The history

The story of wanderer children is about our close past, the 1800’s. It is about poverty and distress at the inner villages of Vest-Agder, and about how families felt forced to send their children to migrate so they could work at the rich farms in Aust-Agder.

the path

The path is 136 km and divided into 7 stages suitable for day trips. The highest point is at Kvinesheia, approximately 500m above sea level. The trail is well marked and described on this site. Maps are also available.

the exhibition

The Historical Center for the child wanderer is located in Konsmo, Audnedal, and is open during the summer .You can have an insight about how people lived in this area about 100 years ago, and how they learned to survive in poverty.


Following in the childrens footprints

In the 1800's, many children from southern Norway were required to travel for work. Stories of child wanderers exist as far back as 1830. The children came from the middle and inner villages of Vest-Agder and migrated to the areas surrounding Kristiansand and the rich farms in Aust-Agder, eg. Landvik, Birkenes and Mykland. In most cases, they walked along old pathways across the moors.

The child wanderers followed several routes, but mainly the trail (The Child Wanderer Path) follows the current tracks of the Southern Railway. The children had specific meeting points where they gathered in flocks, eg. by Konsmo church. The route could be 100 to 150 km long, and they spent many nights in barns along their walk. Historian Gabriel Øidne writes that "the youngest were often no older than 9-10 years old. It even occurred that the 7-year-old joined them”. The children left their homes in April, and often returned as late as in November.

In the 1800s the inner areas of Lister and Mandal experienced an severe poverty. In 1862 Amtmann Vogt wrote that the poverty in these districts was the worst in the country. The growth in the population had previously been solved by dividing the larger farms into smaller units. By the early 1800s, the farms were too small to provide a livelihood for many. The result was hunger, poverty and expropriation. As a result, the children were required to work. Conditions in Aust-Agder were much better. The farms were larger and more prosperous.

Shipping, shipbuilding and ship piloting provided work for many. The need for workers in agriculture was high. Child wanderer workers were primarily sheep herders, but they were also used for housework, wood chopping and water carrying, possibly after the herding was finished for the day. The average wage for a shepherd were 20 - 40 nok (appr. 2-4 euros) plus room and board for the season, some received special occasion clothes instead, eg. for their confirmation. Often, the father came and collect the salary, which often was enough to pay the family's rent for an entire year.

There are many stories about the hardships the shepherds had to undergo. They had to endure hard work, long days and not least the heavy responsibility for the animals. The conditions were especially hard on the youngest and most inexperienced. The worst that could happen was if they lost the livestock they looked after. The cold temperature was a torment and the children were often poorly clothed and shod, and many were given little food. This phenomenon at the south of Norway is probably unique, and lasted until around 1910. Then, the emigration to the USA started.

Source: Kulturminneløypa (www.kulturminneloypa.no).
 

 

wandering children exhibition

Experience the dramatic history of the wandering children closely by visiting "Det Gamle Posthuset" in Konsmo. 

The Konsmo village in Audnedal is known for it’s many child wanderers, and the church became a meeting point by the spring. Here the children from the small farms in Konsmo, Eiken, Kvås and Kvinesdal met. Afterwards, many of them followed together to the big farms far east, to work as shepherds.

At the exhibition you will also learn more about how the people lived in Vest-Agder about only 100 years ago, and not less, how they learned to survive.

Konsmo is located at Audnedal kommune, around one time driving distance (5 mil) or train tour from Kristiansand. You can check the train timetable here. It is 4 mil from Mandal. 

We suggest to combine the exhibition visit with a tour to the Child Wanderer Path, which crosses Konsmo.

OPENING HOURS SUMMER 2018

Daily 12:00 - 17:00 from 24. june to 15. august. 

Telephone during opening hours 996 88 303 / out of opening hours 913 53 819

For group visits, contact Åse Marit Helle at en-helle@online.no

Visit address: Konsmo i Audnedal, 4525 Konsmo.
Mail address: Barnevandrersenteret c/o Audnedal Rådhus, 4525 Konsmo.

 

 

Stage 1: Kvinesdal - Snartemo, 11 km

A pleasant start

This stage is also the starting point of the Child Wanderer Path. It begins in the western part of the county of Vest-Agder in the municipality of Kvinesdal, by Årlia. It ends at the Bauta park near Snartemo train station in the municipality of Hægebostad. If traveling by train, exit at Storekvina station and go by pre-ordered taxi directly to Årlia (this has to be arranged at least a couple of days in advance, contact www.nsb.no). Årlia is located near to the toll road that runs from Moi in Kvinesdal to Birkeland in Hægebostad. Årlia is approximately a 15 minutes car ride from Liknes. There is ample parking at the illuminated skiing route in Årlia . After parking, follow the toll road for approximately one kilometer to reach the starting point.

