Råbjerg Mile – Denmark’s Migrating Dune

January 8, 2014

A traveling pile of sand? Absurd but true.

The Råbjerg Mile is what geologists call a migrating coastal dune that travels wherever the wind may take it, which is in a north-easterly direction across Northern Europe. A massive pile, the dune carries 4 million  m³ of sand, occupying an area of around 1 km² and a height of 40 meters. Originally hailing from Skagerrak, Denmark where it was formed 300 years ago, it has thus far moved to an area between Skagen and Frederikshavn, crawling at about 18 meters per year. And if you look closely, you’ll find a trail of sand leading back to its original position.

In the 16 and 17th centuries, these moving sand dunes were a threat to northern Jutland. Back then, colossal dunes spanning up to 7 kilometers drove populations from the coastal areas, a problem that was addressed by the government only in the 19th century through the Sand Drift Act of 1857, which allows the state to “own” and appropriate the sand dune as well as its surrounding areas.To hamper the dune’s movements, dune grasses and conifers were planted around the massive sand pile. It was only in the 1950s, that the dune drifts were finally under control.

Over 250,000 tourists visit the Råbjerg Mile every year. You can reach it by foot from Kandestedvej or by bike from Vestkyststien.

Learn more:  Visit Denmark
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Post sources: Wiki | Visit Denmark