The island in general

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2 ØVERSTE SKOVBYMARK SKOVBRYNET 2 ÆRØ GUIDE 2007 Welcome to Ærø Ærø is one of the islands in the South Funen Archipelago, and has 6900 residents. There are three towns: Marstal, Ærøskøbing and Søby. Ærø is home to a lively, dynamic community that lives mainly on shipping, shipbuilding, farming and education. Visitors to Ærø are able to see at close quarters the activities centred on new and old ships in the harbours, sustainable energy installations, and the island farms with fertile soil and cattle in the pastures. The island countryside is perfect for active holidays. Tourists are welcome to enjoy the network of cycling routes and a newly established walking trail that guides hikers through beautiful countryside to the island s main cultural attractions. There are plenty of opportunities for anglers along the beaches too. The newly laid out golf course at the western tip of the island is surrounded by sea on three sides, and considered to be the most beautifully situated golf course in Denmark. The sea around Ærø is ideal for guests interested in sea sports, whether they prefer rowing or sailing. The only way to get to Ærø, like all real islands, is to sail. But no matter which of the four possible routes one chooses, it is a pleasant crossing. Passing the scattered islands in the archipelago, flocks of birds and perhaps even a porpoise make it an unforgettable trip. Ærø with its beaches, museums, historic towns and fascinating harbours, and the quiet na - tural beauty of its countryside attract many visitors from Denmark and abroad. Often they come back year after year, especially the sailors who visit the harbours. The historic places of interest, people in business and the islanders in general want our guests to enjoy visiting us. A large part of the enjoyment comes from knowing about the place you visit. This guide to Ærø will tell you about the island and provide useful information about what goes on here. On behalf of the island residents I would like to invite you and your family to visit us if you have never done so before. And to those who have arrived on Ærø, I extend a warm welcome and wish you an interesting and enjoyable visit to our beautiful island. Best wishes Jørgen Otto Jørgensen Mayor The island in general Nature in Ærø is unique. The combination of soft beach lines towards the inner waters south of Funen and the rather more rough coastlines towards the Baltic is unsurpassed nature has a new opening every day. Climate Danes call the South Funen Archipelago the South Sea Islands, and not without reason. The climate there is remarkably mild. Ærø is one of the places in Denmark with the highest number of hours of sunshine in the year. In fact it is not unusual on Ærø to find plants in people s gardens that normally would not be able to survive in Denmark. Anyone going for a walk, for instance along the Molestien in Ærøskøbing, will certainly be able to see tropical plants and flowers growing in gardens round the town, and observe that even normal garden plants grow extra large and flourish unusually well. Fyr SKJOLD NÆS SKJOLDNÆSVEJ Næbbet HAVEN Haven SØBY VESTERMARK Mommark, Als VITSØ SØBY BUGT VITSØ Fåborg SØBY Vorbjerg LEBYMARKSVEJ SØBY SØBY NØRREMARKSVEJ MARK SØBY LANDEVEJ BLÆSHØJ BAKKE Leby RØNDAL SKELHAVE STENAGRE LANGE V. MØLLE BAKKE VRÆTTE SØBYGÅRDSVEJ GAMMEL LØKKEVEJ SÆKKEMOSEVEJ SKOLEVEJ SNORLØKKE Skovby Ærø - a brief description Ærø is an island of its own in the South Funen Archipelago which cannot be reached by any bridges. Ærø has a surface of 90 square kilometres and a length of 30 km, with its broadest extension being 9 km. Most of its 7000 inhabitants live in the towns of Marstal and Ærøskøbing. The rest of population live in Søby as well as in the small villages which can be found allover the island. It is easy to come to Ærø as the island has 4 different ferry links. Coming from Germany and southern Denmark you can take the ferry from Mommark on the island of Als to get to Søby. From Funen there are ferries