After taking the bus into Helsinki this morning we walked across to the Central Railway Station and travelled the short distance to Oulunkylä from where we started our nature trail (local trains are included in the regional travel pass). The gravel path passes the ornate pink Oulunkylä Seurahuone (a cafe, but currently closed for renovation) before turning left and heading uphill over a rocky outcrop and then steeply downhill towards the Vaanta River.
It was quite a dull start to the day but at least it was not raining. It’s a very peaceful walk alongside the Vantaa River and as you can see from the above photo, there is a small beach for when the weather is warm and sunny. The first section of today’s walk from Oulunkylä Station to Vanhankaupunginlahti (Old Town Rapids) is about two miles.
Our reward for this gentle stroll was to stop for lunch at Koskenranta Restaurant which overlooks the river rapids. There’s an attractive terrace overlooking the water but today we decided to eat lunch indoors as it wasn’t so very warm. After tucking in to a tasty buffet of sausage soup, rye bread, Thai chicken curry, salad, coffee and cookies we relaxed awhile before continuing on our walk.
The path then took us to the start of the Pornaistenniemi nature walk which veers off to the left. You will see numerous wheelbarrows leaning against tree trunks and may wonder why they are there. The reason is that there are numerous summer cottages hidden in the forest in this nature reserve and as there isn’t any road access, luggage and food supplies need to be transported quite a distance, hence the use of wheelbarrows. The path passes over a small wooden bridge crossing a stream where waterlilies were in full bloom. The gravelled path then changes to a narrow boardwalk which cuts through the tall reeds. It’s very peaceful along here and there are many birds and butterflies to be seen. We felt our legs getting bitten by insects and we had left our repellent back in the apartment which wasn’t much use. The boardwalks continue along to Lammasaari Island where the majority of the little summer cottages are to be found.
Below you will see the small jetty on the island which looks across towards Herttoniemi. Boats are another means of approaching the summer cottages and alongside the jetty more wheelbarrows are available for moving supplies.
From here we followed a narrow coastal path that led us to the Lammassaren Lintutorni (Bird Watching Tower) which we climbed to the top of and were rewarded with far reaching views over the reed beds below. We spotted numerous birds including several herons and some waterfowl.
After spending awhile here we continued onto a further viewing platform and a low level wooden bird hide built right out into the water. This latter bird hide was filled with ornithologists using large spotting scopes so we only stayed here a short time in order not to disturb them.
We retraced our steps back to our starting point at the Old Town Rapids but then turned left along the waterfront of Arabiaranta where you will find a pleasing promenade with modern apartments built further back facing the sea.
Before returning to the city centre we looked in the large Arabia Outlet which stocks a wide range of Finnish brands including those by Finlayson, Fiskars, Arabia, Ittala and Pentik. We then returned into the city centre by tram (both numbers 6 and 8).
Pornaistenniemi nature walk, Helsinki
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