Halle-and Hunneberg are two unique tableland mountains in the province of Västergötland. They are like islands in the flat lands and differ from the surrounding area both in history as well as in their rich and unique nature. The mountains are composed of several layers of sedimentary types of rocks which were formed at the bottom of the sea several hundreds of millions of years ago.
The twin mountains were born out of the sea. Approximately 600 million years ago the province of Västergötland was located below sea level, somewhere in the proximity of Antarctica. About 100 million years later the land had moved to tropical waters, where mud and dead organisms created a layer of alum shale. Another two hundred million years later the crust of the earth could not stand the strain of the northward movement any longer.
Magma pushed through the cracks and created the "bumps" where the mountains in Västergötland are now located.
For thousands of years the people of the area used the mountains as hunting grounds and for pasture. They collected firewood and timber in the woods and went to the mountains for protection in times of danger. The remains of old ancient castles and fortresses can still be found. Anywhere on the mountains, one can encounter cultural remains of the very early days, e.g. ancient highways or a floatway through the lakes, and the forest rail road through the large moss. Ättestupan takes us back to the time of the Æsir and the rockmonument to a very difficult time in Swedish history, between WWI and WWII, when the unemployment rate was extremely high.
In 1351 King Magnus Eriksson made the mountain "a royal park" and 200 years later king Gustav Wasa made a decree that all hunting on the mountains was reserved for the king. As time passed the rules became even stricter. The rights of country people to fetch firewood and timber were suspended. In a way, stricter rules were necessary because the mountains were overused during hundreds of years. In 1830 the first forestry plan was erected. Its purpose was to restore the forest on the mountains. In connection with this, access to the mountains was restricted through gates, and guards were hired to make sure theft of wood ceased. Some of the old cottages in which the guards lived are still there. The mountains have remained in the ownership of the federal government ever since the time of king Magnus in the 14th century. Today, it is still the right of the King to hunt for elk on the mountains, but otherwise many changes have been made. Nowadays, the mountains have become an attraction for tourists and are at the same time an important recreational area for approximately 100, 000 people in the surrounding area.
Voluntary forces have assisted in trying to bring out the cultural value of the mountains. Some people have once again lit the fire at the charcoal kiln in Erdalen, others have built a replica of the 12th century mill in Prästeklevsbäcken. Charcoal, the first industrial product of the forest, is once again being produced and the mill produces grain again. The old way of burning tar for household needs is demonstrated at different events.
Cottages are recreated, historical roads rediscovered and cleared. Forest railroads, floatways and the forest itself are brought out of oblivion. From the early settlers, the crofters, the crofter´s wife to the guard watching the gate, the forester, the crown forest keeper and the lumberjack the history of the mountains have been formed through hard work. Hard working volunteer enthusiasts are pioneers when it comes to recreating old cultural values for the advantage and pleasure of the growing number of history seeking present-day people.
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