From Årlia, the Child Wanderer Path is well marked. The terrain is open with marshes and forests. You pass several beautiful mountain lakes as well as nice viewing points. The highest point along this stage of the path is about 500 meters above sea level. The last two kilometers of this stage follow the main road. There are few changes in the altitude of the terrain, which means this stage is relatively easy to walk.

A good tip is to bring along the “Tour and Adventure map” about Kvinesheia. The map can be purchased at Kvina Foto in Liknes or from Birkeland Handelslag in Hægebostad. Price nok 60.

This stage runs for nearly 11 kilometers, and the time used will off course be related to your pace. A family with young children should allow for 5-7 hours. If it is more convenient to do a roundtrip, we recommend walking from Årlia to the "Priest" before returning. (Approximately 6.5 kilometers each direction).

This section of the trail is also described on ww.kulturminneloypa.no.

 

 

travel by train:

Go to Storekvina train station, and order a taxi to the starting point of the trail; phonenumber +47 90 47 92 40. You should be driving towards Årlia on the road from Moi in Kvinesdal to Birkeland in Hægebostad.

accomodation and food:

Utsikten Hotell, Kvinesdal

Phone +47 38 35 88 00  (appr. 15 min. drive to Årlia.)

 

Stage 2: Snartemo - Konsmo 18 km

follow the deer trails

This stage starts at the Bauta park near Snartemo train station and ends at the church in Konsmo in the municipality of Audnedal. You can easily reach Snartemo by train from both Kristiansand and Stavanger.

The steep hillside up from Snartemo goes by the name Snartemo-Kleivan. It is approximately one and a half hour to walk from Snartemo Station to Mydland farm. Note that the journey between Snartemo and Mydland passes through steep terrain, but the surface is even and the path is good to walk along. Arriving at Mydland farm you can refill your water bottles, or have lunch (please contact the hosts in advance). If you are lucky you will also see deers and Scottish Highland cattle.

From Mydland, the path continues further east towards Konsmo. Partly it follows through the forrest and partly along a gravel road with little traffic. This section is also suitable for wheelchairs users. The trail passes the beautiful lake Hellevann with good fishing and picnic opportunities. Fishing licenses can be purchased at Mydland farm or at the grocery store in Konsmo.

At Nepstad you reach a farmyard / intersection. If you continue straight onwards you will be following the authentic trail which in part can be very steep. Alternatively, you continue along the main road / gravel road to the right (also marked) towards the Egebø farm. Note that path takes a sudden left into the woods. Follow this path until you arrive at Egebø. Scenes for the movie “Yohan - child wanderer” were filmed here. After Egebø it passes through the forest along an old country road down towards the river Audna and the small village of Konsmo.

This stage ends at Konsmo church. A few kilometers north of Konsmo you can take the train to Kristiansand or Stavanger. Follow the cycling path from the village to Audnedal Station. You can also pre-order a taxi by calling +47 92 05 68 39 or +47 90 66 10 98. Konsmo offers services as a petrol station, a grocery store and also a Historical center on the Child Wanderers.

 
 

travel by train:

Snartemo train stasjon. This stage starts by the Bauta park nearby.

accomodation and food:

Heddan Gard: Phone +47 38 34 88 37
Mydland Gard: Phone +47 38 34 86 42

Supermarket / bakery in Konsmo.
 

 

Stage 3: KONSMO – LAUDAL 11 km

salmon river and cultural landskape

This section starts at Konsmo Church and ends at Laudal Salmon Center / Laudal Power Station. The trail predominantly follows an old country road built in 1846.

Along the first 2 km there is a steep incline. The first part provides a beautiful view of Konsmo. From here on it is mostly open fields with some small hills and then downhill until Laudal. The children used to gather at the church in Konsmo before their journey continued eastward. From the church walk eastwards, crossing the main road (461) and continue along the old country road up the steep hills of Konsmo. 

You will have to cross the main road (461) twice on your way up. Almost at the top you exit onto the main road (461).This is called Ulvespranget. From this point, walk a few hundred meters before you enter the old Høylandsveien (Høyland road) on your right.

Then you take the left and continue eastward. At one point you will be following the edge of the main road (461) for a few meters, before turning off again into the surroundings. At the railway bridge, you can choose whether you want to follow the main road or continue along the old county road. The county road passes through beautiful landscapes and forest until you meet a railway crossing. After this point you will need to walk along the main road (461) before proceeding towards the borders of Marnardal municipality.

