This is a article written by Visit Rømø & Tønder.

A picnic tour through the marshlands

(15-20 km) from Emmerlev Klev to Visby, from the ice age to the present.

Table of Contents

Reading time: 7 Minutes

You will experience that

Here we talk about some of the exciting and special places in our home town, where you otherwise just whiz past.
You will be introduced to two villages – Visby and Emmerlev as representatives of the history of the region and the landscape. The tour stops at various places where you can enjoy nature and the view, explore magnificent churches and quaint towns, take a shorter or longer stroll, or simply take a well-deserved break. Public toilets are available at Emmerlev Klev, Trøjborg and Møllers have in Visby.

We start at Emmerlev Klev.

Whether you come from the north, south or east, notice how the landscape changes.
From the completely flat Marsk around Tønder and Ballum, it goes slightly upwards on the road towards Emmerlev Klev. You are driving here on Hjerpsted bakkeø, a bakkeø is an elevated, delimited area formed by deposits from the Ice Age. Hjerpsted hill island is formed by deposits from the second last ice age - the "Saale" ice age, when the hill island was not covered by the last ice age, the "Weichsel" ice age deposits.

At Emmerlev Klev there are holiday homes and campsites, a fantastic view and one of Denmark's geological natural gems: Emmerlev Klev, one of the Wadden Sea's coastal cliffs and the only one along the west coast of southern Jutland, with a geology that leads us approx. 120,000 years back. The cliff extends to the north of approx. 2 km and is up to 10-13m high.

Our tip for sunny weather: Bring your swimwear!

Emmerlev Klev

One of the places on the coast where there is no dike to protect against storm surge.

The way there

It is possible to park at the hotel, from where you walk down to the beach and then continue on a footpath in a northerly direction. After a few hundred meters you reach the cliff.

Another possibility to reach the cliff is to drive from the Strandhotellet back past the campsite, turn left onto Stampemøllevej and then follow the road for 1.1 km until you reach a field road on the left. You follow the dirt road for 600 m and end up on the edge of the cliff, where you can park the car. The way down to the water's edge is a very steep staircase, be careful!

Rocks, ice age and birds

At the cliff you will find many different stones that the ice has transported over great distances from Sweden, Norway, Finland and the entire Baltic area. The stones come from the cliff, where the sea continuously washes them free. A paradise for someone who collects rocks and fossils. Approx. midway in the cliff you can see a black stripe, this stripe is peat, which originates from the time between the ice ages. The peat consists of plants and branches, researchers believe to have found gnawing tracks of beavers on them.

Emmerlev Klev is a fantastic place for bird watching. Here many thousands of geese, ducks and waders rest on the water, and in the evening the starlings dance. To the south there is a view of the protruding dyke at Højer and Vidåslusen. Opposite to the west lies the island of Sild and to the northwest the island of Rømø.

We drive back and follow Emmerlevvejen through the village Emmerlev.

Construction style and business

The settlement of Emmerlev is first mentioned in 1292. Emmerlev's houses form a road town with many scattered small houses and fewer large farms, which are built in the region's typical construction style - elongated in an east/west direction.
North of the road is the listed Emmerlev school (Emmerlevvej 20) from 1857, the school functions today as a camp school. The fields have been very small, not even large enough for self-sufficiency, therefore people lived on fishing, seafaring and the women's wages as lacemakers.

The fishing took place by riding a horse-drawn carriage out on the ford and setting nets at low tide. At the next ebb you could then pick up the catch in the same way. Emmerlev was also a shipping place for oxen in the 1600-1700s, when there was a large stud export from the area to Holland.

As ballast, the ships brought general cargo, i.a. Dutch tiles, of which there have been many in the farms and houses in Emmerlev, which were often characterized by good prosperity. Today there are no traces of fishing and shipping, on the other hand, agriculture has become very important.

We drive to the crossroads and turn left on Højervej, approx. 2km.

Emmerlev Church

The church is located secluded between Emmerlev and Sdr. Sejerslev. The church is located on one of the highest points and the church tower was therefore also used as a sea sign. Along with the church is the inn, Højkro. The listed, thatched inn building with lattice windows, travel stables and linden trees is unfortunately completely dilapidated.

The original church building was built around 1150 and in the 15th century the tower, sacristy, porch and staircase of the tower were built.

Emmerlev Church's nave is Romanesque and built of granite blocks and a bit of tuff. Already in late Romanesque times the church was extended to the east with a narrower choir section. In total, there are four Gothic additions. The tower and staircase are leaded, while the sacristy has tiles. The other extensions have slate roofs.

In the tower hang two reunion bells. In 1921 they were donated by the Danish people and delivered by the Smidtske Jernstøberier, Ålborg. The previous bells were handed over for war use in 1917.

The altarpiece, which is set up on a medieval brick altar table, consists of a central cabinet from a Gothic velvet altarpiece in a baroque frame from 1685. In the middle you will find a crucifix, Mary's coronation and the twelve apostles. These are flanked by images with biblical motifs. It dates from the beginning of the 17th century and is provided with six fields with biblical motifs, and has been continuously restored.

A little further down the road you will find a reunification stone on the right side, which reminds of the Duchy of Schleswig (Southern Jutland) reunification with Denmark.

We continue our trip on Højervejen 419 through Vester Gammelby and turn right on Hjerpstedvej. Our next destination is the castle ruin Trøjborg.

Efter 1,5 km. har vi muligheden for at lave en lille afstikker til Kogsbøl mose, som er hjem for en række beskyttede fuglearter. Vi tager markvejen, efter Kogsbølvej, til venstre, her fører 2 km. blind markvej os direkte ind i mosen. Det er ikke tilladt at køre hele vejen med bilen, parker og spadser resten af vejen.

