It is difficult to get to and requires an early morning wake up, but the forest of Rold Skov, inside the Rebild National Park, is a wonderful place for taking advantage of the many hours of sunshine during Danish summers, with landscapes that date back to the Ice Age.
Where to find Rold Skov Forest
Rold Skov is a beautiful natural forest found within the Jutland peninsula, more or less in the middle of what is the only mainland part of Denmark. Jutland is west of the islands of Fyn (the capital is Odense) and Sealand (of which the capital is Copenhagen).
The Rold Skov forest is located in the town of Rebild, about an hour north by car from the capital city Aarhus. Nevertheless, the name Rold Skov comes from Rold, meaning a small village south of the forest.
This forest, famous for its unspoiled nature and the rustling trees that grow in it, is located within the Rebild National Park.
Rebild National Park
Rebild National Park grew out of a history of human sensitivity to nature. The lands, until 1912, were owned by a group of Americans of Danish origin who decided to donate about 200 hectares to the government, under the condition that it be preserved as a natural area, without building on it and keeping it accessible to the public. Another condition was that this space would be made available to any Americans who might want to celebrate their national holidays on it, starting with the 4th of July.
Fortunately, the Danish government was very sensitive to these initiatives and decided to acquire these spaces and also buy the adjacent forest, thus reaching a united area of about 80 square kilometers. They called the combined spaces Rold Skov, meaning Rold forest, and today it is the largest forest in Denmark and is a protected natural area.
The Rebild National Park is a set of rolling hills from which spontaneous plants of heather and dense forests of poplars, beeches and oaks spring up.
The rustling trees of the Rold Skov Forest - Troldeskoven
A day trip allows you to see much of the park along trails that run through it in several directions. If you cannot devote more than a few hours to it, we suggest you head straight for the heart of the Rold Skov Forest, where trees with a fairy-tale atmosphere are found.
The most storybook- like part of the forest is where the beech trees lie, with their twisting trunks. They can be found at the heart of Rebild National Park and the shadows made by their foliage offer a welcome respite from the sun. It is no coincidence that this part of the forest is known as Troldeskoven, or troll forest, because of the dreamy feeling the gnarled shape of the branches of the trees evokes.
Here, the beeches have this shape both because of the nature of the tree itself and because of the conditions in which they have grown. This area is home to the oldest beech trees in the forest but also in all of Denmark. Each of these trees has multiple trunks, even up to 30 for a single tree.
The peculiarity of these trees, called røllebøge in Danish, is that once the trunks are cut, the plant will throw new ones from the roots and from the cut part, so even if they are cut down, they will continue to be reborn.
What to do in the Rold Skov Forest
Rold Skov Forest is an idyllic place for nature lovers, who can't help but be thrilled by this pristine place. Within Rold Skov there are numerous hiking trails, but also mountain bike trails.
There is a large tourist office at the entrance to the park that gives information about the activities the forest and in the nearby areas offer, including canoeing, fishing, hiking, horseback riding or cycling, and even golf. Unfortunately, the tourist office follows typical Danish opening hours (10am- 3pm) and outside there is no information material to be found.
However, there are small maps placed at the entrance of the park (one exclusively in Danish) that can guide you on your excursion.
The tourist office is within the visitor center, the RebilPorten (Rebildvej 25) and there are also small exhibitions on nature and local folklore inside.
There is a path of about four kilometers that passes through a pasture of sheep, now accustomed to the transit of people, although they are still a bit wary, just in front of the visitors center. The path leads to the Tophuset, a centuries-old thatched house that is now a café, but was built by the first custodians of the park. Just after, you will come across the Blokhusmuseet, a wooden hut that brings to mind the one where Abraham Lincoln was born.
The Cimbrerstenen, a big boulder of glacial origin that was carved in the shape of a bull's head is just beyond. Then you will reacha small valley where the 4th of July celebrations are organized in accordance with the ancient owners of this land, and the Sonderland, which is the highest hill of the whole area - almost 102 meters high!
For more on the attractions of the forest, as well as interesting information such as the Mountain Bike Code of Conduct and Horse- back riding rules (never on grave mounds or prehistoric monuments!) consult The Danish Nature Agency.
How to get there
It must be said that getting to Rold Skov forest takes determination. The Aalborg airport is the nearest airport to Road Skov, and there are trains and buses available from the nearby cities of Aarden and Aarhus. From Copenhagen, we recommend renting a car and making your way to Role Skov forest for a camping trip.
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All you need to know about the forest of Rold Skov
Rold Skov, Denmark