The Vähäkyrö hiking trails have been developed for several years, and the idea for a new children’s hiking trail was born in 2021. The new trail is 2.1 kilometres long and follows the routes of the Palolammen Patikka and Palanusenkallion Patikka hiking trails.
– The local Lions Club hired the young forestry engineering student Hanna Härö to carry out a comprehensive groundwork. In addition, we asked local family daycare providers and children to participate in the planning, as they are using the hiking trail daily, says Helena Alanen, Development Planner at Vähäkyrö Regional Services.
Along the trail, there are 12 signposts and various interactive points to introduce children to the area’s nature and animals. The content of the signposts has been designed to suit different seasons, and the third and fourth graders in Tervajoki school have been involved in their creation.
– There is also a bird tower and a laavu (a traditional Finnish lean-to with a place for a campfire) along the route. Near the laavu, a signpost with a QR code provides short stories that you can enjoy, for example, while eating your snacks, Alanen suggests.
The route description for the Vähäkyrö children’s hiking trail can be found on the website (Only in finnish). You can also read the QR code on your phone at the start of the hiking route, which opens the route app. The common rules for hiking trails also apply to the children’s hiking trail.
Volunteers from all age groups
The children’s hiking trail was achieved thanks to the commitment of the people of the municipality and the landowner’s positive attitude towards the new trail.
– From the very beginning, the children’s hiking trail has been made possible by volunteers from all age groups. For example, the signposts on the route have been set up by volunteers under the guidance of Hannu Holm, says Alanen.
The plan is to develop various activities and events for the whole family on the trail in the future.
A hobby for the whole family
Minttu-Maria Auranen and her daughters Sanni Auranen and Ninni Leppäaho are active nature lovers for whom the children’s hiking trail was a welcome new addition to the local landscape.
– We often jog in the forest and visit the campfire site along the trail to grill sausages. The trail is easy to walk, so it’s nice and safe to go with the kids, says Minttu-Maria Auranen.
One of the reasons why the family likes the hiking trail is that the functional signposts along the route keep them engaged throughout the hike. The route is also marked with red arrows on the signposts, so children can follow the route on their own.
– My favourite things about the trail are the fortune stones to be grabbed in the beginning and also the treasure hunt, says Sanni, who practices orienteering.
– I like listening to the sounds of nature, adds big sister Ninni.