It can be difficult to park the car, be careful not to get in the way of agricultural traffic and block access to the fields. Furthermore, the discount can be soft.

Emmerlev Klev Church

Built around 1150 and in the 15th century, the tower, sacristy, porch and stairwell of the tower have been built.

Skast, Kogsbøl and Borgmose

Experience the atmosphere in a bog with turbid water, eerie and dense scrub, almost inaccessible and at the same time experience the development from bog to cultivated agricultural land.

The area is characterized by large farms and large fields. Part of these fields have been part of a larger raised bog area, which was flooded by storm surges before the Ballum dike was completed in 1919. The area is only 3-4m above sea level. Drainage and cultivation took place in the 1950s and 60s and could subsequently only be stopped by the nature conservation associations under great protest from the landowners and the land reclamation society.

Today, they want to preserve the bog, which is threatened by manure and dehydration. The bog was protected in 1977 and is in the protection program Natura 2000 and the bird protection area. Here you can find sea eagles, various birds of prey, horned owls, red-throated divers, blue-throated divers, plaice, cranes,… and a large population of crowned animals.


In addition, the degradation of bogs means the emission of CO2. With the help of various landowners, Tønder municipality has started a project to raise the water level in the area, loop drainage canals and take low-lying agricultural areas out of operation.


We come out of the bog again and continue our trip to the castle ruin Trøjborg Castle ruin.


Here once stood a medieval castle, which was built around 1350, probably by a South Jutland duke. The castle was built on the west side of a hilly island that stretches from Visby to the west. The area belonged to the Duchy of Schleswig. In 1407, Queen Margrethe I bought Trøjborg to strengthen her position to the south. Thus, Trøjborg belonged to Ribe Stift/Kingery of Denmark and not to the Duchy of Schleswig, a small piece of Denmark in the Duchy, a starting point for the Southern Jutland enclaves (= an area which is completely surrounded by another state) in Southern Jutland. In 1565, the king gave Trøjborg to the army commander Daniel Rantzau as a reward for his efforts in the Norwegian Seven Years' War against Sweden. After his death, Trøjborg went to his brother Peter Rantzau, he is described as a man of power who loves to show off and likes to build. He tore down Trøjborg, and then built a modern Renaissance castle in its place. The old castle bank was expanded so much that there was room to build a 32 x 31 m castle with four wings. The castle was in two stories above a high basement, with a tower at each corner of the inner courtyard. In each of the four corners, the floors were connected by a stair tower with a bulbous spire. A drawbridge (= a type of movable bridge which can be raised and lowered with the help of a winch) led over the moat to the castle's large entrance portal, which is now partially reconstructed from the original superstructure.

The liberation of the peasants and the abolition of the staff bond as well as high bread grain prices led to violent disputes with the hoof farmers, in addition to which there were changing ownership of Trøjborg. It was the end of the significant Trøjborg.

In 1851, the big farmer Knud Lausten Thomsen from Forballum Trøjborg bought at a forced auction and with ideas from Grundvig and the folk high school movement, he offered the state the castle to set up a seminary. The state said no, they did not want to create a competitor for the seminary in Tønder, and Thomsen started to demolish the castle. The furniture was sold, something is found at a museum in Tønder, all building materials were recycled in the area.

What remains is a ruin, ie. the south wall of the castle, as well as the entrance portal and the basement. The castle would probably have been completely removed if the bridge over the inner moat had not one day collapsed. It became too cumbersome to remove the debris.

Today, Trøjborg is an excursion destination for locals and holidaymakers and forms the romantic setting for wedding photos, for example.

East of the castle, a barn was built, Trøjborg Hovedgård, which today is a modern, privately owned organic farm with a barn and rental of holiday homes.

We continue on Trøjborgvej towards Visby and visit Visby.

Visby is an active village with 350 inhabitants and a grocery store, a fine church connected to the castle ruins, a priest with garden ideas, sculptures, tracks in the landscape and much more.

Pastor Møller's garden

Close to the church opposite the fire station is Visby vicarage from 1697, a large building that testifies to the priest's importance in society. Pastor Møller had been a priest since 1908. In Visby, there was a well-functioning free church next door and this led in 1922 to the problem of who should now be a priest. The congregation could not decide, the votes were evenly distributed and they had to negotiate for Pastor Møller to withdraw with an apology for illness and an annual support of DKK 2,500.

Pastor Møller and his wife moved to a small garden house in the large park he had planted on the outskirts of the city.

His wife died and he buried her in the park, which also became his graveyard with the blessing of the ministry. He bequeathed the entire park to Visby parish.

Today it is a nice little park, an obvious goal to take a break and settle down on one of the park's benches. The park is laid out as a nature park with many trees, rhododendrons, cypresses, ground cover and lawn, fountain, a newly built small pond, sculptures and a pergola and of course Møller's burial site. Various paths lead through the park. The park is looked after by volunteers who want the park to be a sanctuary for everyone. There are tables and benches as well as toilets. And the future also offers accommodation in the form of a shelter that has not been set up yet.

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Handicap accessibility

Full accesseslightly

Level-free access, lift etc., which enable wheelchairs to get around.

Partially available

There are rooms/areas where wheelchair users cannot enter, but it is still possible to have a good experience.

Available with a helper or some walking function.

There is a step or other that means you need help in order to participate/enter.

Not available.

There is no lift, ramps or anything else that prevents wheelchairs from entering.

The accessibility assessment is based on a normal-sized wheelchair. If you use an extra-wide electric wheelchair or electric crosser, please contact the desired place of visit yourself. Likewise, there may be circumstances which mean that the availability for a period is not as described by us. A good idea is to always search for information on the website of the desired place to visit.