The pilgrims' path through Ringerike
About the pilgrims' path through Ringerike
Way-marked trail for the modern-day pilgrim. Opened as part of the St. Olaf's Day celebrations in 1995. The path leads through beautiful cultural and natural landscapes in Hole/Ringerike towards Norderhov church, across Haugsbygd (Haug church) to Jevnaker municipality, and onwards across rural Hadeland. It forms part of the St. Olav Ways network of paths from Oslo to Nidaros, and follows some sections of Den Bergenske Kongevegen.
There are numerous cultural heritage sites along the way: The St. Olav spring, Midtskogsteinen, Benteplassen w/memorial stone of Kari Hiran and memorial stone in Tavleskaret/Nordkleiva (both linked to the war in 1716), Kroksundbroen (stone bridge), boundary stone by Bønsnes medieval church, and Frøyshov burial site (24 burial mounds from the early Iron Age). Ringerike was a centre of power and trade in pre-Christian times, something rich grave-finds confirm. It was a meeting place for people from Hallingdal, Valdres, and Oplandene. There were also strong connections with Viken and the villages along the Vestfold coast. The central location, combined with a favourable climate and fertile land, formed the basis for wealth and power for chieftains and kings.
Hønefoss is built around the 21-metre-high Hønefossen waterfall in Ådalselva. The waterfall was used for mills as early as in the 1300s. Sawmills started to emerge in the 1600s, and in the 1660s there were 24 in total. This formed the foundation for urban settlement and development, and Hønefoss was granted town privileges in 1852.
What is there to see along the route?
On your way from Hole to Ringerike, the old medieval route leads up Bergerbakkene to Norderhov church. At the left hand side is Juveren Nature Reserve, one of the most recent and least overgrown river bends created by Storelva as it meanders its way to Tyrifjorden.
Norderhov, or the old Njardarhov – the hof of the Norse god, Njord – is where pagan and Christian Middle Ages meet. It is one of several examples of churches built close to an old pagan worship site. Norderhov church was probably built towards the end of the 1100s.
The old Norderhov rectory is home to Ringerikes Museum and its different exhibitions, including one of the poet, folk-tale collector and bishop, Jørgen Moe. It also features a home front museum and exhibits from Ringeriket’s ancient history. In Svenskestua are artefacts from the powerful vicar’s wife, Anna Colbjørnsdatter, and the battle of Norderhov in 1716. There is also an icon collection at the museum. The brown building, Munkestua, probably dates back to the 1500s, and the Munk-cellar may date from before 1200. Their age and names raise the question as to whether these premises served as accommodation for pilgrims.
Norderhov's long history as a religious meeting point is also evidenced by the large Iron Age burial sites at Trygstad, Tandbergmoen, and Stavhella. More burial mounds can be found at Ringåsen, located to the east. According to the old bailiff Iver Wiel, a huge burial mound was opened at the farm Veisten in 1713. Inside were the remains of an important person.
Above from Hesselberg, the old medieval thoroughfare takes a left turn. At the top of the hill, we reach Stavhella where at least 25 round mounds from the late Iron Age, year 600-1000, have been recorded. A few hundred metres west of Stavhella is where Tandberg church was located 700 years ago. This was a stone church with Christian graves. The church valuables are today kept in St. Mary’s Church in Oslo.
Stretch to Haug church
On the northern side of Tandbergmovegen, the old track has been removed to give way to farming. The path follows the farm road at the forest edge along the eastern side of the field. After a walk of approx. 1 km through the forest, we reach the Sætrang farms. This was once the site of a monolith with runic inscriptions, and was known as “Sætranggråen”. It was removed during last century due to heavy traffic and people digging for a treasure believed to have been buried here. From Sætrang, the path follows the main road for 100 m, and then turns left towards Haug church.
Haug church and Haugsbygd
Haug is a medieval church dating back to the 1100s, and features pagan burial mounds and Christian graves side-by-side. Its original nave still exists, but has been extended. The church was restored and extended in 1712, and was last altered in 1878.
The pilgrims’ path continues along Harehaugveien, which is also the medieval road and bishop Jens Nilssøns travel route in 1594. This area offers the most beautiful view of Hønefoss. On the ridge west of Hønefoss is Veien Kulturminnepark, one of Eastern Norway’s largest burial sites. At the top of the hill, Harehaugveien takes a left turn. A site that may be of interest is a Viking grave by the farm Gjermundbo, 1 km to the south-east. We then turn left onto Torp-veien. *Cyclists should follow Harehaugveien to the right.
On the hill west of Torp, there is a protected area called Aurenhøgda. This is the feeder dike for a volcano from the Permian, i.e. approx. 250 million years ago. We follow the old thoroughfare downhill, and turn right across Aurebeck, i.e. Aurdalsbekken.
The path leads past old foundations from several old crofts that belonged to the farm Honerud, and then on to Askilsrud. Here, the old route continued straight ahead. It is still clearly visible, partly with sunken lane characteristics, along the property borders past Gundersby and Skaug, but some stretches are gone. Therefore, we have to turn right and follow the farm road up to the footpath running along the main road.
By Åsbygda school, the path follows the footpath beneath the main road, and continues along Gamlevegen to Jevnaker municipality. Gamlevegen forms part of Den Bergenske Kongevegen, built around year 1800, and is a very typical example of roads built at the time – i.e. with French chaussées going straight ahead, both uphill and downhill.
Some 400 metres from the school, we reach the farm Skogstad on the left hand side. The medieval route ran below the farm, past Hundlandet and Aslaksrud. By Hundlandet, a flagstone with very interesting runes from around 1190 has been found. When we are back down by the main road, we have left Ringerike municipality and are at the gateway to Jevnaker municipality.
hotel’s beautiful surroundings.
Show consideration during your visit, and follow these basic guidelines:
• Adhere to the code of conduct for public right of access
• Park at designated car parks and campsites
• Take your litter home or use the bins provided
• Remember the rules for keeping dogs on a lead; respect campfire bans and restrictions, and use designated sites only
• Try to use local shops along the route
• Drive nicely, but not too nicely – keep up with the traffic
• Last, but not least; ENJOY your trip!