Bøgsted Rende

Bøgsted Rende is the location on the Thy coast where the forest extends furthest towards the sea. Only the beach dune separates the vegetation from the shore, and this dramatic contrast is surely one of the reasons why the place has gained a century-old reputation as an excursion destination

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At the brook

Bøgsted Rende means "the site by the brook". In the 17th and 18th centuries, there was a watermill at the brook that flows into the sea. It is likely that sand drift destroyed the possibility of operating a watermill at the site. The sand filled the watercourses, removing the necessary water pressure to drive a mill. The exact time when it was abandoned is not known for certain, but from the beginning of the 20th century, Bøgsted Rende once again became a focal point in the local landscape. It became a destination for the region's first nature tourists who enjoyed the brook by the sea and the plantation that was growing at that time. There was even a pastry shop on the road down to Bøgsted Rende.

The oldest living trees in the area were planted in the late 19th century. Farthest to the west, there are Scots pines and waist-high oak thickets where you have to bend down to pick acorns! Further along the brook, you can find spruce and Austrian pines of considerable thickness. Here, it is clear that the roots have reached the good clay soil deep beneath the sand.

The beacon

The trail leads up to the beacon, a tall sea marker that rises high above the vegetation. The red-painted beacon, constructed with sturdy iron girders and timber, has an hourglass-shaped top. It was built in 1884-85 and served as a landmark for sailors. The beacons along the Jutland west coast were designed with distinctive shapes so they could be identified in relation to the sea charts where they were marked. From there, sailors could determine their position, but, of course, only during daylight. Modern technology has rendered the beacons obsolete, but they are protected and stand as large sculptures in the dune landscape.

There are several excellent hiking trails near Bøgsted Rende. The Thagaard Plantation trail leads up to the beacon.

Why is the water brown?

The water in Bøgsted Rende is yellowish or brownish and can sometimes be almost red. The color is due to iron that has been oxidized, similar to rust. Some of it is dissolved in the water, while some settles as ochre on rocks and sand and on plants.

The iron originates from the mineral pyrite, which is naturally found in waterlogged, oxygen-depleted soils. When the water table in the soil is lowered, oxygen penetrates to the pyrite, releasing the iron, which is then discharged into the stream as ochre.

The significant concentration of ochre in Bøgsted Rende is due to the fact that drainage channels and ditches have lowered the water table in soils that used to be waterlogged. Drainage was necessary for the establishment of the new plantations, as the majority of trees cannot withstand being excessively wet.

Ochre is not toxic, but it disrupts the living conditions for fish and small aquatic organisms. It can cover the gills of aquatic animals, and thick layers of ochre can prevent fresh and oxygenated water from penetrating between the rocks, where many of the stream's aquatic organisms live and where, for example, trout would spawn their eggs. Thus, there are no fish in the stream.

When Bøgsted Rende was a popular destination for excursions over 100 years ago, ochre was not a problem, and hopefully, it will disappear again. The Thy National Park is working to create ecosystems with a natural water balance, including closing drains and drainage ditches. However, it is a lengthy process, and many more years may pass before ochre is no longer leached into Bøgsted Rende.

Postcard from Bøgsted Rende, around 1920. Photo from the Local History Archive, Thisted.

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