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Syltemade Ådal

Syltemade (Syltemae) Valley is a beautiful meltwater valley where the area's many natural habitats offer rich and diverse wildlife and plant life.

Visit Syltemade Valley

The valley is located about 10 km west of Svendborg. The southern half of the valley is protected and accessible on foot from a small parking lot along the road, Langegyde. A 4.5 km stretch of the marked hiking trail, Øhavsstien, follows the valley. It is one of the few places in South Fyn where it is possible to hike along a stream. Syltemade Valley is privately owned, so access is only permitted on the designated trail. The trail is not suitable for strollers and those with mobility issues.

What to experience at Syltemade Valley

Syltemade Valley is striking with its steep slopes and the river flowing in its natural course through the valley. The river is not straightened like most on Fyn.

Pasture, bog, meadow, marsh, and forests—it's like entering a completely different world in the valley. Many springs emerge from the steep valley sides, where clean water trickles out. For much of the year, however, the water in the stream is completely green from algae from Ollerup Lake. Along the stream, there is a wealth of flowers and small creatures such as frogs and dragonflies. Many small birds breed in the varied terrain. Near the mouth, the valley opens up into a beach meadow, which is now overgrown with reeds.

Geological perspectives on Syltemade Valley

Syltemade Valley is part of a larger valley system created 18-17,000 years ago during the last ice age, the Weichsel. At that time, the area was covered by part of the Baltic Sea Ice Stream called the 'Little Belt Glacier'. Between the towns of Sørup and Ollerup, meltwater rivers excavated a 6 km long valley under the glacier. This valley now forms the beautiful tunnel valleys with the lakes Sørup, Hvidkilde, Nielstrup, and Ollerup.

After the end of the ice age 11,700 years ago, the bottom of Syltemade Valley was partially covered by freshwater clay, sand, and gravel, as well as thick layers of peat.

Several springs emerge from the steep slopes. One of these is Eskild's Spring, to which the sick and weak in olden days made pilgrimages for healing—especially around Midsummer's Eve, when nature's forces were strongest. At several of the springs along the trail, you can see how the calcareous water encapsulates leaves, twigs, branches, and small stones with crusts of lime.

Syltemade Valley is part of the Geopark South Funen Archipelago

In 2018, Svendborg, Faaborg-Midtfyn, Langeland, and Ærø decided to establish the South Funen Archipelago Geopark with the aim of being designated a UNESCO Global Geopark. The purpose of the geopark is to create and preserve an area for both people and nature.

A UNESCO Global Geopark should bring a region's geology, nature, and cultural history into play and convey a message that humans are part of life on Earth. That we all depend on the Earth's resources, are affected by climate change, and are responsible for sustainable development.

The South Funen Archipelago Geopark conveys the story of a dramatic rise in sea levels in South Funen and the islands. A rise that shaped a very special nature, which for the past 10,000 years has formed the basis for the area's existence and cultural identity. It is the story of how the landscape and archipelago continue to change and define how we as humans live today. And the South Funen Archipelago Geopark is not least about understanding how, through sustainable development, we can continue to take care of our special geological, biological, and cultural heritage