Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Villestrup Ådal, Himmerland

Villestrup Å

The otter

Skov- og Naturstyrelsen, Himmerland carries through in the period 2008-10 a restoration-project in Villestrup Ådal (river valley), which include the remaining 7 fish farms in the river valley. Villestrup Ådal is unique in Denmark. The river valley is dominated by fine clear water streams upon chalky soil. Villestrup Ådal and two large side valleys are selected as EU-habitat area. The water streams have extraordinary large falls and have a good population of otter and lamprey (Lampetra planeri), and "sea lamprey" (Petromyzon marinus) is often seen.

Store Blåkilde

At the top of the river stream is Store Blåkilde, which is Denmark's largest and finest bassinkilde (bassin-spring). Villestrup Å can be compared to the unique English water streams , named "chalk-streams". The river valley contains several habitat-nature types, i.e. the rare kalkoverdrev (chalk pasture). The valley has rarities like the largest growth of bakke-gøgeurt (burnt-tip orchid/Orchis ustulata ), only two habitats of burnt-tip orchid in Denmark and one habitat of hvid sækspore (small white orchid, white frog orchid ,Pseudorchis albida) .

Villestrup manor has a beautiful Baroque garden

Villestrup Å at Villestrup manor

Unfortunately the valley has suffered from many fish farms, which besides the environmental impact account for effective blocking. In spite of establishing various passage for the fish it has shown that this is not satisfying neither for the sea trout or other migrating fish species. And in spite of the unique landscape has Villestrup Ådal been a closed place for the public. Except the path down to Store Blåkilde and a short path east of Oue there are no paths areas with public access. You pass the valley across, typical where the old mills were and where the fish farms came into existence.

Grill-place in Rold skov

Stinesminde fishing village, Mariager Fjord

Via the project there will be some improvements in Villestrup Ådal (habitat area 222) and an opening for other projects and improvements: all fish farms will be closed down (some have been closed down now) ; phosphorus-reduction in Mariager Fjord; all blocking in the water streams removed and passage-improvements; Den Danske Stat willl via buying property and nature restoration establoish public access to several sections of Villestrup Å as the beginning of the next establishment of a Villestrup Å-Sti (path), which will connect Rold skov to Mariager fjord. Furthermore are projects about resorts and shelter areas.

It has been wonderful to see the places where the fish farms have been closed down. It is good for the nature. And for us all!

photo Blåkilde 2003; Villestrup/Rold /Mariager 2009: grethe bachmann

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