Aconitum Round-Trip Trail 6.5km
In Tohmajärvi, there’s a protected grove, where the Nordic Wolfsbane (Aconitum lycoctonum) grows. A round-trip trail runs through the grove and in a cultural landscape by the lake.
The trail starts from the parking area of the Kirkkoniemi church in Tohmajärvi. If you don’t have time for walking the trail, you should see the church. Its location is exceptionally beautiful. The Lutheran church is the oldest wooden church in North Karelia, dating back to 1756. By the church and the trail, there are two graveyards, a parish house and a rectory.
From the parking area, the trail goes down by the field, enters a birch forest and soon comes to the shore of Peijonniemenlahti bay. When you walk the route counterclockwise, you’ll first come to an unfarmed field, the realm of Tohmajärvi’s emblem animal, a bush cricket Tettigonia cantans. After crossing the church road, the field is becoming covered with forest. The trail goes to a cliff, where you can take a 0.8km detour to a bird watching tower.
After the crossing, there are steps to the top of the cliff. After the spruce forest, you’ll soon enter a field again. On the left side of the trail, you can see dozens of metres of plastic tubing among the birch trees. The system is for collecting sap in the spring.
After about 2.5k, you’ll arrive to the Nordic Wolfsbane grove, next to Piilovaara hill. The protected grove has an information board and a bench. Nordic Wolfsbane is in bloom in the turn of the month from June to July. Coming down the Piilovaara hill, the trail runs behind an old cemetery. After passing it, the trail meets the road and takes a detour to a boat harbour. Soon, you’ll enter the lakeside scenery of Tohmajärvi. The church and the graveyard are on the left.
In the peak of Kirkkoniemi cape, some trees have been burned in order to restore the open pasture landscape. From there, the trail comes back to the beginning.
Further info: www.tohmajarvi.fi
Hiking guide in Finnish: Pohjois-Karjalan vaellusreittiopas, Edita 2004
Driving instructions: Via Karelia (70) runs through the Tohmajärvi village. You can get to Kirkkoniemi from the village centre, or straight from Via Karelia, on the east side of the centre of Tohmajärvi. There’s a sign: ”Kirkkoniemi 4.5”.