Sipoonkorpi is one of the two Finnish national parks located on the edge of the of the Helsinki metropolis (Nuuksio being the other). The park was only declared in 2011, so much of its infrastructure is still being developed – but there are a few well-marked paths (e.g. the Kalkkiruukki trail) if you don’t fancy “exploring” (i.e. getting a bit lost occasionally). Located only 25 minutes drive from central Helsinki it is a great place to visit if you want to experience a wild area close to the city – although realize that the park has a mixed history of landuse and that you’ll not be in pristine old-growth forest. I’ve visited Sipoonkorpi twice this autumn – the first time with Jesse and Kertu (visiting from Tartu – many thanks to Jesse for most of the photos in this post), and a second time with a mushroom-hunting group from our church (see that blog post here) – and suggest that if you’ve enjoyed Nuuksio, then Sipoonkorpi would be a good place for you to visit too.
There are numerous parking areas (i.e. access points) for Sipoonkorpi – on my first visit we first entered the park from Tasakalliontie and explored the Flatberget and Stortrask area. Apart from some rock outcrops and a nice little fishing lake, this area didn’t really meet my expectations – the forest was a bit low and scrubby, maybe because it was still quite young? But moving a little further north to Kalkkiuunintie (one of the two main entry points and the start of one of the official trails) we found some lovely forest.
After a relaxed “grilli” (i.e. braai) at the Kalkkiruukki lean-to, we took the trail towards Bakunkarr passing through some different habitats. For our limited explorations, I definitely think that Sipoonkorpi is worth a visit – I imagine that in spring, particularly, it would be a good spot for birding (so look out for post about birding in Sipoonkorpi next year…).
Kertu knows her mushrooms really well, so we were able to collect eight different species of edible mushrooms: Cantharellus tubaeformis (funnel chanterelle), Cantharellus cibarius (golden chanterelle), Hydnum repandum (the hedgehog mushroom), Hydnum rufescens (the teracotta hedgehog), Boletus edulis (porcino mushroom), Leccinum aurantiacum, Leccinum versipelle (the orange birch bolete), and Kuehneromyces mutabilis. These formed the basis for that evening’s rather delicious supper, which we could enjoy with our minds at peace knowing that an expert had checked all the mushrooms!
I also collected some surprisingly large blueberries (and we snacked on some wild strawberries, bog bilberries and raspberries too), which we mixed with quark, cream and sugar to make a common desert (maybe even a traditional dessert here?). Finnish forests can be tasty places once you get to know them…