Thursday, March 22, 2012

Visiting a few Places in Vejle River Valley

The hilly valley along Vejle river is one of the prettiest in Jutland - and furthermore the district around Vejle has many famous historic places, one of the most wellknown is Jelling with the runestones and Gorm's and Thyra's hills. But this day the tour went first to Haraldskær, which lies close to the river, it's an old manor, known since the 1400s. Today it is a fine white hotel. Behind  Haraldskær upon a hill lies one of the first stone churches in Denmark, a small Romanesque church without a tower, named Skibet. Its name refers to that it was possible to sail up to this place in the early Middle Ages. In the church is a uniqe Romanesque frescoe-frieze with horsemen, which possiblty was painted by an English artist. It is one of very few representations of the legend about the Holy Grail in Denmark. The landscape by Skibet  is often referred to as a Viking period- landscape, a fine hilly landscape, formed by Vejle river. The close connection between the church and the manor Haraldskær reaches possibly far back in time, and the church was probably built for a magnate.

From Haraldskær we drove inland and uphill to a place called Højen, which actually means hill, and the small village was placed upon a hill. After passing the the cosy village  the sun broke through the misty landscape and there was a field with Hereford cattle  and a little calf. This called for a stop.They are so peaceful and calm, I wonder if they might be a good medicine for stressed people in one of those clinics where they have to stress off. They might have a field outside the clinic with Hereford or Highlanders. The sun had a difficult time trying to break through the haze on this day. It takes some time before the winter's cold from the sea and the land disappears. I actually like a misty landscape. Reminds me about English paintings and water-colours.   

along the narrow country road to Nørup.
We came to a large village Bredsten. The big white church had a Baroque, bulbous-shaped spire like many other churches in the district of Vejle and Horsens  - and like the big manor Engelsholm, which has four of those spires. They might have had the same architect who dominated in the Baroque-period. We were looking for a very rare little fern at bredsten church, which grows upon walls and stones. It is found in less than ten places in Denmark, one at Kronborg castle. It is totally protected, but we couldn't find it. Maybe someone has removed it. We don't know yet. (Last news: the fern is still there on the dike and it is fresh and fine.)

The next was the church in Nørup with a bulbous spire  and with a fine view to the manor Engelsholm with four spires by the beautiful lake. Engelsholm belonged to a Rosenkrantz in the early 1500s. Was  Rosenkrantz ever in England?  Did he meet Shakespeare? I haven't got the faintest idea, but it's fun to imagine things.  Engelsholm is today a highschool  for art. Music, visual arts, glass art  etc. In April they have a course about Bob Dylan.
From Nørup church hill is a fine view across the lake to Engelsholm and down to the country road.

We went to Ravning next, also in the river valley. Here was in the 1950s found an old Viking bridge, which possibly was a part of Harald Bluetooth's road system through Jutland. The bridge was, according to a dating of the oakwood, built ab. year 980. It was a 800 meter long and 5 m broad timbered oakwood-bridge across the river valley. The bridge was based upon 1.800 massive oak-posts, cut with axe and knocked down into the moist soil of the river valley. There is a reconstructed bridge span at the edge of the valley. They are restoring it now, it's probably ready for summer. 
bridge restored.

Observation platform

West of the town of Vejle is a piece of land, which has now been laid out as a nature area. It is called Kongens Kær. (the King's Meadow). This wetland is a magnificent place for people from Vejle and of course also others who want to see it. There is a rich bird life with water- and wading birds, and there are walking paths and a big observation platform at the country road. The project also contributes to an improvement of the water environment in Vejle fjord by removing nutrients from Vejle river. (Vejle Å) To secure the neighbours of the area against flooding a dike has been built. The living conditions for the bird life and the very rare birch mouse have been improved by the construction of respectively 2 bird islands and earth banks.

The Birch Mouse. (Northern Birch Mouse) Sicista betulina.
The birch mouse is on the redlist of endangered species and is governed by all the strongest international protection. ( EU's habitat-directive). And Denmark is thereby obliged to protect the breeding places of the birch mouse.
The birch mouse (it's not a real mouse) is the only Danish rodent who belong to the family of hoppemus (hopping mice) , and it is probably also the most rare and most endangered mammal in Denmark. At the same time it is among the species we know the least. As far as known the birch mouse lives in isolated lommer (pockets) in North-, Middle- and South Jutland. It lives apparently mostly in the open land, with moist meadows, windbreaks etc. The special characteristics of the birch mouse is the long black stripe on the back, which goes from the eyes and down to the root of the tail, which is longer than the body. From snout to tail the birch mouse measures 5-8 cm, while the tail can be about 11 centimeter long. It weighs 5-15 gram, less than an ordinary letter. The birch mouse sleeps wintersleep more than half of the year

Sources: Natur og Miljø, Vejle kommune; Politikens store Danmarksbog, Engelsholm Højskole, Danmarks kirker; Slotte og herregårde i Danmark.

photo 17 March 2012 Vejle ådal: grethe bachmann:  


Michael and Hanne said...

Very fine photos. Loved the selection!

Out on the prairie said...

What a lovely set of photos.

Jardinier Bénévole said...

Great pictures! I find those landscapes very poetic, almost like in a paiting :o)

Wanda..... said...

All the landscape photos do have a soft serene quality to them, Grethe...a very peaceful road trip I imagine.

Thyra said...

Hej! May I answer all of you? Midhael and Hanne, Steve, Jardiniére and Wanda! You are so sweet and I'm glad that you like my photos.
The little fern I told you about has been found. We were just not good enough to look properly for it.
Now I'm looking forward to to-morrow. I hope for a fine spring day out in the countryside - and I hope that you'll have a lovely week-end!

Grethe ´)

Havehyrden said...

Skønne billeder fra et smukt område ;)

Thyra said...

Hej Havehyrde! Tusind tak. Du har nu også nogle skønne steder på Sjælland som jeg har nydt mange gange på din blog.
Jyden ´)

Carolyn said...

LOVED our walk today ... or was this yesterday! Beautiful beautiful pictures...