From Brunsnæs to Gammelmark
|Stage length:||19.0 km.|
|Difficulty:||Light, on the verge of moderate. A long distance along the beach at Kragesand is with large stones.
|Loops and detours:||Forest Skelde Kobbelskov, view point Gratelund, paths at Gammelmark.|
Use "See map" and "Practical information" in the menu for information on transport, accommodation and shopping a.m. o.
Bring along the route on your phone:
Scan the QR-code and get access to the Web-App, showing the route and special spots on the Crow Stage - if you want the Web-APP of the entire Gendarme Path, you can find it under "See map".
If you wish to have a look at the Web-App - you can find it here
From Brunsnæs you can follow the Gendarme Path by walking along the beach. You can also choose to go through the gate across the field, but in that case, you must be aware that cattle can walk on the area.
You now follow the beach to Kejserdom, where you go up to Gammel Færgevej. From here, you have a nice view to Holnis and Bokholmwik on the other side of the fjord. If it is high tide, it can be an advantage to walk along Gammel Færgevej from Brunsnæs.
At Busholm, turn down to the water again and follow the beach a short distance before the Gendarme Path turns up on the road “Hertugvej”. Then the route takes a big turnaround Wolffsgaard with the beautiful avenue and cryptic stones by the road. You end up by the water again and follow the beach until you have passed the reed forest in Skeldevig. Here you have a view of Langballigholz on the other side of the fjord.
After Skeldevig, the Gendarme Path goes up through the farm Skrækkehøj and out to the farm Måling. The path now follows the road until it turns down a gravel road. From here, the Gendarme Path continues over a field with animals. Remember to follow the instructions on the signs as you cross the field. Then follow the beach again.
Alte Alternatively, after Måling, you can continue out of the way to Rojhus with the high water mark and turn right, down to Kragesand.
After Kragesand comes one of the trail's beautiful nature attractions, "Liebestunnel" (love tunnel). The Gendarme Path continues along the rocky beach to Frydenlund's car park. If you want to avoid the rocky beach, which can be hard to force, you can choose to walk along the road from Kragesand up to Rojhus. Here you go to the right past the driveway to Frydendal and again to the right at the T-junction, down to Frydenlund car park.
After Frydenlund car park, you will pass a couple of beautifully situated fishermen houses, after which the path turns into a gravel path, which leads you to the forest Skeldekobbel Skov. Here you continue by a forest path, down past a dolmen, and along the water to a primitive campsite. The route continues up through the forest via the gravel path.
Alternatively, you can continue along the water in Skelde Kobbelskov and enjoy the beautiful coastal slope, after which you can walk along the asphalt road back on the Gendarme Path.
From Skeldekobbel, the Gendarme Path runs along the road to Broager Strand Camping at Spar Es, after which it turns into a field path to Gammelmark - and the beautiful view of Sønderborg city.
At Gammelmark cliffs, it is possible to take the Gratelund path up over Gratelund to Dynt - or just take a walk around Dynt Hoved the site of the German cannon battery in 1864, from where they shelled the Danish fortifications at Dybbøl and bombed Sønderborg town.
The birdlife of the Crow stage is unique and the area offers many good spots for watching the many species.
Plenty of birdlife
Along the entire Gendarme Path you can see a multitude of birds. In the forests, the songbirds find shelter, and along the beaches, waterfowl breed in large numbers. Among other things, the reed forests at Skeldevig are a good place to observe birds - so keep your eyes open.
IN THE FOREST
In the summer months, you can experience the song thrush in woodland and gardens. It can be distinguished from the blackbird by its brownish colour and slightly smaller size. On its upper surface the song thrush is light brown and its characteristic underside is lighter with dark spots
The Eurasian jay has a distinctive appearance, and you find it throughout the forest. It has a very distinctive call with a harsh, rasping screech. The majority of its body is reddish brown, but on its wings, the Eurasian jay has an azure spot and the wingtips are black
With highly visible yellow markings on its abdomen, throat and head, yellowhammer males are easy to recognise. The females are brown. You can see the yellowhammer in open and semi-open landscapes.
