Balsberget Grottan - The Balsberg Cave

Useful Information

Location: 29 km north of Kristianstad, in the Balsberg, Western bank of Rabelovsjon (Lake Ravalov).
Open: no restrictions
Fee: none
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave artificial alterations.
Light: none, bring electric torch.
Dimension: L=250 m.
Guided tours: Cave Trekking tours organized by local clubs and the natural history museum at Kristianstad.
Bibliography: L. Tell, Y. Freij, E. Johansson (1967): Balsbergsgrottan, Ark. Svensk Grottforskn. 7: 1-88.
Address: Naturskyddsföreningen i Kristianstad, Södra Solhällevägen 30, 297 31 Degeberga. E-mail: contact
Friluftsfrämjandet i Kullabygden (The Association for the Development of Skiing and Outdoor Life in Sweden), PB Olsson, box 77, 263 21 Höganäs, Tel: +46-42-206667. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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The Balsberg Cave

by Tony Oldham

Eighteen miles North of Kristianstad in Sweden is Lake Ravalov, and on its Western bank is the 220ft. high hill, the Balsberg. The top of the Balsberg is granite gneiss, which is in the shape of a solid cone protruding through the surrounding glacier scree. To the South West corner a band of Cretaceous Limestone is exposed, in which the Balsberg Cave is formed. This is a rather picturesque area cloaked by pinewoods and moss-covered boulders.

From the cave entrance a partially collapsed passage leads to the Entrance Chamber, 130ft. long, and another short passage leads to the Inner Chamber, 65ft. long. The walls and ceiling of this cave are of great interest to the geologist for they contain the finest collection of fossils in Skåne. These fossils, due to the soft material in which they are embedded, can easily be picked out by hand. They give the cave an unusual appearance for when they are covered with droplets of water, the faint light from the entrance reflects on them giving rise to "Gnome Lights".

A passage 50ft. long connects Entrance and Inner Chamber, and as it is at a lower level than the two chambers it is quite often filled with water and in fact can cut off the Inner Chamber.

Along the left-hand wall of the Inner Chamber, at floor level, are small grooves whose structure clearly shows that they are formed by the action of water. They are, however, too small to enter. This chamber is now blocked by many roof falls, and originally went much further into the hill.

From the Entrance Chamber, a passage leading West-South-West terminates in a roof fall, corresponding with a shake hole in the wood above.

To the East of the Inner Chamber there have been many landslides, one before 1880, one between 1880-85, and one after 1914. There are the remains of an old ladder in this chamber, with which it was possible to climb into a hole in the roof, and then to the surface, but this was blocked soon after 1914, by a roof fall, the remains of which can be seen on the floor. The Inner Chamber is probably the beginning of a 330ft. long cave.

The Balsberg cave is said to be "a work of nature dug out by the action of water", although part of it have been used as building stone for the fortifications at Kristianstad.

The temperature of the cave is fairly constant, Summer and Winter.

There are many different types of fossil brachiopods to be found here. The characteristic fossil of this formation Actinocarnae mamillatus is quite predominant, along with mussels and many different types of oysters, and Salenia areolata. Plants are represented by Chlorotif hymenomycetes. Octopus is also very well represented, the small broken arms of these animals lie in profusion on the walls of the cave.

There are many animals still living in the cave, including moths (Notodona), mosquitoes, some polypods (Polytenus) slugs, small frogs, spiders and bats (Myotis daubentonii).

The cave is not gated and is a popular picnic spot. You will need a torch.

Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.