Updated May 2018: A wildfire has resulted in two-thirds of Randbøl Heath being ravaged. The Danish Nature Agency expects the heath to have restored by the autumn.
Randbøl Hede southwest of Randbøl is one of the few remaining natural heaths in Denmark. Originally much larger, the 1,875-acre Randbøl Hede is nonetheless the nation’s largest inland heath. Randbøl Hede was declared a nature reserve in 1932 to protect it from being further reclaimed as farmland or woodland.
Randbøl Hede was once a trackless, deserted heathland feared by all, especially commercial travellers due to the roaming bandits. Still meandering across the heath is a track leading to Vorbasse, which for centuries was a droving road along which cattle were led to market in Vorbasse or even further south.
As early as the 1760s, German farmers cultivated potatoes in the area, introducing this novel vegetable to the Danes. In the 1950s, the time-honoured grazing and peat-cutting rights of local farmers were finally abolished.
The Stoltenbjerg Hill, set in the mighty sand dunes of Staldbakkerne, offers spectacular views of the natural heath.
In 1802, the Danish state established a 1,125-acre birch and spruce tree plantation, Frederikshåb Plantage, on Randbøl Hede. After a century of braving the wandering sands, the heath finally transformed into mature woodland.
In 1999, a hurricane razed a third of the forest and the many forest openings created by the storm have since been replanted with a mixture of deciduous and coniferous trees.
The plantation has a unique natural phenomenon called the Seven Year Lakes in which some of the lakes in the forest dry out in seven-year cycles only to reappear.
The plantation also has large woodland sand dunes and a peculiar area with around 175 rock mounds, created 5000 years ago.