Reading material for those who love the camping life

Text and photo: Bjarne Eikefjord
Motorhome and Caravan magazine, No. 5, 2015 October

Villmarksveien in Østfold: From Halden to Winton

Wilderness Road finns many of. One of the finest runs from Halden to King Swing. In some places it may be like turning the clock back to a time we have read and heard about, but can barely remember even from childhood. A journey in time, nature and history that provides recreation and tranquility.

Engebret Soot was called a boy who was born on a smallholding in Aurskog Akershus in 1786. Education for husmannsbarn was then a distant dream. It is said that Engebret not rarely shirked their duty shifts in haying to read physics books. Already 18 years old traded Engebret this combination between reading arts and physical laws into practical measures in the form of a mill he built. From there it was not far from waterways, which was large in the 19. century. The time was Norway a major exporter of timber and timber, which is reflected in the phrase "Planke- cities." Eventually had to forest owners go further inland on logging, and then it was that Engebret Soot interest waterways and canals came into its own.

Already in 1825 opened the first channel increased supply of timber to Halden significantly.


Eventually, entire river system developed with locks and fløtingsveier that helped to create prosperity and the basis for Saugbruksforeningen in Halden. Today transported timber along roads, but the canal system and the old road is still there and is reminiscent of another era. And along it runs thus road colloquially nicknamed "Villmarksveien." It begins in Halden, specifically through the dam and locks in Tistedal. Where is the factory buildings of red bricks still at large dams, although the noise of the blades and impellers that drove them with the power of water has long since subsided. Lange moves with logs is replaced by tourist boats that brings today's fast-paced people a century back to an era where time was the people had enough of.

But Engebret Soot name lives on in the Soot canal opened in 1850 and connects Mangen with Halden watercourse.

Idyll in the woods

Villmarksveien Østfold is built at that time roads were laid up and down and around past, depending on how it was most convenient. How is it still, and idyllic places appear and disappear almost as fast in forests' little heavy color play in the dark part of the color spectrum. Along the road opens up large and bright fields of manicured residential houses and barns that are still in use. As rapidly disappearing way into the forest again. Here and there one can see the water add its glossy surface as it has done in millennia. A picnic area with information board for Aremark deadlines to drop down support legs and stay in the magical landscape. But that will be another time.


In the midst of the forest overwhelm they appear, campsites with a closeness to nature that townspeople talking about but rarely experience.

Kirkeng Camping is a manicured space for both permanent pitch and traveling guests, who are welcomed by a billboard with grass roofs. Not far away is a huge church in red brick and marks collection site which over the centuries has been the meeting place for young and old in joy and sorrow. A little further on a glade in the woods down to the water is yet another campground. And so it goes through the dense forests interrupted only by openings where people have gone live and taken root in former times where the water was way who tied dwellings together.

time Capsule

We will Strømsfoss where a good old general store welcomes us. Advertising signs are new, but the house is marked by generations of visitors from the time Krita books replaced sounding coins and crackling banknotes. We sense a time image from the time a householder from a smallholding had to bowed head through the door and ask the merchant for further deferral of payment pending wages of timber floating which awaited them. Today it is to "act on book" long forgotten, but before the welfare society introduction, it was more the rule than the exception for the common people along Villmarksveien.

Technology gave hope

Just beyond the grocery store, we find exhibited a turbine and a generator from the power plant nearby. The technology made its appearance in the last century and contributed to improving the life situation and the economic development of the people along Villmarksveien. From plant stretched overhead lines their webs and gave light to the thousands of houses that were no longer isolated in darkness when the sun went down. Meanwhile created electricity production jobs that helped to increase revenue and reduce smallholders' obligation work on large farms. The many small power plants along Villmarksveien was for decades regarded as human patrimony that would ensure them in the future - and so it is still where not blåruss with calculators have enticed local municipal owners to sell the family silver for small change to big investors.

Along Villmarksveien is history in layers - for those who want to see it.

channel locks

Haldenvassdraget have many locks that lift and lower boats between the various lakes and lakes. One of the more impressive is the Strømsfoss, where a large outdoor area is accumulated for outdoor pursuits with uteteater and barbecue huts. A shock in a ship whistle tells that a cruise ship is heading into the lock. The gates are closed, the water surging in and within a few minutes, the boat is lifted several meters before the wedge at the other end opens and boat vapors further up the channel. After exactly the same procedures that have worked in more than a half century has passed since Engebret Soot ideas and plans were converted into edifices we still contemplate and admire.


A little further up Strømsfoss located boats both on land and on the water next to a parking lot, which can also be used as a picnic area for campers and caravans. There are boats from various eras. The elders from early last century has made its service and is located on land. The newest tourist boats in the summer season brings travelers to feed slowly through a landscape that is an experience in itself. Båthistorie are way more places, the main museum for Halden Canal is found just south of the locks in Winton, not far from where the E-18 with traffic cuts through the landscape as the modern answer to the ancient waterways. Both connects people - in their own way.

limit Loser

Not far from Rømskog stands a large stone monument just off the road. A bronze plaque says it was on these roads that local border guides in solidarity name helped thousands of people from persecution, torture and sometimes death, the time Norway was occupied and some ten thousand Norwegians were refugees in a neighboring country. Here they wandered on foot through bogs and fjellrabber to safety in Sweden. Some never came forward and other never returned, but memorials tell yet their history from the time when Norwegians were figures in the refugee statistics.


Villmarksveien meanders further along lakes, rivers and ponds, through open landscapes, into coniferous secretive atmosphere and onto the open lakes and rivers. By the many accommodations it is possible to experience the lakes by boat, canoe and swimming. In the forest it is possible to enjoy fresh air and silence, in short supply for busy urbanites. In the forest there are plenty of mushrooms and berries, which previously helped grow food, as and today can be picked by those who take the time to pause. There are a large variety of flowers, birds and animals. Perhaps a meeting with King of the forest - the moose - tell that here live people and wild animals side by side. In rivers and lakes it is possible to go fishing for pike, perch and trout.

Such is Villmarksveien Ostfold a paradise for users of motor homes and caravans seeking scenery and tranquility of the forest above metropolis the pulsating life.

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