, and using it in many different ways, much like the other wild berries.

Even in the early summer, an attentive hiker can find golden chanterelles along the trails. What could be a tastier delicacy than yellow chanterelles roasted on a pan over a campfire? As the summer progresses and autumn arrives, you can find a wide variety of delicious mushrooms on the vast heaths of the Geopark and Hämeenkangas, such as boletes, russulas, and milk-caps that thrive on the sandy ridges. The verdant spruce forests produce favoured mushrooms, such as trumpet chanterelles, which often produce large yields. If you are really excited about foraging for mushrooms, you should pack a mushroom book, a knife, and a basket, and head to the forest anywhere in the Geopark either in the summer or in the autumn. In addition to picking plenty of mushrooms, you can also experience great nature adventures!

Thanks to the Everyman’s Rights, the delicacies offered by the nature of Geopark are freely available to everyone − and for free! There is always a joy of searching for and finding good sites, which is an integral part of the experience. Even if you don’t find amazing berry and mushroom spots, or manage to collect large amounts of harvest, it is not worth getting discouraged. The most important thing is to go on an excursion, to observe the environment, and to enjoy nature while respecting it.

Text: Laura Koivumäki

Photos: Terttu Hermansson, Pasi Talvitie