Forests, heaths and grassland
Mugo pine in dune plantation
The dune plantations between Blåvand and Oksbøl were established in the latter part of the 19th century to shelter against the sand drift, which used to be a major problem in the area. Only the hardiest types of trees could survive here, which is the reason why you can find Mugo pine in the plantations. However, Scotch pine, Austrian pine and deciduous trees, such as oak are also capable of surviving on the sandy ground.
The area surrounding Oksbøl has one of the densest populations of red deer in Denmark. An estimated 1200 adult deer live here.
Common spruce in plantation near Baldersbæk at Holme Å
Along Holme Å the trail passes many large plantations. Most of them were planted at the end of the 19th century. Many of the plantations were financed by financiers from the Danish capital – and are therefore called ”The Copenhagener Plantations.”
Common spruce thrived in the meagre heath soil so there are still a lot of them in the plantations. But the common spruce does not handle storms well! During the 1999 hurricane about one third of the plantation blew down in Baldersbæk Plantage. As a consequence, today a mix of hardwood and softwood is planted, which will handle the wind better.
In the dense plantations, not many animals or plants can be seen. The red deer and roe deer hide in the thicket during the day and with a bit of luck, they can be seen in clearings and in the river valley during the night and the morning. During autumn a wide variety of mushrooms may be found in the plantations.
Heath at Ravnhøj Plantage, Holme Å
The trail around Holme Å also has good heath areas. In the past, the soil was exhausted by farming and the heaths appeared. At the time, the heath covered almost all of the landscape in this area. Improved methods of farming made it possible to cultivate the heath once again. Today, only minor areas exist, all of which are protected. To preserve the heath, it is necessary to nurture them, either by burning or grazing.
The heath is probably at its most beautiful in August and September when the heather blossoms. In late summer and during autumn lots of berries may be found on the heaths – crowberry, cowberry, bilberry and bog whortleberry.
Hardwood forest in October. Vejle Ådal at Tingkærvad
In the rolling terrain along the Vejle Å and Egtved Å streams, many of the hillsides are covered by a diverse forest. The forest mainly consists of beech but a lot of oak can also be found. In the wet areas of the river valley, ash and common alder can also be found.
The changing seasons are easy to spot in the hardwood forest. The blossoming anemones in spring, the lush green forest in summer, the intense colours of autumn and the naked trees of winter are characteristic of the variation in the forest, which is always worth visiting.
The forests have a large population of roe deer, which can often be spotted in the river valley. A rich bird life is also characteristic of the river valley, where the nightingale can be heard in May and June. In certain places, you can be lucky to spot the red kite in its nest in the large trees or the kingfisher along both Egtved Å and Vejle Å.
On the steep slopes between the forests, a grazed grassland can be found, which has a rich plant life. The hard-to-reach slopes have been grazed for centuries, which is why you will find lots of rare plants here, including early purple orchis and butterfly orchis. Rare species of hygrophorus, mushrooms predominantly growing on grassland, can also be found here.
The Coast to Coast Trail for a large part runs between the hills in Vejle Ådal. It is worth it to climb the hills, from where the view is wonderful.