With colder weather rapidly approaching, I decided to take advantage of a fairly warm and dry Saturday to visit the Mustavuori area in north-eastern Helsinki (part of which is a Natura 2000 nature reserve). This forested area is only 2 km north of the Vuosaari Metro station, and I covered the distance quickly on my bike.

You know you’re in the countryside when you’re warned to look out for moose (on Ribbingintie)

My plan was to do some exploring, figuring out if there were good spots for birding, picking mushrooms and berries, and hiking. I decided to head to the more distant eastern part of the forest, passing under Ring Road III and past Porvarinlahti (a lovely little lake that appears like it would be a good place for birding). I first stopped to look for mushrooms in a rather damp patch of Spruce, and found a few good patches of Funnel Chanterelles. After a while I noticed a small structure close to where I was picking – it was a target for archery, which rather bizarrely had a target in the form a hyena on it…

Autumn colours for the blueberry bushes

I then continued through the forest, emerging to find myself surrounded by agricultural fields. It was a bit of a surprise that within 5 km I had completely left the city behind. I was keen to get a good view of the sea, so headed down two dead-end roads (Kantarnäsintie and Ribbingintie) hoping to find a lookout spot. But easier said than done – seafront was claimed by mini-mansions (including one with a private tennis court – not something I’ve seen around here before), so it would not have been possible for me get onto the beach without traipsing through someone’s yard. Nonetheless a lovely route to peddle along.

Looking north from the Mustavuori forests (from Kantarnasintie)

Turning back towards to Mustavuori forests I explored along the top of a little hillock, hoping to find a route to the sea from there. No luck with that, but I did get my first good views of a Hazel Grouse – a species which I’d glimpsed a few times previously. I found a few large patches of tati’s (Boletus spp.), including a nearly perfect porcini mushroom (Boletus edulis). In the middle of nowhere I was passed by a series of people who’s orienteering route ran along the ridge.

A bolete mushroom – any identification suggestions?

After a few hours in the forest I headed back to the city – a short bike ride and a few minutes on the Metro and I was back home again. I’m glad that I now know that Mustavuori is worth visiting again… and just hope that we can have a few more dry weekends before the cold sets in!

Close-up of a pine bud


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