Cycle trip

STANGE VESTBYGD – THROUGH AN EXCEPTIONAL LANDSCAPE BY BICYCLE

Put a picnic basket on your bicycle and find your own oasis in Stange Vestbygd. This cultural landscape offers burial mounds, idyllic country roads, a medieval church, beautiful farmyards, small cotter’s farms and the beautiful Mjøsa lakeside. In season, you can buy vegetables and berries from many of the farms along the way. This is a suitable trip for everyone – in easy and largely flat terrain.

Starting from Hamar Station, cycle south over Stange Bridge. Follow the pedestrian and cycle path straight ahead through the roundabout on road 222. This is a gentle uphill ride past houses and shops. Soon you reach the top and can see Stange country stretching out in all directions. You pass Ottestad Church, a wooden cruciform church built in 1730. Here the pedestrian and cycle path comes to an end and you continue on the road, which normally has light traffic. Hosmestad farm is to your right and close to the road is a burial mound, probably from the late iron age, that lends its name to the farm. About 10 kilometres from Stange Bridge, you see Skjelve Farm on the left hand side. In season, you can buy vegetables, eggs and honey here.

Fokholgutua

Another 500 metres and you see the sign for the road to Fokhol on your right. 2.5 kilometres along Fokholgutua you reach Fokhol Farm, which is run biodynamically and is one of the biggest organic farms in the country. The only non-organic thing here is the tractor, which is why they use their Ardennes horses as much as they can. The farm also offers accommodation and a menu based on its own produce. Up on the higher ground, just beyond the farmyard, you can stop to enjoy the landscape and the view towards Mjøsa, Nes, Helgøya and Skreia. It is just as the saga describes: a rolling and fertile landscape that opens up before you.

If you are interested in herbs or like summer flowers, stop at Hoel market garden. As well as selling, they are happy to pass on advice about using or caring for plants. From here, more than 50,000 quality plants a year are delivered, including to the herb garden at Domkirkeodden, which is the country’s largest organic herb garden.

Stange Church

Down by the road junction lies Stange Church, one of Norway’s oldest medieval churches, mentioned in Håkon Håkonsen’s saga in 1225. The church is depicted in Harriet Backer’s paintings “Christening” and “Communion”. She lived in the rectory from 1899 to 1903, during which time she painted her church motifs.

Turn right onto the asphalt Vestbygdavegen. If you fancy a dip in Lake Mjøsa, go down to the left towards Gillundstranda, where there are cabins, a marina, a bathing beach toilets and a kiosk. You pass Store Gillund on the way down. The farm lies on the pilgrims’ way and can offer comfortable accommodation in the old converted barn in the yard. www.gillundgaard.no – tel 62 57 16 77.

At some of the farms along Vestbygdaveien, you can stop and buy vegetables, raspberries and strawberries in season. There are also some large old farms and manor houses on this westward facing slope towards Mjøsa. Huseby is described as a royal manor in the sagas of Iceland and Norway. Ringnes is mentioned in Saint Olav’s saga. Staur Manor, www.staur.no, is frequently used for conferences and big celebrations and also offers accommodation. The guest house takes groups of cyclists if booked in advance.

Soon you pass Atlungstad Riding Centre, which offers summer courses in show jumping and dressage on well-schooled horses and ponies. Follow Mjøstråkk on to Sandvikaveien. Atlungstad Golf Course, www.atlungstad.no, which is a mixture of parkland and woodland and is one of the country’s most beautiful courses, lies here, down beside the lake. The course is not only beautiful, it is a challenge for experienced golfers and novices alike. The course has a clubhouse, pro shop and cafeteria. A little further down the road, you see a sign to the right up to Fjetre Farm, www.fjetre.no tel 62 57 60 88. The farm offers accommodation and food and the popular farm pub is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in summer.

About 1 kilometre south of Fjetre on the left hand side lies HIAS outdoor centre, with walking paths, toilet, bathing area with jetty, obstacle & balance course play equipment, grass sports field and nature path. There is an open shelter and barbecues in a small wooded area on the headland.

You can continue along the coastal path beside Mjøsa for a little way, before it goes up to Sandvikaveien again. Follow the pedestrian and cycle path on towards Stange Bridge and back to the centre of Hamar.

Length: c. 25 km.
Terrain: Easy cycling.
Time: 2-3 hours