Læsø Dune Plantation - tracing the history of Læsø
Læsø Dune Plantation is young compared to other cultural landscapes on Læsø. The plantation consists of man-made forest, planted to prevent the sand drift. The first private initiatives for sand drift prevention started already around 1800, and at the beginning of 1900, the forestation of Højsande began. A monument with the year 1902 is found in the area around Højsande in memory of the forestation. Not until 1929 did the state start buying land for what is now known as the Læsø Dune Plantation.
The sand drift prevention initiatives have not only created a wonderful plantation as the habitat setting of animals and plants. The plantation also comprises important cultural historic traces of Læsø’s past.
Stone age villages in the forest
Læsø emerged from the sea for the first time around 5000 years ago during the period of the Antiquity named the Neolithic Age. In the plantation below the treetops and in the sand dunes, the stone age landscape lies partly hidden. Finds of flint tools, amber pearls and pottery bear witness of the fact that Læsø in the Stone Age was settled by a particular group of people specialising in hunting and fishing. Their culture is called the Pitted Ware Culture, because they formed small, decorative pits in their pottery. The people lived along the coasts of Kattegat, and archaeological research has shown that there was contact between the cultures of Vendsyssel and Sweden – maybe families from these locations visited Læsø. The Læsø Stone has been erected in the plantation, centrally located in the area that was then the island of the stone age people.
Wars, shipwrecks and lobster fishing
In connection with the plantation, on the heath between the forest and the coast of Storedal, there are some mounds, which are believed to be a cannon battery from the England Wars 1807-1814. Neither did World War II pass unnoticed on Læsø. Along the north coast of Læsø Dune Plantation the Germans built a tipping wagon rail from Vesterø to Højsande and Nordmarken. At Højsande, it was the plan to establish a major fortification. However, it was never built, and today there are sporadic traces of the rail around Holtemmen.
Between the parking lots of Storedal and Horneks Odde you will find the life-saving house at Lilledal. The life-saving house was built in 1891 as a subdivision of the life-saving station in Vesterø. There was also a life-saving station in Østerby. Today, the life-saving house at Lilledal contains an exhibition of the history of the life-saving service and the nature of the area.
At the end of Horneksvejen you will find the lobster huts. From the beginning of 1900 to around 1950, they were inhabited by fishermen spring and summer. They went fishing and caught lobsters with pots. Their skiffs were lying on the beach in front of the huts, thus shortening the distance between home and work during the fishing season. There were originally between 8-10 huts in the Horneks area. Today, there are three of them left, one of which is left as a ruin.
The Danish Forest and Nature Agency is the largest owner of ancient monuments in Denmark. Part of our responsibilities is to protect, tend and teach the prehistoric and historic relics in the forest and to protect the hidden monuments of the past, when we work in the Danish state forest.
The Danish Forest and Nature Agency, Vendsyssel
Archaeologist Marie Walther Ax, 2011