4 min read

Sunday afternoon refresher, at the Suurisuo swamp

Suurisuo is a large swamp area close to Hämeenlinna, in appearance and size more typical of the North Finland. Fresh air and peace of the outdoors.
Duckboards extend as far as eye can discern from the edge (in fact, it’s not far) of the swamp.
Duckboards extend to approximately the middle of the swamp, and two paths acting as the entrances to the area. Copyright by Niko Kotiniemi 4.9.2022.

Suurisuo is a large swamp in Janakkala, a southern neighbor of the Hämeenlinna municipality. We have visited the bog every couple of months from spring to autumn for a moment outdoors with fresh air and a beautiful swamp. You seldom see more than one or two people enjoying the outdoors, so it's a great break from the busy urban life.

For further reading, there is an informative Wikipedia page on Janakkala. Below you can also find an embedded Google Map showing the route from Turenki, the closest town.

This time, our child's schoolwork around flora identification, i.e., identifying and cataloging, brought us to the swamp. The area is rich in flora, and we were positive we could find most of the plants we were looking for. I'll spare you my collection of plant photos (maybe in a separate future article), and instead, I'll focus on the location - maybe you'll want to visit it yourself.

First, a word of caution, this is not a location where you can exercise as you enjoy nature. It's small, maybe a few kilometers of path and duckboards.

However, it is a beautiful swamp rich with life and fresh air. The swamp is more like the ones you'd expect 400km+ North of Janakkala, and it's barely an hour's distance from Helsinki, half an hour from Hämeenlinna.

Duckboards leading to the swamp, between tall grass and dense undergrowth.
The main path to the swamp, with vivid flora in the late Summer, early August. Copyright by Niko Kotiniemi 4.9.2022.

Thin, lively pines, maybe 3-4 meters tall, before the actual swamp begins.
As the forest opens to the swamp the pines get smaller and smaller. Copyright by Niko Kotiniemi 4.9.2022.

Small pines, emerging tall swamp swamp grass. All green from bright to army green
Everything except the sky is colored with different shades of green. Copyright by Niko Kotiniemi 4.9.2022.

The one below is one of my two favorite photos of the area, representing all the things that strike me as beautiful in swamps. I can still remember how fresh the air tasted, now more than a week later.

A sea of tall grass bent by the gusts of wind, occasional short pines, shades of green.
A swamp in its most authentic way, gusts of wind sending waves through the moist grass. Copyright by Niko Kotiniemi 4.9.2022.

Duckboards extending to the distance, cutting the swamp in a line. Green turns to brown shades.
A more typical swamp picture, duckboards crossing the width of the swamp. Hiking shoes advised. Copyright by Niko Kotiniemi 4.9.2022.

Tall grass, wide open, shades of orange and green, just before autumn sets in.
Suurisuo means Big swamp, that it is, it's rare to find one so large this far south. Copyright by Niko Kotiniemi 4.9.2022.

My other favourite picture of this area, from the other side of the swamp. Flora still grows stong in amazing colors, but there is a hint of autumn in the air. Most of the bugs and birds have mostly gone already.

A concentration (of sorts) of pines, green swamp grass with tufts of peat.
Pines populate the area, as closely as they ever do, with the duckboards snaking into the forest. Copyright by Niko Kotiniemi 4.9.2022.

A blanket of almost 1 meter (3 feet) tall ferns covers the forest floor.
After the path emerges into the forest we are greeted with a sea of ferns, obscuring the undergrowth. Copyright by Niko Kotiniemi 4.9.2022.

Amenities

None. There is a small parking area for less than ten cars (usually holding one or two), but no toilets, no campsite, no outdoors fireplace.

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English-Finnish vocabulary relating to the post

Below you can find an amateur translation of the vocabulary, terms and names of places used in this post, to make the conversations easier while travelling.

English Finnish Notes and what is it?
(the Big swamp) Suurisuo A swamp named Suurisuo, 18km from Turenki.
Pine Mänty One of the most common trees in Finland
Fern Saniainen A common green plant, that is claimed to have pretty much the same since dinosaurs.