AT THE BEACH
The goosander is most frequently seen during the winter, but it also occasionally breeds in Denmark. The male has a metallic green head and a large red bill, with its other feathers having a salmon-pink tinge. The female is grey with a brown head. Following local government reform and municipal mergers in 2007, the municipal authority in Sønderborg undertook to ensure special protection of the goosander, as a result of which nest boxes have been set up in order to provide the goosander with better breeding conditions.
The inlet Flensborg Fjord is a good source of food for the white-tailed eagle, which is Northern Europe’s largest bird of prey. Although only 61 breeding pairs have been registered in Denmark, the white-tailed eagle breeds at several locations in the border region and can be seen along the coasts of Flensborg Fjord. An adult white-tailed eagle has a brown body with a pale head and a bright yellow bill. Younger birds do not have the characteristic white head, but are a uniform brown with a greyish bill.
The Eurasian oystercatcher is a large, heavy-set bird with a black back and white underside. Its legs are long and red, as is its bill. When defending their breeding grounds in the spring, they can be very noisy.
The big black cormorant with white markings on its head can often be seen sitting on pound net posts along the coasts. Earlier, the cormorant was almost wiped out, being hunted because it fed on the fish in fishermen’s nets. The cormorant then became a protected species and today it is once again a common sight at Danish coasts.
Quickset hedges at ”Broagerland”
The peninsula ”Broagerland” has many of the unique hedge plantations who are a distinctive feature of the area. It contains of quickset hedges on preserved stone- and earth dikes. The many hedges are a survival from the way of operating in the past. ”Broagerland” represent the best-preserved quickset hedges, and the just to be cut down every nine years.
Just east of “Kragesand” the trees bend out over the slope to create a fantastic tunnel – called “Liebestunnel”, i.e. The Tunnel of Love.
Storm destroyed the forest
At the forest of “Skelde Kobbelskov” you can see many small mounds of earth that are half a metre high and one to two metres long. These mounds are what remains of a severe storm in 1967, in which a huge proportion of the forest’s beautiful old beech trees were uprooted. The roots of the trees stuck out of the ground, and although they have since rotted away, the mounds still bear witness to the many trees that were destroyed in the havoc caused by the storm.
The cliff at “Stensigmose”
Long before people found their way to the area, many other forms of life existed here. In the cliff at “Stensigmose” the ice has deposited extinct mussels and snails in sandy layers. Black bands in the cliff reveal the remains of Ice Age bogs, where leaves and branches were transformed into peat some 75,000 years ago.
In 1906, fragments of molars and a tusk from a straight-tusked elephant were found in the cliff. The elephant, which could reach a height of 4 metres, lived in Denmark more than 130,000 years ago, when the climate in the interglacial period was warmer than it is today
Once the pirates lay lurking on the Crow Stage…
The pirates are coming...
In the 13th century, the pirate known as “Den Røde Ons” operated out of “Skrækkehøj”. Here, surrounded by ramparts, was a pirate lair and many innocent people were imprisoned in the sinister cellars. By the year 1400, however, conditions for the Baltic pirates had become so difficult that they found new hunting grounds in the North Sea. However, the fear of falling into the hands of pirates has probably for many years to come sharpened the senses on board the ships in the fjord.
Hey-ho and a barrel of rum
Real pirates of course need rum – and if the pirates had remained in Flensborg Fjord, there would have been plenty to poach. For four hundred years, rum and the city Flensburg were pretty much synonymous, and the trade of rum and sugar generated a booming economy that made its mark on the town. Flensburg’s extensive rum industry was established in 1755, when the Danish-West Indian adventure began in earnest. Successive Danish kings shipped sugar from the distant colonies in the West Indies. The sugar was refined at sugar factories in Copenhagen, before being sent onwards to Flensburg. When the rum industry was at its height, there were more than 200 producers within Flensburg’s city limits. Rum is still produced in Flensburg, but only amounts to a limited niche production today. The pirates have long since disappeared…
A king dropped by…
As early as in 1209 a ferry sailed from “Brunsnæs” to “Holnis” on the other side, whilst in the 16th century the duke used the ferry so that he could easily manage his land from Glücksborg Castle. Later, an inn and a hotel were established so that tourists could stay overnight. It was said that King Frederik VII visited the ferry inn with a young woman by the name of Louise Rasmussen, who subsequently received the title Countess Danner and became his third wife, in a left-hand marriage. On the gable of the former inn, you can see a crown and the letters D and F, but there is some dispute whether it was meant as a salute to the king or simply the innkeeper Daniel Friis, who wished to make his initials immortal?
