When you walk around Hasle Lystskov and enjoy nature and birdsong, not many people think that it hasn’t always been like this. The forest was not originally a self-seeded forest, but planted by Peder Dam Jespersen in the years from 1819 until his death on 17 December. Sept. 28, 1835.
Peder D. Jespersen was born in 1772 in Nexø. He trained as a lawyer and became town and county clerk. In 1798 he married a merchant’s daughter from Rønne. After his father-in-law, he inherited in 1809 a large merchant farm with associated breeding farm, in Rønne, in 1810 he also bought Sejersgård, as he had more interest in agriculture than merchant. He became one of the best farmers on the island.
As a result, he was appointed Sandfluchtskommisar in 1819.
The reason why the forest was planted was that the area from Rønne-Blykobbe Plantage – Nordskoven and to Hasle – Hasle Lystskov, was very sandy, which meant that when it blew, the sand fell over the arable land in the nearby areas and destroyed the crops of the various farmers. However, the farmers themselves were largely to blame for the sand. Precisely because the soil in the area was of a quality that made it unprofitable to grow crops, the farmers used the land for their cattle, which in turn meant that what could grow naturally in the area was eaten by the animals.
In 1818, the inspector of the sand fly chamber had visited the sand fly areas of Bornholm. He wanted the dunes to be protected from cattle grazing and for antlers to be planted. Peder Dam Jespersen was more than happy to protect the area, but certainly not to plant helmets to stop the sand blowing, he had other plans.
However, not all the farmers were happy with the measures taken by Peder Dam Jespersen, as it meant that they lost their grazing land, and there was a war on the knife.
Peder Dam Jespersen had a lot of seeds from grass and herbs lying in his hayloft. He would use these seeds, as well as seeds from alder, birch, elm, bird cherry, pine, spruce and larch, in his work to establish a forest. He began by fencing off areas where the seeds were sown, and when the trees had reached a size where they could withstand being gnawed on by animals, he removed the fence. This continued until he had planted the entire area, which eventually became a plantation of 400 acres in 1935. The trees grew so well that in 1830 he gave permission for heather to be cut in the area. The plantation today is only a little over 200 acres.
According to stories about Peder Dam Jespersen, when he went around to inspect his work, it was always with a rifle over his shoulder, as he felt unsafe because of the peasants’ reluctance to his project.
It is also said that all the wild cherries that were planted were because he had contact with a man named Peter F. Heering. He apparently expressed a wish that Peder Dam Jespersen should supply cherries for a new product to be put into production – cherry wine. The deal never materialised, but the cherry trees are there.
There is also a story attached to how many of these cherry trees were supposedly planted, it goes like this:
Children have probably always gone “foraging” in various fruit trees, they also did in a cherry tree that should have been in the garden of Sejersgård just north of Rønne. Peder Dam Jespersen thought it was a pity for the children that they had to “steal” cherries, so he allowed them to take them – but there was one condition they had to meet.
They could eat as many cherries as they liked, but when they had to go to the toilet, they didn’t have to run home to do the paragraph, they had to run down to the area where he was planting trees, take down his trousers – and put it nicely – plant a tree. The children agreed to this condition, and apparently that is why so many cherry trees were planted in the orchard.
Whether these stories are true or not will probably never be cleared up.
But in any case, the whole forest area from Blykobbe Plantage to Hasle Lystskov is a really nice area that offers many experiences.
A memorial to Peder Dam Jespersen was erected in 1886, and a memorial to Crown Prince Christian Frederik (later Christian VIII), the Prince’s Source, when he helped to excavate one of the six mounds in the plantation – Tillehøje – in 1824. In the forest area between Sorthat and Hasle you will find the lakes Emerald Lake, Sapphire Lake, Pyrite Lake and Ruby Lake which are relics of a bygone era, coal and clay mining, the old brickworks, a board telling about a glassworks that made bottles for Peter F. Heering. And not least, the absolutely stunning moon-like landscape, the Kultippen.
Throughout the forest area there are great cycling and walking trails, horse riding trails, good sandy beaches, shelter, opportunities to fish in the lakes, mushroom hunting and bird watching or how about collecting some coal from the beach at Levka. In Blykobbe Plantage there is a dog forest where it is allowed to let the dog roam without a leash, provided you have full control over it.