From the sea and up into the hills, and down again through lush meadows. From Lønstrup, the Haervej passes Denmark’s highest migrating dune, Rubjerg Knude. At Nr. Lyngby you turn inland and move up to Børglum Monastery, the powerhouse of history and spirituality in Vendsyssel throughout the Middle Ages and until the Reformation. From Børglum Monastery, you have a splendid view across most of West Vendsyssel, and from here you continue through a lush hinterland to the historic Thise Church.
Lønstrup is picturesquely situated in a long gully. Many craftsmen have settled in the town, but fishing was once the main source of income here. A small group of fishermen still land their fish on the steep slipway. In the rescue house from 1852, you can see an exhibition about the history of fishing in Lønstrup.
Vennebjerg Church and Holy Spring
An inland side trip of four kilometer (round trip) takes you to Vennebjerg Church and Holy Spring from where you may see far and wide. The church was built in the mid-1100s and consecrated to St. Andrew. In the church is a crucifix from 1500 and an amusing rune inscription,”Hic locus est horum, qui cantat, non aliorum” (This place belongs to those who sing and no one else). Go and see the Bronze-Age mound Klangshøj just west of the church and enjoy the fantastic view.
Mårup Church Ruin
Back to Lønstrup and on to Mårup Church Ruin. The church is from the 13th century and was about 4 kilometers from the coast back then. It was disused since 1928 when the farms were moved further inland because of the sand drifts and because the sea had eroded the cliff. The church is now partly demolished, and only some of the walls and the churchyard are left.
Rubjerg Knude and Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse
From Mårup Church, the Haervej goes on to Rubjerg Knude and Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse. Rubjerg Knude is one of our biggest migrating dunes and its luminous silhouette can be seen far down the beach. The lighthouse was built in 1900 and was in use until 1968 when sand drifts put an end to its use. For a time, the lighthouse was a sand-drift museum, but in 2003, it had to be closed due to the sand drifts. The sands buried the building, and now only the top of the lighthouse can be seen. Now the dune is migrating again and is in the process of uncovering the old buildings. When the lighthouse was built, it was at the highest point in the landscape, well above 60 meters above sea level and 200 meters inland. Now it is quite close to the cliff.
From Rubjerg Knude the trail passes through the beautiful area behind the migrating dune to Strandfogedgården, today a cosy and interesting museum about coastal history. Guided tours are arranged from here and into the characteristic and beautiful landscape.
Then the Haervej passes on to Rubjerg Gamle Kirkegård. In 1904, the Middle-Age church was demolished because it was lying desolate on the edge of the parish. A new and more centrally placed church was built from the materials. In the churchyard, you can still see the remains of the old graves, but scrubs and sand drifts have covered most of the place.
The last stretch along the North Sea goes toward Nr. Lyngby. The town was originally a fishing village, but now it consists mostly of summer cottages. Due to coastal erosion, Lyngby Church was demolished in 1913 and a new church was built further inland. Only the bell tower remains. A great part of the churchyard has fallen into the sea and you can see remains of the graves as the erosion progresses. At Nr. Lyngby, you can also see the famous summer cottages that fall down on the beach because of the erosion of the cliff – or you can just enjoy the sunset at the Sunset Place.
From Nr. Lyngby, the Haervej continues into the hinterland, and at Vittrup, it crosses the highway between Hjørring and Løkken and moves toward Børglum Monastery.
Børglum Kloster – originally a medieval royal residence, later an important religious center of power in the period leading up to the Reformation, with the famous Bishop Stygge Krumpen as its leader. The monastery dominates the landscape and may be seen from afar with its white walls and red roof. The monastery charges an entrance fee to the permanent and temporary exhibitions on the fascinating life of the monastery through the ages. The exhibitions will give you an interesting insight into the history of this part of the country as well as everyday life in the monastery. You should also visit the amazing monastery church of which the earliest parts hail from the Romanesque Period.
The area is a great place to be. From the top of the hill you can see a great part of West Vendsyssel, down to Løkken and the North Sea, only 5 kilometers away. Here you also find the restaurant The Old Smithy, The Mill and the hilltop Bålhøj. Bodil’s Spring is on the north side of Bodilshøj with the monastery mill. The identity of this Bodil remains a mystery. The Catholic Church has no female saint by this name, and it is assumed that her name is a corruption of the name of the English St. Bodolph. It is also probable that the saint in question is King Erik Ejegod’s queen Bodil who was a local saint in Børglum for a time in the Middle Ages. Bodil went with her husband on a crusade to the Holy Land in 1103. King Erik died in Cyprus, but Bodil continued with the army to Jerusalem where she died on Mount Olive in 1104. She was given an unusually pompous funeral in the church which also holds the remains of no less than the Virgin Mary, and it is quite possible that this may have caused her relatives – among which were bishops in Børglum – to make her a local saint.
South of Børglum and down to Løkken-Brønderslevvejen, the Haervej follows ‘trails in the landscape’ and The Trail at Børglum Monastery. It starts at Bomhuset. In the old days, people paid a fee to pass down the long flat stretch of road toward Vrensted. Old maps show that there used to be a windmill here, and the miller collected the toll.
The road across the field is from the 1940s when the field boundaries were moved to give room for windbreak belts as new farming systems were introduced. On the northern side of the field road is a larger field that enfolds an area of woods. The name of the field is ”Ridehusmark” since there was a riding and dressage house here in the 17th and 18th centuries.
From the edge of the woods where there is a turn in the road, we can look across a very interesting place. For centuries, we have tried to find out where Bispegården (the episcopal residence) and the adjacent buildings were. Now it is generally assumed that ”Bispegården” was probably on this field. Old maps indicate as much, and they call the farm Bisgårdstoft. The episcopal residence was built in 1104, but exactly where is uncertain. There is a large depression in the middle of the field. Tradition has it that it was flooded in the Middle Ages to such an extent that you could sail from here to the North Sea.
The trail continues across Munkebroen (Monks’ Bridge). Old sources have it that the bridge was built by the canons from the monastery in Børglum. A number of archeological finds have been made south of the bridge that indicate that the place was a judicial district in the old days.
The Haervej continues across the heath and the meadows and crosses Klostergrøften (the Monastery Ditch), upon which it passes the Løkken-Brønderslev Road and Kongsengene (the King’s Meadows) toward Thise Church.