Hanstholm Wildlife Reserve

The reserve is the breeding ground for many rare bird species, and large populations of red deer live in these undisturbed areas. Due to a conservation order, there is limited access to this area, and in the breeding season you have to make do with observing the landscape from a distance. 

Wildlife in the reserve

Hanstholm Wildlife Reserve consists of dunes covered with heather as far as the eye can see, only interrupted by mountain pine which was planted to protect the area against sand drift. Until 1930, the area was divided into parcels owned by farmers and smallholders and used for grazing and hunting. In the 1930s, the Danish state bought the land and hunting was prohibited. In 1949, the wildlife reserve was established.

The bird tower in Sårup in the northwestern part of Tved dune plantation is situated high on the old coastal cliff. From here is a particularly good view of the central and closed areas of Hanstholm Wildlife Reserve. Bring a good pair of binoculars.

There is rich wildlife around the lakes at different times of the year. In March-April you can be lucky to see cranes dancing and trumpeting in the ponds below the tower before they settle on the breeding grounds in the reserve. Later in the summer, you can see them walking around in pairs with one or two young birds.

One of the best places to see red deer in the reserve is also from the tower. In the late summer, up to 400 animals can gather for periods in the dune terrain outside the tower. Later the flock breaks up for the mating season when the large leaders each gather their herd and guard it jealously. When the stags roar across the wilderness on a calm evening during sunset, you forget the present and you are taken back to primeval times.

In the migration period, the central reserve is visited by many resting birds. Each autumn, large flocks of pink-footed geese come from the breeding grounds on Svalbard, and in recent years the flocks of greylag geese have become ever larger.

The lakes along the old coastal cliff

Along the old coastline, you can see a number of very different lakes. The most northern lake, Sokland, is covered by reed and sedge.

Where the old coastline form a bay jutting inland lie the Blegsø and Tormål lakes. Along the east side of Blegsø lake, the chalk cliff continues into the lake and forms the bottom of the lake, whereas the western part of the lake bed is covered by sand. Blegsø lake is a so-called karst lake, like Nors Lake and Vandet Lake.


The reserve

In order to protect birdlife and wildlife, there are special rules for access to Hanstholm Wildlife Reserve: The entire reserve, apart from the area east of Kystvejen, is closed during the birds' breeding season from 1 April to 15 July. However, you can still climb the bird tower in Sårup, which is located 50 m inside the reserve. The central area with the many lakes and wetlands is closed all year round.