This stage offers the beautiful scenery around Kongeå River valley and the lakes at Jels. You cross the Kongeå at Frihedsbroen - the Freedom Bridge, and there are many good stories from the time when the river marked the border between Denmark and Germany. Part of the area is a nature conservation site and it is definitely worth taking a break here to enjoy the countryside.
From Vejen the Hærvej goes westward to Askov, which is best known for its traditional high school, founded in 1865, where you are welcome to walk in the park and take in the atmosphere.
The church in Askov was built in 1900, designed by the architect Rold Schrøder, who drew inspiration from early Christianity, which gives the building an unusual subdued light.
From Askov, the route turns south to Skibelund Krat, where there is a memorial to many of the people who fought for the rights of South Jutland in the period 1864 - 1920. It has been used as a constitution day meeting place for over a hundred years.
One a few km further on is the Freedom Bridge and Kongeå River.
The bridge got its name during the period 1864 - 1920 when the river was the border between Denmark and Germany. At that time, the bridge was wooden and the German gendarmes had a sentry box on the south side. Many South Jutlandic people escaped to Denmark across the bridge, while others fought bitterly for their nation’s rights and identity.
Kongeå River is a unique nature and cultural landscape. The route takes you directly south towards Københoved, but you are warmly encouraged to take a diversion into the countryside, along the Kongeå, towards the east. Between Gredstedbro and Knagemøllen, the river is a protected area.
A few kilometers towards the east, on the north bank of the river, is a fortification with the remains of the royal Skodborghus castle. Nowadays, the building is bisected by the highway and has had a thatched building attached to it, which was the local customs house until 1920.
South of the Kongeå, the bicycle route passes by a number of well preserved grave mounds from the early Bronze Age.
The bicycle route follows west around Skodborg, through the small villages Københoved and Skrave.
If you’re running low on provisions, then make a quick trip to Skodborg for shopping, only a few kilometers away.
Jels also has shopping facilities, and the route crosses Jels River which is formed in the Jels Lakes. The town is well known for its windmill from 1859, which was used until 1971 and has since been restored and opened to the public. There is a tourist information office in the mill as well. Another of the town’s landmarks stands in bronze on the banks of the Nedersø Lake - the Jels girl statue. There is also a lido with recreational area and open-air theatre. The Orion Planetarium is located nearby.
TO THE NEXT STAGE: JELS - VOJENS