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Landscape and history

Landscape

The landscape in Thy is the result of movements in the subsurface, glacial movements during the last Ice Age and the subsequent isostatic uplift.

The western part of Thy was a cluster of islands until 4,000 years ago. Since then the land has risen and in many places the coast has moved some kilometres to the west. The coastline of the Stone Age is now visible as distinctive inland slopes, for example along the eastern side of Hanstholm Nature Reserve as well as at Nors Lake and Vandet Lake.

Here it is evident that the subsurface of Thy consists of white chalk and Danian chalk.

Sand drift

The isostatic uplift brought up huge amounts of sand, and this formed the basis for the sand drift which strongly marks the present landscape.

Both prehistoric and historic times have seen periods with sand drift, interrupted by long stable periods. Studies show that strong sand drift has taken place in periods with a colder climate. The most recently known sand-drift periods took place around year 400 B.C. as well as between years 400 and 600 A.D. and from 1450 to 1750.

The dune landscapes we see in Thy today are a result of all these sand drift periods.

Cultural heritage

Thy has a rich cultural heritage. There is hardly any other region in Denmark with so many ancient monuments dominating the landscape. This is especially due to the many Bronze Age burial mounds that crown the hills in the eastern part of Thy outside the national park.

This area has many ancient monuments because the soil has always been fertile. There are also Bronze Age burial mounds in Thy National Park, but many of them have been covered by the sand drift.

Living with dunes and the sea

Interesting traces of the cultural heritage in Thy National Park are testimony of the changing use of the deserted dune landscapes and the sea by the inhabitants of Thy.

Particularly interesting is the spread of the land and the sea in prehistoric and historic times, traces of prehistoric Denmark, the sand drift and its impact on living conditions in the dune landscape. Churches, castle mounds, coastal fishing and shipping trade, life-saving services and the history of coastal protection, afforestation as well as more recent history in seaside towns and the traces from Second World War are all part of the history of Thy National Park.