from Fåborg to Søby as well as from Svendborg to Ærøskøbing. From Langeland - which is linked to Funen by bridges - you can take the Rudkøbing-Marstal Ferry to get to Ærø. The crossing takes place by modern car ferries with cafeterias on board. Birkholm From Svendborg the crossing takes 75 minutes, all other links take 1 hour. NEDERSTE SKOVBYMARK Blakstensodde 28 Ure hoved Nyholm Store Egholm Lille Egholm KULEBJERGVEJ SØNDERSØ TVÆRBY MARK TVÆRBY MARK RØNNE- BREGNINGE MØLLEVEJ BREGNINGE LANDEVEJ MOSEVEJ Vester Bregninge BREG- NINGE TVÆRBY SKOVBY MARK BREGNINGE VESTER MØLLEDAMSVEJ VESTER BREGNINGEMARK ØSTER BREGNINGE ØSTER BREGNINGEMARK Øster Bregninge STRANDVEJ GAMMELGÅRD GRØNNEMOSEVEJ Voderup Klint VESTERLØKKE VODERUP Vodrup BORGNÆSMØLLEVEJ VINNEBALLEGADE Vinde balle TRANDERUP MARK BORGNÆSVEJ BORGNÆS GRØNVEJ PRÆSTENS VEJ BORGNÆS Ornum TRANDERUPGADE LØKKESHØJVEJ HUSMARKEN Borgnæs nakke LISBETHSVEJ Tranderup Mark Tranderup OLDE MARK KLINTEVEJ NØRREMARK TIDSELHØJVEJ OLDEGADE STOKKEBY NOR Olde OLDE MARKSVEJ DYNDEBÆKVEJ SNEKKEMOSE KRINGHOLMEN Vrå ØSEMARKSVEJ VRÅVEJEN STOKKEBY LANDEVEJ Stokkeby ST. RISE LANDEVEJ LILLE RISEMARKSVEJ FÆSTEVEJ RISEMARKSVEJ Store Rise RISE MARK SØNDREKYSTVEJ VESTRE STRANDVEJ TIVOLI LAMMEHUSENE DEGNEVEJ SØNDRE SYGEHUS- VEJEN STRANDVEJ ØVERSTE MIDT- MARKSVEJ BY- MARKS- VEJ LILLE STOKKEBYVEJ NEVRE Svendborg Lille Stokkeby KIRKEVEJ ST. RISE ØSTERSØVEJ Bro Store Torup Dunkær NEVRE Dejrø ÆRØSKØBING TORUPVEJ BROVEJ RYGGER MØLLE GYDEN HOLMEVEJ ILLE RISEVEJ DUNKÆR MARK NEVRE Lilleø Lille Rise Lille Torup DUNKÆRVEJ MØLLESØVEJ LINDSBJERGVEJ HELLEBAKKEN VEJSNÆS GRØNNÆSVEJ ELLEMOSEVEJ FRYDENDAL ESKEVEJ Grønnæs Langagre LANGAGRE ØSTERMARKSVEJ HAVSMARKEN Ommels hoved Kragnæs hoved Kragnæs GRÅSTEN NOR DREJET DORTHEA DALSVEJ Ronæs Vesterskov KRAGNÆSVEJ MIDTVEJ NORVEJEN RONÆSVEJ VESTERSKOVVEJ FÆRGEVEJ Ommel KATTE- BAKKEVEJ Havn Kleven SKOVVEJ RONÆSVEJ KIRKEVEJEN Rolpested Græs vænge Halmø Strandby Havn SKOVLANDET GRÆSVÆNGEVEJ KLAUSENSKOV VEJ GUDSGAVE TROUSLØKKEVEJ KNASTEBJERGVEJ MARSTALVEJEN OMMELSVEJEN MØLLEVEJEN NEDERSTE MIDTMARKSVEJ REBERBANEN Birkholm MARSTAL Rudkøbing Erikshale Ærø Ugeavis Bogtrykkeri ApS Vejsnæs nakke

3 ÆRØ GUIDE Round the year on the island Spring Spring comes very suddenly to Ærø. The flowers seem to explode into bloom and the island breaks out into a colourful symphony of blossoming bushes and fruit trees between green fields and surrounded by blue sea. The island seems to wake out of hibernation. Shops, cafés and restaurants open for the season as the first yachts and big wooden ships sail into the harbours. Summer Summer is naturally the liveliest season. Hollyhocks add colour to the old houses. It is festival time, so the towns and harbours hum with people and music. Galleries and farm shops open, and cyclists can be seen everywhere exploring the island on two wheels. The bathing huts are always occupied, and the beaches are full of life. Yet Ærø would not be Ærø if it was not always possible to find a peaceful nook somewhere on the island, and the many visitors do not really disturb its characteristic calm. Autumn At the end of September Ærø becomes quiet again. Often it is still possible to enjoy warm days in the garden and even go for a dip in the sea. The leaves change colour and fruit hangs heavily on the apple trees. The countryside seems to urge you to take long walks through fields and by the sea, and the whole island seems to ease up as everyone relaxes! Winter Surrounded by sea that has warmed up through the summer, winter comes very late. The towns are decorated for Christmas and there are Christmas markets everywhere, as well as concerts and other festive activities. The streets are alive again, and people meet to drink gløgg or Christmas punch, eat waffles, do their shopping and enjoy the Christmas lights that make Ærø extra special. The antiquity of Ærø Relics of antiquity are found all over the island. Burial mounds, passage graves, and dolmens bear witness of human activity through more than 10,000 years In the new history, especially the period of the duchies is of