King Hans’s naval bridge

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In 1807 Denmark was attacked without warning by the British navy. Hey bombarded Copenhagen and after the first terror bombardment of a major city the Danish king decided to turn over the Danish navy to the British attackers. The Danish navy was actually pretty back in 1807 – after the battle of Trafalgar the Danish navy was actually the second biggest in Europe. But after the attack by Britain there was only a few ships left in the former proud navy.

Heron hidding in the landscape around the bridge

Something had to be done – unfortunately a great navy at this time needed some large oak trees – unfortunately large oak trees was in short supply in Denmark at this time. The navy did act – they ordered a large area in a forest district in northern Zealand should be planted with oak trees which should be used to rebuild a large navy.

The bridge across the river

Unfortunately oak trees grow rather slowly. For an oak tree to be sufficiently large to be used as a mast for a major naval ship it had to be around 200 years old. But the navy was forward looking and they were ready to prepare ahead and wait for the trees.

View of the river from the bridge

The navy waited for many years. And they started to build ships made of steel instead of wood. In the later part of the 19th century there was no longer any major demand for oak trees to build naval ship. Hence the navy forgot about the order it had put to the forest district.

In the late 1990s the trees were beginning to be large enough to be harvested – the forest district contacted the navy and asked where they wanted their trees delivered. At the navy head quarter they had forgotten about the trees and started to wonder what to do with this large delivery of large oak trees. They decided against using them to rebuild a wooden navy.

After a lot of thought they started to find some use for the large trees. One of the projects which used the large oak trees was a couple of new wooden bridges crossing Skjern Å. One of the bridges is called Kong Hans bro which is a new wooden bridge built in 2003 at a location where there used to be a bridge in medieval time.

Memorial stone for King Hans who died after a fall from his horse at this area

The bridge got its name after Kong Hans who crossed the river around this spot in 1513. His horse stepped into a large hole next to the track and the king was thrown from his horse. The king survived the immediate fall but after a few weeks he died by the effect of the fall.

The wooden bridge

The new bridge use 4 of the old naval oaks for the large pillars which carries the 55 meter long bridge. Part of the bridge is built by the oak wood but they also used some fire wood as well.

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