Once a royal hunting ground, the forest is now open to all and has been heartily embraced by mountain bikers, runners, riders, and role-players. Others just enjoy the beauty of the beech trees.
Every Sunday morning on the S-train to Farum, there’s fierce competition for the bike racks. Hareskoven Forest – actually forests, plural – is popular with cyclists.
It’s home to Denmark’s first real mountain-bike route. Many more have since been added, but the ‘Red Track’, which runs for 25 kilometres through the forest, still attracts large numbers of cyclists and is suitable for beginners.
There are plenty of winding, quirky paths through the trees, as well as straight roads that form the shape of a star. They date from the days of Christian V. He had the paths laid out for riding to hounds, in which the pack would chase its prey until it was exhausted, and the king or guest of honour would finish it off.
One of the oldest forests in Denmark, relics of the past abound in Hareskoven, including megalithic tombs and remnants of the Swedish siege of Copenhagen, when it was the site of an enemy encampment. By the time they retreated, the Swedes had felled and destroyed most of the forest,and the effects are still plain to see.
Hareskoven is an exceptionally beautiful place to enjoy the Danish national tree, the beech, especially in its springtime coat of lively, neon-green or its golden autumn hues.
However, the king of this forest is the oak known as ‘The Tailor’, the largest tree in the area.
Photo: Scanpix/Søren Svendsen