Sottrupskov - tour of the forest with lots of history
If you like a manageable walk in a Danish coastal beech forest with several unique historical relics, then Sottrup Storskov may be just the thing.
Come and get a feel for the nature of the East in the "Bamboo Forest".
Nature guide Andreas Hermann recommends a trip to the small forest Avnbøl Sned on the mainland. Here you can take a walk along the "Bamboo Path" and experience a special remain from the Second World War.
When you drive out of Aabenraavej towards Aabenraa from Sønderborg, you meet a sign for "Bojskov" about 3 km from Ullerup. Here you turn left down a small winding, fine road that leads you out where there are rarely many visitors.
The forest is actually called "Avnbøl Sned". It means "a cut off piece" or "scrub forest". In the old days, the forest belonged to the largest of the local farms, "Avnbølgård". The forest was some distance from the property and through the forest went the old road to Aabenraa.
In the middle of the forest was a small inn which was often visited by people who were on their way to or from Sønderborg or Aabenraa. Distances and transport took time, as people often walked, were on horseback or in a horse-drawn carriage.
In addition to serving in the inn, the innkeepers also worked in the forest, where they, among other things, procured firewood for Avnbølgård.
Around the year 1664, Avnbølgård went bankrupt and was sold. In that connection, the forest passed to the state and the small inn was torn down and moved to the southeast of the forest. The locals, however, continued to come to the forest and where the inn had been, people met and, among other things, danced.
Today, many years later, this square still exists and is today called "Dansepladsen" (the dance square). It is maintained by the local village guild and there are nice campfire sites, tables and benches as well as a small firehouse on the site. The locals still meet and hold e.g. midsummer bonfire there. Bring a packed lunch and a cup of coffee and enjoy the silence, maybe you can sense the many people dancing? In the eastern corner of the square is still a small water hole, where the inn got its water from.
When you get to the forest, there is only one straight road through the entire forest. It is the old main road and you can park on the side. But when you move slightly in from the forest road, you meet a small path on your right. This is the "Bamboo Path". It takes you deep into the forest, into what makes the locals call the forest the "Bamboo Forest".
During the Second World War, it was difficult to obtain bamboo sticks from the East for potted plants and wall mats. That's why the forester at the time got the idea to plant bamboo in the forest. He therefore planted 10 clumps of yellow bamboo in the forest. They grew well and quickly became large and beautiful, but in the meantime World War II ended and the importation of bamboo began again. As a result, the good business idea disappeared, as it was no longer profitable to cut bamboo in Avnbøl Sned. However, the bamboo was allowed to remain standing and spread out into the forest. At the end of the 1990s, the bamboos went out temporarily, but before they died, they had flowered and had thrown a lot of seeds. The seeds sowed well and this means that the bamboo is still part of Avnbøl Sned and is therefore called the "Bamboo Forest" by the locals.
On the trip around the Bamboo Path, you come through a beautiful beech forest which is filled with the finest anemones in the spring. You also pass through a fine spruce forest, which can be a good mushroom spot in autumn.
In the forest you can be lucky to meet both foxes and badgers, as these live under the roots of the trees, hidden in the forest. Many fine deer can also be seen here and in the evening some of the area's ravens come and sleep in the crowns of the trees.
I would definitely recommend this little gem of nature, which offers many fun, exciting and different nature experiences.
Have a nice trip
Andreas Hermann - Nautre centre leader
Nature guide at Sønderborg Municipality
The nature guides at Sønderborg Municipality also recommend other natural areas that either offer some fascinating animal species, plants, and cultural history, as well as activities - or even a bit of everything...