By Fidje turn left on the main road (461) and follow the road (behind some houses) onto the original path. The path follows the old route, meets the main road again at Fjellestad, and follows for a stretch. The children mostly walked this stretch towards Laudal. Some places along this road you can see sections of the old paths above and below the current road, but drops and slopes make it an inappropriate route to follow. Down at Sveinall the path has been removed due to cultivation of the land. At this point, the children often stopped by to get information about the waterlevel in the river, to determinate the best place to cross. At that time of year the river could in fact be fairly rough due to the spring thaw, snow melting or prolonged rain. This was before the regulation of river flows, and the spring floods were considerably more intense than today. 

The marked trail turns off at Fjellestad, crosses the stream and follows the markings along forest roads and trails towards Sveinall. Continue on down to the main road and follow it for a few hundred meters towards Laudal. The path is marked through the woods past a youth club building and up on the main road it passes the school building. At this point, turn off to the old road which passes the church. From this point until the Salmon Centre at Laudal power station the trail follows the same route as part of public trails in Laudal (marked with red and yellow).

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travel by train:

Audnedal stasjon, 4 km north of Konsmo

Taxi:

Lars Terjes Taxi: Phone +47 920 56 839
 

Konsmo offers:

Supermarket / bakery / petrolstation

Bank / ATM

Contact Turistkontoret for Lindesnesregionen

 

 

Stage 4: LAUDAL - NODELAND 31 km

This stage of the trail starts at Laudal salmon center / Laudal power station in Marnardal and ends at Greipstad church by Nodeland.

From Laudal the children walked along various paths eastwards. One path passed Breland and continued on towards Stokkeland or Birkeland in Songdal. Another possible route passed by Høye towards Breland, which is the old road Birkelandskleivene. The paths the children followed are, in other words, not identical with our Child Wanderer Path. This is due to the area being altered in conjunction with the completion of the railway in the mid 1940’s.

In part you will follow the main road.

The stage ends at Greipstad church. Just south of the church is the old farm Porsmyr. An avid volunteer group have for years devoted a considerable amount of time and effort to renovate and present the buildings. The farm is now a village museum that is actively used. Some Sundays during the summer months they sell coffee and waffles.

 

 

travel by train:

Marnardal stasjon, 3,5 km fra Laudal     
Taxi tlf: 916 19 235 / 38 28 89 41
Marnar Laksesenter: tlf 38 28 77 44 / 992 42 669
www.sone3.no

accomodation:

Mjåland Camping: Laudal tlf 906 60 209
Bjeddan Gard: 13 km from Laudal towards Nodeland, sleep in a outdoor shelter (oven and outhouse), contact 97131007


Stage 5: NODELAND – KRISTIANSAND 11 km

This stage begins at Greipstad church by Nodeland and ends up at the town square in the center of Kristiansand. 

If you wish to get to the train station from Greipstad Church, follow the “Old Church Road - Gamle Kirkeveg” east until you meet the main road Songdalsvegen (461).

The Child Wanderer Path leaves Gamle Kirkeveg eastwards and crosses the main road (461) at a roundabout and continues south along the road Nodelandsvegen until you pass Kuliens Gartneri (Garden center / Plant nursery). Turn left at Aasen Gartneri and follow the forest road over Nodekleiva. This forest road is hilly and passes through partially steep wooded terrain, in a peaceful environment dominated by deciduous and pine forest. The forest road ends in a small housing estate in Farvannslia. Follow the gravel road straight ahead down the hill and take the first side road to the right. Immediately after crossing the bridge over a stream that runs into the lake “Farvannet”, take a left at the barrier and follow the forest road approximately 20 meters before turning off to the right and entering into the woods again, up Barendalskleiva.

You can see clear traces of previous generations' efforts to make the traffic over the hill more accessible in a rugged and steep terrain. The remains of buildings, foundation stone, are from inns and stopovers along the road. Note that there are excellent swimming and picnic facilities at Kvislevann.

After Kvislevann you continue towards Grotjønn and all the way down towards Suldalen the trail partially follows the old road (Post Road) towards Kjerrane. In Suldalen you will exit onto a main road - Setesdalsvegen. You are now heading towards the northwestern corner of “Kvadraturen” in Kristiansand city center on a walking and cycling path until you reach Gartnerløkka. Finally follow the pedestrian street Markens down to Dronningens gate.

By the railway station in Nodeland near Greipstad Church there are ample parking facilities.

 

accomodation:

Contact the touristoffice in Kristiansand.


Stage 6: KRISTIANSAND – BIRKELAND 34 km

This stage begins on the Lower Square (Nedre Torv) in Kristiansand and ends up at Valstrand School in Birkenes municipality. Parts of the stage can be cycled.