interest. During this period from the 14th century to the year 1864 Ærø was united and separated, alternately, in a number of enclaves. Ærø was outside the tariff wall of the Kingdom, leading to flourishing smugg ling which was a way of living for many of Ærø s inhabitants. In 1750 Ærø was united, and has not ever since been separated. This is marked by the memorial stone at Olde mill. At the union, the old Jutland Law from 1241 was applied and even today some of those rules are still valid. In recent history, the fight for survival as an outskirt area is the most important element. The solidarity between the inhabitants of Ærø was clearly shown in the year 2000, as a movement among the inhabitants saved Marstal Maritime School from closing down. THE ÆRØ FLAG. Of course Ærø has its own flag! The flag originates from Duke Christian, who was the governor of Ærø between 1622 and The upper yellow and the lower red colours represented the Duke; the green in the middle is the symbol of Ærø, the green island. The original flag was made of kartek (a thick woollen material) measuring 120 by 117 inches, or 2.83 by 2.75 metres. Contents Marstal Ærøskøbing Søby and the villages The churches Sankt Alberts Church opening hours for the churches Fascinating Landscapes Skjoldnæs Lighthouse the»næb«søby Søbygaard castle mounds and Vitsø Nor Voderup Klint Gråsten Nor Birkholm Shipping and Navigation Opening hours Museums Museums Ærø Museum Hammerichs House Bottle-Peters Collection Søbygaard Marstal Maritime Museum Aktive holidays Sea Kayak Windsurfing and Kitesurfing Sailingtrips Cykling - Fishing Hiking Activities Golf on Ærø Nature playground - Ærø for our four-legged friens Renewable Energy Art and Handicraft Ecology - a lifestyle - Health and well-being Festivals Accordion Festival Single Folk Festival Ærø Jazz Festival Late Summer Classical Concerts Events Traditions More treats and sights Art/Galleries/Handicraft Information Ærø Nature- and Energyschool Guided Tours Primitive Campsites Bed & Breakfast Turistinformation Ærøskøbing Havnen 4 Tel Fax Turistinformation Marstal Havnegade Marstal Tel Fax Turistinformation Søby Havnen 5985 Søby Ærø Tel Fax Production: ÆRØ UGEAVIS BOGTRYKKERI ApS Møllevejen 33 A 5960 Marstal Tel Fax Forbehold for evt. trykfejl og prisændringer. Day of the Archipelago Youthhostel/Camping Hotels/Inns/Pensions Citymaps Søby Ærøskøbing - Marstal

4 4 ÆRØ GUIDE 2007 Marstal - maritime traditions Marstal is the largest town on Ærø, and its long maritime history is reflected every - where. For centuries Marstal vessels have sailed the seven seas, and even today the town is the home port for a consider able number of coasters. Shipping is still the nerve of the town with its dockyards, its shipping companies and its nautical school which for more than a century has trained navigators for the Danish merchant fleet. Marstal is a charming town with narrow alleys and passages. Its many stores, restaurants, and cafés all invite their guests to enjoy life. Along the harbour is a charming collection of skiffs, fishing nets, coasters, and yachts. The impressive pier with the eye-catching lime kiln provides shelter from easterly winds and was purpose-built by the town s seamen during the period from 1825 to 1841 and subsequent ly extended a cou - ple of times. Marstal Maritime Mu seum gives a lively impression of the town s seafaring history. You should also visit the beautiful church from The camping site, the youth hostel and the hotels provide accommodation for the many visitors. Eriks Hale, the strip that jots into the sea south of the town, has a very fine beach for swimming and bathing, and while there you can enjoy the picturesque little huts and the open sea. The tourist offices have a brochure with further details about Marstal. In Marstal Harbour is an island Frederiksøen, which today is called the Lime Kiln (Kalkovnen). The impressive field-stone pier at the island was built in 1825 by local seamen on a voluntary basis. The island was in use as a repair yard for ships, until in 1863 it was rented out for lime burning.