The region’s first inhabitants
People have lived close to the Gendarme Path for many thousands of years, and the area was full of life in the Neolithic Age more than 4,500 years ago. The fertile soil provided plenty of food, whilst the rich wildlife in the forest made it easy to hunt for prey. Today you can find a lot of traces of the past. Some are visible in the landscape, whilst to find others you need to know what you are looking for - read more under "Nature" and "Attractions"
Old place names
At several places along the Gendarme Path, you will encounter names that have the word “kobbel” in them, which in the local dialect means woodland.
Logging and marriage
Up through the Middle Ages, the demand for timber had a huge impact on the forests of southern Jutland. At the same time, the forests were used as pastures for the livestock, which meant that new shoots did not get the opportunity to grow into fully-fledged trees. Wood became a scarce commodity. At the end of the 17th century, the duke decided to do something about this state of affairs, and it was decreed that peasants were not allowed to get married unless they had planted trees in the duke’s forests. Each farmhand had to plant 10 oak trees or 15 beech trees and look after them for three years before he could lead his bride down the aisle. This continued for more than one hundred years, and to this day one still finds sections of bridegrooms’ trees, also called “Brudgomskobler” in some places.
Relics of the first inhabitants of the area are still present in today’s landscape
Old farms in “Gammelgab”
This section of the path includes the village of “Gammelgab”. Unlike many other villages, “Gammelgab” did not undergo the comprehensive urban renewal that took place in the middle of the 18th century, and the farms are still located where they were originally built.
High water stone at “Røjhus”
At “Røjhus” you can see a stone that marks the maximum height of the water level in the devastating storm surge of 1872, when the water reached a height 3.6 metres above the norm.
The burial mounds in the forest of “Skelde Kobbelskov”
On the section from “Kragesand” to “Stensigmose” you make your way past the forest of “Skelde Kobbelskov”. The forest is home to well-preserved circular mounds and barrows that act as silent monuments to a forgotten time. The barrows were constructed as common graves, whilst the circular mounds usually only contained a single grave. In the chambers of the burial mounds, you can find skeletal remains, flint axes, amber jewellery and earthenware vessels. Not all the mounds are graves – some are empty and may have had religious significance or been constructed as monuments.
Legends and myths
Pirates, thieves, kobolds, holy roses and an abandoned bride…
The “Klabauterman” took care of ships
According to folklore, the “Klabauterman” is a type of kobold – a small mythological and invisible creature, living on ships. The sailors can hear him rustle about, when he tightens small cracks and weak places in the shipside. The “Klabauterman” is good and helpful – if you treat him right. In the old time, it was imagined that most ships had a kobold on board and that he was in close contact to the captain. If the “Klabauterman” showed himself in the ships bow, it was a sign of upcoming fair wind, and if he was seen abaft, a head wind was coming up. Some people also believed that the “Klabauterman” could warn about misfortune.
At the end of the 13th century a pirate called Alf caused havoc in the area running from Flensburg Fjord and out to the Baltic Sea. According to legend, Alf would retreat to a cove near Gråsten between raids. Several place names today can be traced back to Alf. He was captured in 1298 and hanged for his crimes. The booty that had been hoarded throughout this period has never been found, however…
Through the time there has been many medical plants related to the rose family and the rose has maintained its position as the favourite flower of mankind through its long cultural history. The rose is found in Greek literature where according to legend; the rose was a product of love, when the beautiful Aphrodite emerged from the sea, the goods where so breathe taken and aroused, that their secretion fell on a young bush and the rose came out.
The rose was a hedge plant, keeping animals and people out with its thorns. It grew in the holy groves of the goddesses and was a sign of happiness, peace, love and quiet meditation. The Christian Church where very sceptical towards this flower of love, but the blood red rose became the symbol of the blood of Jesus and later on the flower of Virgin Mary. The Catholic Church surrounds Maria with roses and the nuns produced rosaries for their prayers.
The stone “Brudesten” is found off the coast and is said to be so big that you can turn a whole span of horses on it. According to a local legend, “Brudesten” (bridal stone) got its name from a bride and groom from Flensburg. The couple had decided to be married in Sønderborg and sailed to the town. After the wedding, the newly-weds sailed back, but after just one hour on the boat they began to quarrel, which resulted in the groom abandoning his bride on a stone in the water off the coast at Skelde.
