Did you know that there is a fun rope-pulled ferry at Ruostejärvi lake in Tammela? It is located along Meidän metsä nature trail departing from Villa Erik by the Ruostejärvi beach. Ruostejärvi area also hosts several other trails and lean-to shelters, and it is connected by trail to Liesjärvi National Park.
Eerikkilä Sport & Outdoor Resort recently acquired and renamed the Häme Nature Centre to Villa Erik as a tribute to Erik von Frenckell, who is the founder of Eerikkilä. Villa Erik is available for rent for private events and it does not serve as nature centre anymore.
The rope-pulled ferry is exciting experience for kids
Find this sign southwest from the Villa Erik and you’ll find the beginning for the Meidän metsä trail. Meidän metsä means our forest in Finnish. In the map below this is the pink trail.
I though I will be showing something new to the kids when I brought them here, but the 5 year old was already familiar with this trail. “We have been climbing on those rocks”, she said and pointed to some big boulders along the nature trail. Apparently, they had visited this place from her daycare. But they hadn’t been to lossi, the rope-pulled ferry, so we continued the trail towards that.
The Meidän metsä trail leads you through the forest to a little inlet, where you will find the small Toralahden lossi, Toralahti cable ferry, jokingly named as Föri II. The ferry is operated manually by a rope, so it’s pretty exciting experience especially for kids. It is light enough for kids to pull, but never forget to supervise kids by the water. The ferry is attached to a cable, and there are ropes tied to both shores. So you can get the ferry from the shore to you by the rope, and also pull the ferry across the inlet.
After the cable ferry, the trail continues along duckboards through a jungle like forest to a large lean-to shelter. At the lean-to shelter you can see a big sign warning you not to make fire when the forest fire warning is on. Please respect that and check the latest information on forest fire warnings at the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s website.
We only had a juice break at the lean-to shelter before walking back to the beach. You can walk back along the same route as this is not a circle trail. Alltogether the trail is around 3 km long, from the parking lot to Villa Erik and from there to the lean-to shelter and back.
If you are into geocaching, you’ll be happy to hear that there might be a cache or two along this trail. The kids are so much better than me at spotting the geocaches.
Directions to Ruostejärvi
Ruostejärvi / Villa Erik (former Häme Nature Centre)
How to get there:
- Car: Arriving from from road 2 (Helsinki-Pori), turn to Härkätie towards Porras and drive 1,5 kilometers until you see the parking lot on the left.
- Bicycle: The Hämeen Härkätie, Häme Ox Road, bicycle route passes the Ruostejärvi lake. The cycling route is the same road cars use so ride carefully.
- Public transport: The closest bus stop called Eerikkilä is in the intersection of road 2 and Härkätie, about 1,5 kilometers away. Check out tickets and timetables at Matkahuolto.
Accessibility: The trail from the parking lot to the beach and Villa Erik is wide and suitable for wheelchairs and children’s buggies. The rope-pulled ferry is not accessible for all as there are no ramps. There are duckboards along the nature trail.
When to go: The Toralahti cable ferry can be used only during summer.
Special to remember: If you want to swim in the area, check the up-to-date situation of blue-green algae before getting in the water as it’s a health hazard to humans and animals. Ruostejärvi is shallow and prone to the algae.
Check out also
- A local’s guide to nature in Tammela
- The Eerikkilä Sport & Outdoor Resort is located about 3 km away from the Ruostejärvi beach, on the other side of the lake. The resort recently received Green Key and Sustainable Travel Finland recognitions for their work towards sustainable travel.