Tved Church and Dune plantation

Tved Church is one of the easternmost points in the National Park Thy. The church tells the story of the changes in the landscape and the consequences for those who lived here

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Desertification and the Church That Defied It

Tved is located almost 10 km in a straight line from the North Sea. However, deep inland, desertification came to determine the fate of the parish and gradually isolated the pride of the region: the large, beautiful church.

In the Middle Ages, in the late 12th century, the church was built. The Romanesque choir and nave were constructed from solid, hewn fieldstones, and the surrounding area was consecrated as a cemetery. Inside the church, there was an altar made of stone. The baptismal font was adorned with three lions attacking a wild boar. It was placed between the two entrance doors at the western end of the church. The walls featured frescoes in the style of the time. It is presumed that the area around the churchyard was inhabited with the village's farms since the soil was fertile, and there was also access to good grazing areas in the nearby meadows.

Times changed, and new desires and demands arose for the church. Around 1500, a tower was built where the bell from 1498 could hang. The church interior received a fine crucifix, and new frescoes replaced the old ones. Among them was a painting of Adam and Eve on the south wall of the choir. The couple is depicted near a tree, where the serpent winds its way up the trunk. Adam has already received the apple, and the fall from grace is inevitable. The landscape surrounding Adam and Eve is rather barren and far from lush, but it accurately resembled the local surroundings. Around the same time, desertification began to affect the parish, significantly impacting the church's surroundings.

Tved Church gained national fame in Denmark in 1875 when Magnus Petersen's drawing of the church buried in sand was published in "Illustrated Times." Petersen wrote about his visit to Tved: "The church is completely surrounded by dunes, and when you approach it, you have to walk on soft and loose sand that goes far above your feet."

Throughout the 1500s, sand gradually encroached from the west, progressively destroying the cultivated areas. The farms in the parish had to give up and move further east. In the end, the only building that remained was the pride of the parish: the church. In a struggle against the elements, efforts were made to keep the churchyard free of sand so that people could enter the church and use the churchyard.

Large parts of Tved parish were destroyed by the sand drift, and the entire village of Tved now lies to the east of the church. It wasn't until 1902 that the creation of Tved Plantation began, and as the trees gradually grew, the landscape transformed from an open, dune-covered area into dense woodland.

The serpent in paradise tempts Adam and Eve. However, the Garden of Eden in Tved is a barren and sand-filled landscape. It has resembled the reality outside the churchyard quite well.

The plantation

Tved Plantation was initially established mainly with Scots pine trees, but especially in the eastern part of the plantation, deciduous trees have gradually grown over time. If you walk from east to west, you will transition from high-stemmed deciduous forest to low coniferous forest on large dunes and further to the old coastal cliffs.

The plantation features significant differences in elevation created by the varying sand cover, offering diverse experiences when you explore it. The highest point in the plantation is Isbjerget at 56 meters, and Ravnshøje at 55 meters in the southern part of the plantation. Ravnshøje consists of two Bronze Age burial mounds, the only ones in the Tved area not covered by dunes.

The plantation is known as a good location for mushroom collectors. It also boasts a rich wildlife, including roe deer, red deer, nightjars, and tawny owls.

If you follow the Langsande route, you'll pass the plantation's largest parabolic dune, Langsande, offering a great view of the heathland near Kokkjær Pond. If you continue westward, you'll reach Hanstholm Wildlife Reserve.

Red deer at Kokkjær Vanc in Tved Klit Plantation. Photo by Ib Nord Nielsen.

Visit Tved Kirke

Tved Church is open Monday to Saturday: 8:00 AM - 3:30 PM, except on holidays and special occasions.

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