Stursbøl Plantage, nature
Stursbøl Plantation is located south of Jels by the Jutland ridge, which marks the glacial rim during the last Ice Age. The Ancient Road passes through the woods, partially as a narrow trail, partially as a cycling route along forest roads.
Blue Route – the troll forest
The Blue Route of around 1.8 km begins at a parking lot in the troll forest (Troldeskoven). Today, the forest is designated as a ‘natural forest’, which implies that fallen timber is never removed after a storm, such as after the hurricane in 1999, and that the trees sow themselves. Until the 1999 hurricane, the forest consisted of gnarled pine trees originating from the first years of forestation in the 1800s. The stunted trees developed grotesque shapes and some have survived the storm as eerie monuments. There are several explanations as to why the trees became so gnarled. According to legend, the forest in ancient times was inhabited by trolls. Another more scientific explanation, however, is that the pine trees shortly after being planted were attacked by tiny pine shoot moths whose larvae infested the buds of the young trees, thereby creating the peculiar forms. Today, the forest is very evidently populated by trolls and other strange creatures in the form of woodcarvings in the fallen trees, crafted using chain saws.
Blue Route – the barrows
Along the approximately 2 km hiking trail you will pass some of the area’s many prehistoric barrows, which are associated with early settlements along the Ancient Road. Halfway down the trail you pass a landscaped pond, which is a good resting spot.
The Yellow Route is around 4.4 km. To the immediate north you past a large prehistoric barrow. Several places on the route there are wooded areas where nature has been left to take its course and fallen trees have been left to rot following the 1999 hurricane. About midway you reach the remains of an old cattle pen, which was probably used in ancient times during stopovers by cattle drovers. But the pens may also be the vestiges of village farms that once stood here. The forest ranger’s house from 1798 is called "Stursbølhus"
The leaflet from the Danish Nature Agency (No. 109) with descriptions and maps of the three routes can be downloaded from this link.
Hiking route The Ancient Road Hærvejen 0 km
Cycling route The Ancient Road Hærvejen 0,1 km