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