From Nedre Torv follow Markens street down until you meet the Dronningens gate (street). Follow the street eastwards and cross "Gamle Lundsbro" (The old bridge in Lund). Continue onto the road Østervegen towards Oddernes Church, past Gimlehallen, continue towards Jægersberg Farm and walk on to the forest road in Jegersberg. You are now following the Old Post Road (Gamle Postvegen). Continue following this road for several miles towards Ålefjær until you meet the main road near Kostøl (Ålefjærveien). From there follow the road up to Ålefjærvika towards Erkleiv. At the road Erkleivveien you will be following an old main road, the country road. Quite quickly you will see Bjåvann on your right. From there you will reach the Lømslands farms and follow the road up until Krossen. This section has a gravel road and passes through woodland and scattered housing.

At Krossen the road continues up to Skådane. Here you should exit the road and turn eastwards. You will enter onto what is called Vestlandske hovedvei (the West Coast Highway). By Stemtjønn there is a nice swimming and picnic area, and by Foss there are also parking facilities. The trail crosses Tovdal river at Foss over the footbridge and continues along Highway 41 towards Grødum in Birkenes. From the suspension bridge and up approximately 1 km, the river is also the border of the municipality. This section is not marked, but it is not hard to find your way.

When you come to a settlement of 4-5 houses on the right side, look for a blue marking post. This indicates that should turn off the highway and onto a forest path. You are now on the road towards Varpelia. From here it is marked onwards to Tveide. (Not suitable for cycling). The West Coast Highway continues on towards Lillesand, but the children often took a shortcut from Tveide to Landvik.

From Varpelia to Tveide the trail is approximately 3 km long and mostly intact. This section is referred to as Tveideråsen (see picture below). From Tveide and further on towards Øvre Birkeland (approximately 2 km) you are following the old Flakvanns railway line, which was in operation from 1896-1954.

Along the trail you will pass Grasham Farm (from the 1800s, see picture below) consisting of a farmhouse, a barn with a horse walker, a carpentry workshop, a forge and a mill, a vintage bus and a workshop museum anno 1950. Here they arrange Grashamdagen “Grasham day” in August as well as other activities. From here you should walk towards Valstrand school, the end of the trail for this stage.

If you exit the trail there you are only a short distance from the center of Birkeland, a nice little southern village that deserves a visit. Here you will find motels, the Chinese restaurant Sakura, a convenience store and grocery shops.

 

ACCOMODATION:

Contact the tourist office in Kristiansand / phone +47 38 07 50 00

Stage 7: BIRKELAND – LANDVIK 20 km

This stage starts in the municipality of Birkenes near Valstrand school. From here you can walk or cycle towards the cotter’s farm Stien. This stretch is about 7 km long. From there the Child Wanderer Path follows the ancient road "Stigsveien" towards Reddal, approximately 5 km in hilly terrain and along a woodland trail with open and beautiful mixed forest.

Shortly after the trail enters Landvik, you will pass Lindvannsstemmen. Lindvannsstemmen is bricked up to collect water for floating logs in the river below. The eldest Stigsveien likely crossed the river, just below Lindvannsstemmen.

Along the trail, look for the “Varp”. "Varp" means "throw". Such phenomenons are often found along the old routes where there has been an accident, or maybe a murder. By throwing a stone or a stick on the mound one could protect oneself against the evil.

After a gentle descent of approximately 100 m you will arrive at Nærebø in Reddal. Follow the asphalted main road up to the assembly hall in the middle of the village. Turn off towards "Reddal Sand" and the main road continues on towards Hestehaven (Seland).

The total length of the main road is approximately 3 km. From Hestehaven follow the old road Reddalsveien over Grøvane until you reach Dolholt. Continue past the Dolholt farms on Dolholtmoen. From here you should follow the old road "Kongeveien" (Kings road) over Havstadmoen, go down Ringskleiva to your destination Landvik church. The distance from Hestehaven to Landvik Church is approximately 3 km.



accomodation:

Birkeland hotell: 37 27 70 07 / Taxi phone: 37 27 88 88


Contact information for the child wanderer path

If you have questions concerning the path, you can send it to post@barnevandring.no 

Your inquiry will then be forwarded to the applicable municipal/local tourist office who has detailed information about the stage.
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tourist information along the route

Kvinesdal  / Hægebostad  / Flekkefjord  / Lyngdal  / Farsund  / Audendal og Marnardal / Kristiansand / Grimstad

 

Transport

For transport, we recommend to combine hiking and train / Sørlandsbanen. See www.nsb.no. The train stops at Store Kvina, at Snartemo, at Audnedal (4 km. north of Konsmo), Marnardal (near Laudal), at Nodeland and Kristiansand.

Check also Agder kollektivtrafikk for public transport info.