The thieves from ”Broagerland”
Back in the days the peninsula of Broager was mostly covered in forest and the forest provided criminals with good hiding places. An old legend tells of a young girl who suddenly vanished one day. A gang of robbers had taken her to their hiding place – an underground cave – and the gang leader wanted the girl for his wife.
In the cave, she gives birth to their child, but unfortunately, the mother dies during childbirth. The child, a little girl, is named Maren and she grows up under barbaric circumstances not knowing anything about her origin. Maren grows into a beautiful young woman and is often sent to the grocer in Broager – but under the threat of being killed if she ever gives away the gangs hiding. Maren and the grocer’s son falls in love and her lover senses that something is not right
One day he hears Maren confide to a painting of the God surrounded by a flock of angels. The young man decides to rescue his beloved and find out her heritage. With dodge and help from the people of Broager he heads of. It comes to a brutal fight and the robbers end up in the gallows – at ”Galgegruben” near the village Adsbøl.
A taste of nature.
Taste the Gendarme Path
Along the Gendarme Path, you find a wide variety of edible plants both in the forests and on the beach. In the autumn, the hedgerows are full of blackberries and nuts – but the countryside also offers other delicacies.
When the beach rose blooms, it is summer. Find it and enjoy its scent. Gather fruits from the beach rose and use them as a decoration on the table or make the most beautiful beach rose soup - eat it with whipped cream. It is rich in vitamin C and tastes great!
Crispy sea kale
You can find sea kale at many places on the beach. The plant can grow to a height of 60 cm, and the large, thick and strong leaves are grey in colour with a thin, waxy bluish-green layer. Sea kale flowers in June with fine white flowers that later turn into round fruits. Sea kale can be confused with the protected eryngo. Unlike sea kale, the thistle-like eryngo has pointed, prickly leaves.
If you wish to taste sea kale, in the spring you can pick the young white shoots, which are crispy and taste like a combination of asparagus and broccoli. The adult leaves are tougher, taste bitter and have a strong taste of cabbage.
Sourly wood sorrel
Wood sorrel sprouts from the forest floor from early spring. The plant resembles clover with its three small, heart-shaped leaves, but the flowers are fine and white with distinct violet veins. Only the leaves should be eaten. They have a fine, tart flavour and can be eaten raw. You can also use wood sorrel in cooking, but the plant’s high content of oxalic acid means that it is not a good idea to eat large quantities of the leaves.
Most people are familiar with rosehip as the orange fruits full of “itching powder”, which as a child you could sneak under a mate’s shirt when they were not looking. Nevertheless, in fact rosehip is full of vitamins, fibre and nutrients. Many different species of wild roses have rosehips – and the colours of the fruits vary from red and orange to brown, black and dark purple. All the fruits have tasty flesh and can be eaten raw or used in cooking in a wealth of different ways: as jam, jelly and syrup – baked in muffins and in blancmange – or you can use them in wine, schnapps and tea.
Rosa canina – popularly known as “dog rose” – was earlier used as a cure for rabies. The name has a somewhat condescending meaning, however, where the word “dog” refers to the fact that the dog rose wasn’t considered to be as fine as the cultivated garden rose.
Delicious sea buckthorn
The new Nordic Kitchen has inspired many to rediscover sea buckthorn. The tart orange berries with a flavour reminiscent of passion fruit can be found in a wealth of new dishes, whilst its high content of vitamin C has also put sea buckthorn on the list of wholesome plants. It is not easy to pick the delicious berries, however. Sea buckthorn bushes can grow to a height of 6 metres and have needle-sharp thorns. The soft berries are easily damaged when trying to pick them. It is therefore often a good idea to shake the branches in frosty weather and then gather the berries from the ground.
Sea buckthorn bushes produce berries from September, but are relatively sour at this time. Once the sea buckthorn has been exposed to frost, the berries take on a sweeter taste and can be eaten raw or used in schnapps, jam or stewed fruit.
See the church spires from “Gratelund”
At the cape “Dynt Hoved” you can follow a path up to the viewpoint “Gratelund”. From here, you can see as many as 21 church spires in clear weather - can you find them all?