It looks like a troll forest straight out of The Hobbit. At any moment, you expect a small, hairy creature to emerge from the mud or from behind one of the many misshapen alder trees with their roots deep in the damp, swampy ground. In fact, the only thing you are likely to encounter here is a herd of deer or a lonely wanderer who has strayed into this little-known part of the Deer Park.
This old coppice section of woodland is part of the original forest, which dates back to the 13th century, long before Frederik III decided to make the current Deer Park a royal hunting ground in 1669.
Farmers from the nearby village of Stokkerup would fetch wood from the coppice in Dousbad Swamp for fuel and timber. Posts, poles and fences were all cut from the trees here, which are common alder. The term ‘coppice’ means that the tree is regularly cut down to the root, so new shoots form.
The trees here still bear the marks of this original pruning, visible in the overgrown ‘foot muffs’ that have spread like knots just above the roots. Over the last 400 years, the trees have been allowed to grow more freely, although the wet soil does inhibit their growth. When the king set up the Deer Park, the Stokkerup farmers were ordered to demolish their homes and move elsewhere. As compensation, they were granted a three-year tax exemption.
Photo: Søren Rud
DATA & LINKSDousbad Mose
- Riding requires a permit, which can be ordered here (in Danish)
- The Danish Nature Agency’s guide to the Deer Park (in Danish)
- The Nature Agency’s (Danish) miniguide to the Deer Park
- Map of riding trails in the Deer Park (PDF)
- The Danish Society for Nature Conservation’s description of the Deer Park (in Danish
- Instagram: #dyrehaven
- Plenty of opportunities for long walks, jogging and cycling in beautiful surroundings.
- Several riding trails and pony trekking for children (accompanied by adults) at Fortunen, in the south-west part of the Deer Park.
- Picnics and horse-drawn carriage trips.
- Skiing, tobogganing and skating in winter.
- Horse-drawn carriages are available for hire at Klampenborg Station.
- The Deer Park – officially named Jægersborg Deer Park – was adapted for riding to hounds, inspired by France, and as a supplement to the royal household, as the Court ate its way through 1,000 deer a year at the time.
- In 1900, Denmark’s last recorded duel was fought in Deer Park, between theatre critic and later editor of the Politiken newspaper Edvard Brandes and actor Robert Schyberg, who had been the subject of a bad review. Neither was hurt but both were sentenced to 14 days in jail because duels were forbidden.
- All that remains of the original village is Stokkerup Pond on Heremitage Plain, 200 metres south-west of Hermitage Palace.
- Due to its special enriching qualities, mud from Dousbad Swamp was used in baths at the popular Klampenborg Spa (built 1844). Part of the spa has now been turned into The Red Cottage (Den Røde Cottage), a restaurant on Strandvejen.
- Apart from the alder in Dousbad Swamp and many beech trees, the Deer Park is known in particular for its many ancient, solitary oaks and hawthorns. The Deer Park is home to approx. 2,000 red, fallow and sika deer (the latter were a gift to Christian X from the Japanese emperor in 1923).
- There are asphalt pathways from the Hjortekærporten entrance to the Hermitage Palace (Eremitageslottet) and from the Klampenborg entrance to Skovridergården.
- Some of the hills have also been paved.
- The roads are generally in good condition in the Deer Park and suitable for wheelchairs.
- There are several food and beverage outlets in and around Deer Park.