...and the warmth rises over Lille Vildmose. Suddenly, a golden eagle appears. His Majesty of the moors masters the art of riding the thermal air currents – just like a glider. The mighty eagle, which has a wingspan of over 2 meters, ascends skyward. Then he begins to circle over Høstemark forest, close to the Høstemark Tower where you stand.
This is one of four observation towers in Lille Vildmose, where visitors can get a bird’s-eye view of the virtually untouched landscape with its wild animals and birds. Three of the towers are equipped with powerful binoculars that help you zoom in on the eagle, and give you a feeling of a close encounter with this rare king of the sky. Two pairs of eagles live and breed in Lille Vildmose, and they account for the entire free population of these impressive airborne predators in Denmark.
Lille Vildmose is the closest you can come in Denmark to a great wilderness, with shy mammals that wander openly by day so you can see how they live and play. It’s the Danish equivalent to the savannah of East Africa, where grazing wildlife make the picture. The area is easily accessible by car. The southern portion, Tofte Skov og Mose (Tofte forest and marsh), is enclosed by a wildlife fence. The same applies to Høstemark forest in the north-eastern corner. The forests of Lille Vildmose have been fenced in for almost 100 years, and this enclosure is the reason why Denmark’s largest population of a couple of hundred wild boar can live in Tofte Skov.
The wild boar was hunted nearly to extinction in Denmark in the 18th and 19th centuries. But in 1926 they were replenished in Tofte Skov with stocks from northern Germany, and ever since, they have ruled and rooted in the forest with their characteristic grunt. These enclosures have also been a life insurance for the ancient species of Jutland red deer. The ones in Lille Vildmose are direct descendants of the stags and does that migrated to Jutland after the most recent Ice Age about 10,000 years ago.
When you mount the Tofte Tower just north of the beach resort town, Øster Hurup, at the southern edge of Lille Vildmose and listen to the roar of the antlered buck, you’re hearing an echo from prehistoric times. This is how Stone Age man heard the stag, and it told him it was time for the crucial hunt for meat and fur.
August, September and October are the best months to observe the red deer, when the bellowing of stags in rut carries across the fields of Lille Vildmose. The observation towers are open 24 hours a day, and give visitors excellent views of some of the most impressive natural scenery in Denmark.
You often meet foxes on the coastal route between Øster Hurup and Dokkedal, and their dens are located not far from the busy road. In June especially, you can see the new offspring, when fox cubs are more curious than cautious.
Between Høstemark forest to the north and Tofte forest to the south, lie the broad, brown moors with peat production in the bogs. The peat is used in potting soil, and in the old days it was a source of energy. This industry will be phased out in a few years, and the bogs will be restored. The natural ground coverings of these marshes and moors will be allowed to grow back again over the open peat fields. West of the brown moors with their stacks of peat lies the long, thin Portland marsh. It’s accessible all year round.
Go jogging and get a true feeling of the high moor. Lille Vildmose is literally one big sponge in the landscape, about 10 kilometres from north to south, 5 kilometres east to west. This area of the eastern Himmerland region of Denmark is the largest of its kind in north-western Europe.
The sponge consists of peat mosses, which have an incredible ability to hold water from precipitation in the form of rain, sleet and snow. This layer has been building up over the past 1,500 years or so, and today it is about 3-5 meters thick in Lille Vildmose. Beneath this spongy layer lies the solid sand bottom of a Stone Age sea.
A high moor like this is like nature’s version of a trampoline. The earth vibrates under your feet as you run and hop. Just avoid the bogs, where you can sink to your waist or chest, if you’re not careful. The Portland marsh serves lots of berries, especially cranberries, in the autumn. Feel free to bring a basket along and pick to your mouth’s content when Lille Vildmose bears fruit from August and until the end of the year.
In VisitAalborg's InfoCenter you can find the small brochure called "Stjernepunkter i Lille Vildmose. It will guide you through the good vantage points in the area where you can experience the magnificent landscape and get up close and personal with the animals.
Lille Vildmose has recently built a new experience center, making the old bog come alive for you as a visitor. The center includes the history of the bog as well as animals and plants. There is also an exploratorium where you can get your hands into the bog and its animals. You can see films - and take a flight in an eagle simulator, while being shown the bog in a birds perspective. And much more! The center has a nice café with a great view over the bog.
Have a unique vinter experience when the birds in Lille Vildmose are fed with butcher waste on a platform next to Rovfugletårnet (The Raptor Tower). The largest guests are the eagles, but ravens, common buzzards and rough-legged buzzards also join the feast.
Tofte Forest, measuring 500 hectares are among the largest, unbroken nature forests in Denmark.
Tofte Bog is the southern part of the original raised bog and covers about 2000 hectares. This is where the red deer and roe deer forage in the winter and in the summer birds such as the crane use the area as breeding ground.