Kallahdenniemi - an esker peninsula and underwater sandbank

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On Kallahdenniemi esker you can see, how our soil's essential features have been shaped by the ice age more than 10 000 years ago. Kallahdenniemi esker is part of the national esker conservation programme and offers spectacular views of the kind that you cannot find anywhere else in Helsinki.
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There are two conservation areas in Kallahdenniemi: Kallahdenharju, i.e. Kallahti esker, and Kallahdenniemi coastal meadow. The sandy esker’s tree layer consists of impressive, old and tall pine woods, with small broadleaved trees and conifer saplings dotted here and there. The ground is covered in bilberry, bearberry, crowberry and other dwarf shrubs. The esker is bordered on both sides by the sea.

Kallahdenniemi’s protected coastal meadow has formed gradually as a result of post-glacial rebound, connecting the former island to the mainland to form a peninsula. The ground is still rising, albeit slowly. The rise in sea level and winter ice floes keep the vegetation low and prevent the area from becoming overgrown with trees. The area’s flora is very diverse since the meadow includes a range of habitats differing in water conditions and available nutrients. The waterline is bordered by a zone of tall-growing reeds, but the vegetation in the drier parts of the meadow is lower-growing. The meadow is coloured by bird’s-foot trefoils, purple loosestrifes and sea peas. In the border areas you can also find low-growing common alders and Scots pines as well as rugosa roses, an invasive alien species. 

The peninsula’s shores consist of sandy beaches. At the base of the peninsula is Iso Kallahti beach, while Kallahdenniemi beach is located near the tip. This shallow beach is popular among families with children in particular. During bird migration periods, the sandy shoals also attract birds, such as goldeneyes and tufted ducks.

Joutsenia Kallahdenniemellä syksyllä.
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The water areas surrounding Kallahdenniemi consist of extensive shallows with sandbanks that are exposed during low tides. Being a low-lying area, Kallahdenniemi is an ideal place for observing especially high and low tides. Due to its sandy soil, Kallahti features rugged, bright pine forests atypical for Helsinki.

The peninsula has an extensive network of trails. Movement in the nature conservation areas is restricted to the roads and trails.  In the winter, the peninsula can be circumnavigated on skis, as long as the ice is thick enough.

The nature trail showcasing the coastal meadow and the underwater sandbanks was completed in 2018.

Kallahdenharju vuodelta 1910.
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Kallahdenharju is the most impressive esker in Helsinki. It is formed at the end of the ice age from layers of sand and gravel that accumulated on the river bed and at its mouth by the edge of the ice sheet. At the base of Kallahdenniemi the esker is a narrow ridge, which eventually widens and continues underwater in the form of extensive sandy shoals that emerge from the sea here and there as sand islands.

There used to be a fisherman’s croft at the tip of Kallahdenniemi in the 19th century. In 1871, it was leased by Professor of Aesthetics and Literature Carl Gustaf Estlander (1834–1910), who used it as a summer residence. When the 50-year lease was up in 1921, Professor Estlander’s grandson, Architect Sven Kuhlefelt (1892–1980) bought Kuningatar, the tip of Kallahdenniemi, which used to be an island, in its entirety. He then proceeded to build a new villa there in the early 1920s, one that still stands today. Even today, there are oak trees, lime trees and striped squills growing in the area, originating from the villa’s garden, which was allowed to run wild.

There are also some old residential villas in Kallahdenniemi, many of which were built in the early 20th century. At the time the area was countryside far away from Helsinki, and access to the villas was via steam ships departing from Helsinki’s North Harbour.

Learn more about the nature of Kallahdenniemi at citynature.eu.

How to get there

The journey from Helsinki Railway Station takes around 30 minutes by metro and bus. Get directions.

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Kallahdenniemi esker is part of the national esker conservation programme and offers spectacular views of the kind that you cannot find anywhere else in Helsinki.