6 6 ÆRØ GUIDE 2007 Ærøskøbing - the Fairytale town Located half way up the northern coast of Ærø is Ærøskøbing probably the most well-preserved town of the 18th century in Denmark. The town dates back to the early Middle Ages and recently celebrated its 750-year jubilee. Many of its houses are unconditionally preserved and the town as a whole is subject to a preservation planning with strict guidelines for the development of the town and for the construction of new houses and renovation of old ones. The museums tell the story of Ærøskø - bing and centuries as a market town where shipping and trade were the main activities The cooking house. Because of the great respect for risk of fire and based on a resolution from 1787 banning the use of open fire on board wooden ships, cooking houses were erected on the harbours. In 1810,»die Brückenkasse«paid for such a cooking house on Ærøskøbing harbour at the end of the tall ship pier. To ensure its maintenance, visiting ships had to pay for the use of the house. The original function of the cooking house was discontinued around From then on, the fishermen used it for boiling pitch for their yarns. In the 1850s the house was provided with a dormer where a small harbour and leading light was lit to guide ships safely into Ærøskøbing harbour. Today the cooking house again fulfils part of its old function as it is now used as a barbeque hut. in addition to hinterland farming. Ærøskø - bing Church at the market square is the third church on that location and on the square are the two old town pumps that supplied the town with water right up till The old harbour has been enlarged by a new marina and the beach at Vesterstrand with its colourful little beach huts is only a few minutes walk from the town and the harbour. For the many visitors to the town, fine overnight accommodation is offered by the cam p-ing site, the youth hostel, guest houses, and hotels. Ærøskøbing is a perfect idyll with its cobbled streets, hollyhocks, and the small, well-preserved houses with their many peculiar details. Danish as well as foreign guidebooks describe the town as the Fairy-Tale Town. Don t forget though, that behind the idyllic facade of the town is a live and active town that has solved successive generations housing needs for centuries. The town s development has been rational and gradual, governed by natural conditions what we would refer to today as sustainable. Just the way all other towns in the country developed. But Ærøskøbing remains the only original one. The tourist offices have a brochure with details about Ærøskøbing. You may also wish to buy the beautiful booklet with ela - borate information about Ærøskøbing that was published on the occasion of the outstanding award to Ærøskøbing in 2002 of the Europa Nostra Prize for Cultural He - ritage. The booklet accounts for the structure of the town and what makes the hou - ses so characteristic. The street courses and the design and details of the houses are described, as are the conservation initiatives taken over the years to retain the urban landscape as it is seen today. It is worth noticing that the Europa No - stra Prize was awarded not because of the conservation standard of the town as such, but for the initiative taken by Ærøs købing s inhabitants to preserve the town. The town of Ærøskøbing demonstrates the truly democratic initiative taken by the town s inhabitants to retain intact an urban landscape dating from the Middle Ages, as the committee stated when awarding the prize. The town can be seen as a monument of the past, but at the same time it is a signi - ficant model for present-day residential housing be cau se it is an expression of the accumulated experience of generations on knowledge of housing and town planning.


