It will soon be a year since the 175 hectare Deer Park in Slotved Forest was opened to the public with great festivity, attended by more than 3,000 people. There were speeches by Mayor Arne Boelt, deputy director of the Nature Agency Signe Nepper Larsen and forestry supervisor Jesper Blom-Hansen.
The year has gone well in the new Deer Park which has become popular with an increasing number of visitors. Presently there is a population of 158 deer. “It is lovely to experience how almost everybody looks after the woodland and shows consideration towards the many animals,” says forestry officer Mogens Sonne Hansen.
The Danish Nature Agency, however, do have concerns about traffic in the Deer Park. A big problem is speed. People drive far too fast both in the Deer Park and across the cattle grids. It is particularly so with regard to the traffic coming from Astrup when driving across the cattle grid by Kræmmerens Hus (the trademan’s house). The problem is serious enough for the Nature Agency to be in negotiations with Hjørring municipality to establish measures for speed control.
With an increasing number of visitors, there is a commensurate need for more parking. The Nature Agency have established a very large main car park opposite Vagthøj, where there are spaces for 50 cars and motorbikes, bicycles and as well as disabled parking. On this site modern toilets have been installed and also a large waste container.
Visitors are encouraged to use this car park and from there to explore the woodland and Deer Park on foot. People are also welcome to park on Slotvedgård (farmhouse) court yard by Vejborgvej and the yard area by Kræmmerens Hus, ( the trademan’s house). Furthermore there is the existing car park signposted as Festpladsen by the T-junction of two local roads, Danmarksgade and Astrupvej. The Nature Agency do not approve of the increasing amount of visitors parking by the Langdysserne (long barrows.) People should avoid parking here as this could compromise the archaeological site.
From the main car park it is just a few hundred metres to Madpakkehytten (the open sandwich hut). A handicap friendly path takes you there, where you will also find an open fireplace with a grill and recenty a sheltered area with a grill has also been installed. Everybody is welcome to make use of these facilities.
The Nature Agency feed the deer from December after the rutting period has ended. The feeding is a supplement to the food the deer find themselves. Normally there is enough food for the deer to forage in the park, but the animals need to get used to the fodder in case snow and ice make it impossible to avail their own food in the park. There are three feeding places. Two are in the old part of the Deer Park and one east of Slotvedgård (Slotved farmhouse). It is important that people respect the space needed for the stags and doe deer to eat undisturbed. Please watch them at a distance and make sure to not frighten the animals away from their food. Keep your distance from the feeding areas and follow the roads and paths.
In order that everybody can have a good experience, there are a few rules to observe:
Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times and cyclists must stay on the asphalted roads and the path north of the wired fence. As mentioned it is important to keep at a good distance from the animals and to move about quietly and calmly.
Right now, at this time of year with low sun, the Nature Agency has a problem with the gates at the cattle grid on Danmarksgade. The sun dazzles the photo cells put there to register whether someone is about to go through the gates. This means that the gates won’t close the way they are supposed to between the hours 13.30 to 15.30. Work is in progress to find an early solution.
Regulation of the deer population in Slotved Deer Park
From Thursday 10th January and for the rest of the month regulation of the deer population was carried out. The Deer Park remained open during this time. Everybody was still welcome, and the Nature Agency’s staff were happy to answer questions.
The forestry officer and game consultant Mogens Sonne Hansen and Park Ranger Niels Jørgen Pedersen are in charge of the inspection and management of the deer. It is necessary to ensure a good and healthy deer population both now and in the future. Young calves, small one year old animals, a few older doe deer and stags that have been injured during the rut, and calves that can’t cope with a harsh winter are moved away from the park.
The 175 hectare Slotved Deer Park was opened to the public in March last year, and in connection with this event the original deer population of 70 was supplemented by two fallow deer and sixteen stags as well as thirteen pregnant doe deer. There were also three stags from Jægersborg Deer Park near Copenhagen. Now that the pregnant doe deer have given birth to their calves, the population totals 158 animals of which 101 are fallow deer, 30 roe deer and 27 red deer. The Nature Agency foresees that the population will rise to 300 to 400 animals depending on availability of grazing. The goal is a healthy population of 1/3 stags and 2/3 does.