Kuusiluoto in an island in the middle of Helsinki. Kuusiluoto is part of city’s common recreational park area. It is located in Vanhankaupunginlahti. On the island there is an old villa, rented out by the association VKEK ry. The association takes care of the premises and hosts this webpage.
You can access Kuusiluoto by duckboards. Starting by the end of Jokisuuntie (linkki) are duckboards (narrow walkway made of wooden planks) 1.2 km long, that take you via Lammassaari-island. Rubber boots may be needed during autumn time, when the level of sea water is above 30 cm of the normal. Check the level here. Childrens’ prams don’t fit on the duckboards.
In the south-west point of the island there is an old dock where you can swim and fish at your own risk. It is strickly prohibited to make any kind of open fire on the island.
Already over ten years a few sheep have spend their summer months in Kuusiluoto. Feeding sheep with bread or other food is not allowed, this is to keep sheep from coming too familiar with people. Also their digestive system doesn’t cope well with human food and might make them sick.
Forests in Kuusiluoto are hardwood groves with aspens, maples and some old birches. Black alders grow on the shore. The groves change their appearance with seasons. One can find wood anemones flower in late spring and leaves glowing with colours in autumn. Despite its name, (Kuusiluoto= spruce islet) Kuusiluoto has only one spruce in the middle of the yard of the old villa. The crown of the island is an open rock meadow with few junipers and pines. From June to October there are sheep grazing in Kuusiluoto. Their task is to maintain the traditional open pasture landscape.
The shores are surrounded by a belt of common reed. Water depth around Kuusiluoto is no deeper than 1-1.8 metres. Great crested grebe, coot and mute swan nest in the edge of the reef. Perch, pike and carp live in the shallow waters.
Vanhankaupungin kulttuuri-ekologinen klubi ry (culture and ecology club of Vanhankaupunginlahti) is an association established in 1990. The purpose of the activitity is to protect nature and cultural values of the area and promote various related hobbies. Activities include e.g. boating, gardening, repairing of the old buildings, sheep keeping and winter fishing.
VKEK rents the old villa and its garden from the city of Helsinki and this is a private space. The fences around the garden are to keep the sheep from eating the plants there.
On the second saturday of each month VKEK organizes a communal work day (“talkoot” in Finnish) when all sorts of seasonal tasks, varying from cleaning the yard and cutting wood to building iglus, are done together. All those interested in some practical outdoors exercise are welcome to join!