8 8 ÆRØ GUIDE 2007 Friendly Søby Surrounded by some of the loveliest country on Ærø, the town of Søby is the focal point of the north-western part of the island. It is a bustling business and shopping centre, most renowned as the home of the island s largest and most progressive work place, Søby Værft, a shipyard with a history to be proud of that goes back 75 years. The heart of the town is the harbour that welcomes guests as they sail in past its two beautiful old lighthouses. This is also the home port of Ærø s fishing fleet, and from here two ferry routes go across to Mommark on Als and Faaborg on Funen. Owners of yachts enjoy the modern marina with its wonderful view of the South Funen Archipelago. Besides a restaurant, an inn, a supermarket and various other places to enjoy oneself, Søby provides summer activities such as miniature golf, badminton, croquet and petanque as well as a centrally placed bathing beach. Just a few miles from Søby, golfers can seek the challenges of one of Northern Europe s most attractive seaside golf courses, and the area is simply a paradise for sea-trout anglers. The annual harbour festival and Single Folk Festival bring the town to life with music and are always fun. Those who go exploring in Søby soon appreciate the genuine village atmosphere where timber-framed houses mix harmoniously with newer buildings. One of the oldest buildings is the beautiful church da - The villages Follow the main road across the island and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the small villages. Cows are grazing the lush fields with stone walls and hedge rows, encircling the small houses and farms often halftimbered and with thatched roofs. Well- kept gardens with fruit trees and flo - wers adjoin the village street and ducks thrive in the village pond. There are churches in Bregninge, Trande - rup, Rise, and Ommel, and inns in Dunkær, Bregninge, Ommel, and Vindeballe. Skovby has its own attraction»skovby - stenen«. On this runic stone is the ultra short inscription PN this might be the initials of a farmer who once lived here. The runic letters ting from 1745, and today Søby Mill, built in 1881, is the emblem of the town. A fund has been started, and is grateful for every contribution to speed up the restoration of the mill and its thatched roof. Søby is a good starting point for enjoying the countryside in many ways. Right at the edge of the town is Låddenbjerg Plantation, in turn bordering on the extensive nature reserve of Vitsø Nor, which is perfect walking country. Not far away is Skjoldnæs Lighthouse and the beach and bird sanctuary at Næbbet. It is possible to stay at the inn, a Bed & Breakfast or the beautifully situated camping site and enjoy a good, long visit in friendly Søby. are of a type which was used in the Middle Ages between 1100 and The stone was discovered in 1994 and was erected a few yards from where it was found.

9 ÆRØ GUIDE Churches on Ærø Ærø has seven churches, each with its own character. The maritime touch is clearly seen in several of the churches. Rise Church is the oldest one with a histo ry dating back to the 12 th century. In seve ral of the churches, the old fresco paintings are uncovered, and here you stand face to face with church art and religion perception of ancient times. Charac - teristic of Rise, Trande rup and Bregninge churches are the circular churchyards. Please see the separate folder about churches. Saint Albert s Church Near Vejsnæs are the relics of St. Albert s Church. The reconstruction measures 60 by 30 metres and consists of a 3-metre deep moat and a strong defence rampart. The dating is presumed to go back to the Vikings around the year During the 14th century, the construction was changed and a significant church was built on the site. Fifty graves, of which approximately half were children s graves, have been uncovered around the church. Other findings in - clude a large number of coins from the time when the church was in use, from the mid- 14th century until the Reformation in At that time, the church was closed and eventually eroded. A book is for sale at Ærø Museum. Opening hours for the Ærø churches (Evangelical Lutheran churches) MARSTAL CHURCH: 1 April 1 October From toll of morning bell to toll of evening bell OMMEL CHURCH: Please contact vicar or sexton RISE CHURCH: 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. all year ÆRØSKØBING CHURCH: 8 a.m. 5 p.m. all year TRANDERUP CHURCH: 8 a.m. 4 p.m. all year BREGNINGE CHURCH: 8 a.m. 4 p.m. all year SØBY CHURCH: From toll of morning bell to 5 p.m. (summer) From toll of morning bell to 4 p.m. (winter)

