In The Megalithic European, Julian pays little more than a double page spread of lip-service to the long, glorious island of Langeland off the southern coast of Fyn in Denmark, almost certainly due to lack of space in the book and time in the field.
The thing that doesn't come over in Julian's commentary is the sheer variety, intensity and close proximity of monument after monument in this small finger of land. It took us two days to do it justice.
The bridges to get there are mercifully toll-free and the rolling countryside on the island is more enchanting even than the rest of Denmark. Langeland is home to scores of bird species and hares and deer abound. The main town on the island is Rudkøbing which felt very strongly like a far less bleak Kirkwall.
It was Moth's birthday and while we were waiting for our friends to join us for some lunch, we quickly zipped out to see Bjerrebygaard dolmen.
We arrived in blazing sunshine and galloped over the muddy field to reach the stunning monument, cluster of large stones, dolmens with giant capstones and six monster, gnarled 'pantomime' oak trees sticking out of a large mound. Very dramatic.
We spent some time enjoying it until the sky in the northwest darkened suddenly and a wall of weather closed in. We made it back to the car just in time as a full-on blizzard of hailstones pelted down.
Approximate long/lat coordinates, as I couldn't see the site among the trees on the aerial photomap. Shouldn't be too far out though.
Access: Walk is about 0.5km south to wood down a track, then on forestry path and finally by small vague paths into the SE corner of the wood. There are good paths most of the way, but keeping on course is quite tricky and there are deep gullies (sometimes with water in) to navigate past or to cross.
Not far from monuments near Frellesvig on Langeland. From the 305 heading north, pass Frellesvig and continue on through Tranekær and out the other side, past the park and its castle.
Just over 2km past the castle, you need a left (west) towards Helletofte. At the next junction (a road heads off north, to the right) park. There is plenty of room.
Just east of the junction, on the south side of the road you have just come along, you will see a track heading south towards the woods. Follow this and enter the woods on a good foresters' track.
On the west of this path, there are lines of trees as you head south. Before long, you will reach the south east corner of the regimented lines, at which point you need to try to follow paths into the SE of the main part of the wood.
From here it gets difficult to give directions and you may need patience and persistence! You should be able to see a steep hill in the woods to the SE. Generally head for the SE side of that hill, avoiding or crossing the gullies mentioned above as seems best in your quest!
The monument is near the SE corner of the woods - sufficiently close to be able to see the fields beyond, but not right at the edge and right among trees - not in a clearing to speak of. Look out for a slight raise in the ground with a few largish - but not really properly megalithic (!) moss-covered stones, just visible through the trees. Good luck!
7 April 2006
Gah. Quite difficult to find and hardly worth it once you do, I'm afraid.
This is a pretty badly trashed passage grave. There is a fairly slight mound in which most of the small orthostats of the chamber survive. The chamber is actually relatively long for the size of the mound (which is obviously much reduced) and as the ortostats are small, the chamber must presumably have been low.
Astonishingly, the tiny passage on the ESE side has somehow managed to retain one of its capstones, but there are only a couple of stones left at the foot of the 'mound' that look as though they are (or were!) probably kerbstones.
Other than Jelling, this was the last site we visited in Denmark, and not a good way to say 'goodbye' to the wonders of Langeland. It was also one of the most badly mistreated and damaged sites we saw on the whole trip.