Vangså Klithede

Vangså Hede is a large-scale sand drift landscape. Behind the distinctive coastal dunes, there are parabolic dunes, and on their eastern side, the so-called dune ridges form kilometer-long and narrow dune formations

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Plants on the heath

Plants on the heathlands include creeping willow, heather, bell heather, cross-leaved heath, bilberry, and bog cranberry. All three Danish species of insect-eating sundew can be found here. Orchids like the spotted orchid are found in damp hollows and can paint portions of the heathland bright pink when they bloom. You can witness this in June near the lake just west of the Coastal Road at the 29 km marker. Enjoy the sight, but remember that orchids are protected and should not be picked. Towards the sea, in the outermost dunes, you can find the rare and protected Scottish asphodel, among others.

Large parts of Vangså Hede were protected in 1995. This was done to preserve and safeguard the natural history and landscape values and to perform nature conservation. The main threat to the area's dry nature is overgrowth by trees and bushes, including Scots pine. Therefore, regular clearing, burning, and grazing are carried out.

All three types of carnivorous sundew can be found on Vangså Klithede. Here is the narrow-leaved sundew.


Cranes, common snipes, and short-eared owls are found here. The wheatear and red-backed shrike are also seen, and nightjars inhabit the dune plantations. Among mammals, one can spot roe deer, foxes, and fallow deer.

Several interesting butterflies have been recorded from Vangså Klithede, including the rare gentian blue, whose larvae live in the seed pods of the clustered bellflower. After a couple of molts, the larva drops to the ground, where it is adopted by a species of ant. Then, the larva lives in the anthill, where it is fed by the ants in the same way they would feed their own larvae.

Cranes both rest and breed on Vangså Klithede. Photo by Jens Kristian Kjærgaard.

Fishermen and smallholders

The fishing village of Vangså emerged in the early 18th century when the smallholders in the area had to find new places to live due to sand drift. While the actual farmers moved further east, where they could cultivate the land, the poorer smallholders preferred to move closer to the coast, where they could engage in fishing supplemented by sheep grazing in the dunes. In the 1920s, the settlement in Vangså was at its peak with 34 farms and houses, along with a school, mission house, and two grocery stores. There were 149 residents, 40 of whom were fishermen with a total of 34 boats. The residents of Vangså only received electricity in 1977, but before that, the fishermen had moved to Klitmøller and Hanstholm, where they could land with larger boats.

Montør Bent Pedersen, Klitmøller er i sommeren 1977 på vej til at slukke for den generator, der hver sæson de sidste otte år har skaffet strøm til ni sommerhuse. Vangså fik som den sidste landsby i Danmark indlagt strøm samme år. Photo: Tage Jensen, Local History Archive for Thisted.

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