10 10 ÆRØ GUIDE 2007 Fascinating landscapes The lighthouse of Skjoldnæs and the»næb«at the northern point of Ærø you will find one of the most beautiful lighthouses of the country, the lighthouse of Skjoldnæs. The round tower, 22m high, was build in 1881 in granite. The stairs, 57 steps high, built in granite too, lead to the guard room. The lantern is the heart of the lighthouse. It is exceptionnally well preserved and in complete work - ing order. On the round of the platform you have, in clear weather, a fantastic view over the western part of the Baltic, the southern part of the Little Belt and a substantial part of the Archipelago. Looking toward the south you might distinguish the German coast. In the west you find the island Als, in the north Lyø, Bjørnø and Avernakø as well as Faaborg, and in the far end the hills of Svanninge. There is an explanation why the light - house on Ærø has become one of the most impressive lighthouses of Denmark. After the defeat against the Prussians in 1864 the island came under Svendborg authority. The story goes that thereupon a powerful light - house was wished for which should be vi - sible as far as in Kiel as a greeting to the lost country. The lighthouse can be visited from sunrise to sunset for a small fee. Around the light - house a golf course has been laid out, which, once completed, might become one of the most beautifully located in northern Europe. The nature around Sjoldnæs is very interesting. In particular the»næb«(beak), a promontory which stretches 300m far into the South Funen Archipe lago. From a biological point of view it is the most important and most interesting region of Ærø, as far as bird life and plant world are concerned, with a highly recreational value as well. Thus the»næb«known to be the anglers eldorado in the South Funen Archipelago. The Næb consists in sand, gravel and scree which has been deposited throughout centuries. The landscape remained pristine until the year 1890 the construction of the Kiel Canal began. This was when the extraction of mineral resources started to develop. In particular after World War Two building material was needed to rebuild the North German cities. In a short time huge excavators and building machinery were changing the Næb into a barren lunar landscape with many craters, which filled with water. First in 1975 gravel prospecting was finally prohibited. So new biotopes for many types of birds were created. Coots, swans, ducks and wadebirds rest here, find food and brood in growing numbers. You can also observe large flocks of cormorants, which might be standing, with spread out wings, letting their plumage being dried by the wind and the sun. The little terns have bred at the Næb, but haven t been seen lately. The plant life is characterized by the saline earth and consists mostly of different kinds of grass, sedges and reed. Along the beach ridges large groups of genuine seakale grow and further away from the sea large areas are covered with butterbur (red butterbur). Typical beach plants like sea rocket, sea purslane, sea blite, sea radish and orache grow dispersed over the whole costal strip. Shrubs and crippled trees like willows and hawthorn have grown along the slopes und cover up a part of the damage nature has suffered. In the waterholes reed and bulrushes grow. Søby Volde and Vitsø Nor The impressive castle mounds at Søbygård reveal that this was once the site of royal fortifications. They are believed to have been built in the reign of King Niels in the 12th century to protect Ærø against attacks by the Wends. The defences were ideally situated, with a fine prospect over the sea and the island, while ships were protected in the harbour at the foot of the mound. Back in the Middle Ages, these defences were at the end of an arm of the inlet, surrounded by huge beach ridges formed by deposition from the sea. This part of the inlet was eventually cut off from the sea to form Vitsø Nor. In the 18th century the first attempts were made to reclaim land by extending the na - tural embankment and pumping the water out. It was one of the earliest reclamation schemes in Denmark, and 11 hectares of

11 ÆRØ GUIDE meadow were recovered. The entire pro - cess was completed in 1871, but was reversed by high winds and flooding the next year. The land was not successfully drained until Many rare meadow plants disappeared when the land was cultivated, and since it was no longer grazed by cattle, new vegetation took over. Today there is a highly characteristic landscape with small lakes formed by digging for pebbles. Walkers can follow a good system of paths through the area, and birdwatchers can see greylag geese breeding as well as many waders and lapwings, which have their own sanctuary at Søby Måe. A new local plan for the area has been drawn up, and in the coming years Vitsø Nor is to be restored as a wetland area to increase the amounts of nitrogen leached out and restore the natural balance. You can collect a free folder about the area from the tourist offices. Voderup Cliff One of the most beautiful places on Ærø is the moraine cliffs at Voderup which is truly an area you would not want to miss. A unique panorama appears before your eyes and will stay in your mind forever. The cliff stands 33 metres high and consists of several kilometres of long step-shaped terraces that link the sea with the elevated area of the island like giant steps. The slipping of the earth into terraces is caused by the layers forming the cliffs. At the foot of the cliffs you can see a clay layer deposited during the last interglacial period. The clay is so fine and plastic that water will not penetrate it. Above the clay is a gigantic deposit of sand. If precipitation has been substantial for several years running, the thick layer of sand becomes so heavy that the clay will come to act like gliding planes for the layers above. Blocks of landscape several hundred metres long may then slide towards the coast all in one go. One example is a field with grazing cows that allegedly slid 14 metres about 40 years ago. The cows are said to have had great fun at the chute down the field. The fact that Ærø is surrounded by the sea and is one of the most southerly locations in Denmark and therefore has a few more sunny hours means that the average temperature here is above that of the rest of the country. Voderup Klint faces south which provides the place with unique opportunities for a rich and varied fauna and flora. Moreover, the area, which is ow - ned by Funen County, has not been ex - posed to pesticides and artificial fertilizers for the past 30 years most likely not before that either. Pack yourself a picnic basket and take a walk along one of the terraces. You will only have to walk a short distance before you have a spot entirely to yourself. And don t forget; a spot amidst nature at its most beautiful in Denmark. Gråsten Nor - a goal to visit Until 1856, Ærø was in fact two islands connected by a three-meter high stone bar, the so-called»drej«(an old Danish word for isthmus). Between the two islands, West- Ærø and Little-Ærø was a large shallow, Gråsten Nor, named after the big ducal estate located at the western end of Drejet. In 1856 a dike was built between the two islands at the northern side of the shallow between Kragnæs and Solnæs. In charge of the project was the island s doctor, Dr. Biering, and by means of two windmill pumps the entire area was re claimed within 24 years. The intention was to turn the new re - claimed land into pastures and fields, and the result was just under 1000 acres of new farm land. Particularly hay harvest and gra-

12 12 ÆRØ GUIDE 2007 zing became important to the farmers and this is still the main function of the area. This enormous area is the largest coherent meadow area in the County of Funen. The area is well worth a visit for people interested in nature. The pastures abound with animals and plants of great diversity ac - cording to seasonal variations. In winter, waterholes and the sea con stitute a sanc - tuary for more or less all species of duck. With springtime and the migration, there will be even more of them in the area. This is also the time for a variation of waders to visit on their way up north, and this is one of their important for aging spots. Some of them stay through summer. Oyster catcher, black- tailed godwit, lapwing, ruff and sandpiper are not uncommon breeding birds in Gråsten Nor. Along the edge of Noret, until mid-summer, you will hear a fabulous concert of chirping and twittering songbirds in the thicket. Profusion is the word. That s also what the birds of prey have dis-covered. The hen harrier is breeding here, as is the long-eared owl. Among the plants, the beautiful and protected may orchid is perhaps the most conspicuous one. Approximately 10,000 wonderful may orchids grow in Gråsten Nor. It is probably the largest stand of may orchid in Denmark, but here too it comes under nature protec tion. It blooms from the end of May till early June. Another rare plant is the field gentian that is threatened with extinction. A little delicate flower that grows near the parking lot at the airfield. Obvious ly this is also protected, but as a nature lover you may of course enjoy looking at it and perhaps include it in your photographic memories. Incidentally, the area around the air field parking lot is very rich in species. Within an area of 20m x 20m you may find over 20 different grasses, for instance eyebright, cat s ear, red eyebright, pearl wort, strawberry clover, and ragged robin. In Gråsten Nor there is a footpath of approx. 8 km. You do not necessarily have to walk the entire path; there are several starting points. Many people start at the airfield, others from the parking lots at Drejet. You will find information material at the Nature Centre at Drejet. The Archipelago Walk In spring 2007 the Archipelago Walk will open 200 km of hiking trail winding its way round the South Funen Archipelago. It is one of the longest hiking trails in Denmark, and runs through areas of natural beauty, along the coasts, past castles and manor houses, and close to charming village settings. The splendid panorama views of the South Funen Archipelago alternate with unique cultivated and natural landscapes. The Archipelago Walk has been laid out for hikers and there are marker posts all the way. A total of seven folders have been issued with information about the Archipe - lago Walk, and they are available from tourist offices or from brochure stands along the trail. The Ærø section of the trail is shown on»kort 7 (Map 7) Marstal-Ærøs - købing-søby«and leads walkers through the most interesting parts of the island. Read more about the Archipelago Walk, sea kayaking and other activities in the South Funen Archipelago at or ask for the Archipelago Map at the Tourist Office if you want suggestions for country walks. Birkholm The island of Birkholm is situated in the middle of the archipelago south of Funen. The island is just 96 hectares (less than 250 acres) and is extremely flat. The highest elevation on Birkholm is a mere 1.8 metre above sea level. The island has beautiful old farmhouses, lovely beaches and ample opportunities for fishing. Of all the inhabited Danish islands, Birkholm is the smallest. Birkholm is part of the municipality of Ærø. To visit the island, there is a postboat leaving Marstal twice a day. On account of the dikes as well as the game, visitors are requested to keep to the roads and the footpaths, and dogs should be kept on a leash.


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