The Klintebjerg escarpment sits on a former island in the Odense Fjord, and its earliest human settlements date back to 1746. The island was connected to the mainland of Fyn in the early 1800s. Its location out by the fjord’s fairway made it an ideal fjord port, where larger ships could anchor and later even dock.
Until the Odense Channel was completed in 1806, the port served as a loading site for goods to be transported to Odense by horse carriages, as well as cargo headed the opposite way, to be shipped from Klintebjerg. After the channel was constructed, the port lost its importance as a loading site.
Klintebjerg as a fjord port
While the port still served as a loading site, the town expanded to include a warehouse, which sadly burned down in 1966. Later, more businesses popped up: A vinegar factory, a depot, as well as a cleaning facility for sea shells collected by shell diggers in shallow sections of the fjord. Some shells were crushed to use in chicken feed, while some were burned and slaked to serve as whitening and mortar. A smaller export of chalk for the production of porcelain took place as well. Shell digging ended in the mid-1960s. At that point in time, the town had a feed exchange, grocery store and bakery.
During World War II, the town featured a chicory roastery as well. Today, the port is mainly used for pleasure crafts. From here, the sea route continues to Vigelsø.
Eel fishing has been of major importance to the people of Klintebjerg over the years. In fact, many families lived off eel fishing. The eel, which was a very common fish in the fjord until the 1980s, was caught using fykes, seine nets and eel spears. On summer evenings with still weather, people caught eels in the calm waters using lanterns, and in the winter, they speared them through holes in the ice.
A look out over the smooth fjord landscape calms the soul. The sky can be seen in its full majesty, and the only things breaking the silence are the flocks of birds migrating through the narrow strait separating Klintebjerg and Vigelsø – and perhaps a ship on its way to, or from, Odense Harbour.
The Odense Fjord is the largest fjord in Fyn; but it was even bigger in the past. Before the great dammings of the 1700s and 1800s, the waters of the fjord covered an area of 90 square kilometres, since reduced to about 60 square kilometres. The shallow fjord contained many islands (“ø” in Danish) that became part of the mainland as part of the reclamation. Place names such as Hasselø, Bågø, Lindø, Klinteø and Romsø tell us where they sit today. The bed of the fjord is a moraine sheet, formed by the ice age glacier that also created the Munkebo Bakke hill. The hill can be spotted here, from Klintebjerg, if you gaze north east.
Around the fjord are 13 larger and smaller islands. Vigelsø is by far the largest, but all are of key importance to local bird life, serving as nesting grounds or as a place for migrating birds to rest. With the exception of Vigelsø, all the islands are closed to the public during the nesting period from 1 April to 31 July.
Some will claim that if something out here pokes out of the otherwise flat Nordfyn plains, then it must be a burial mound or an old island from Odense Fjord. And that may not be completely off, as the damming formed lines on either side of Klintebjerg, bordering with the fjord in long, straight dikes.
The big push towards damming began as early as the late 1700s and was in full swing by the early 1800s. The forebear of the various damming projects north of Klintebjerg was Elias Møller from Østrupsgaard. By far his biggest project was the damming of the Egense Fjord – today known as Fjordmarken (the Fjord field).
One of Fyn’s most excellent birdwatching sites is the dammed, environmentally restored locations of Lammesø, Ølund and Firetalsstranden. Here, a mosaic landscape of shallow freshwater lakes, swampy fields and fine meadows has been created. The birds are the main attraction here. Grebes, ducks, swans and geese can be seen all year round. Waders such as avocets, sandpipers, ruffs and plovers also forage in the shallow waters, or rest here during high tide. Every day, the sea eagle stops by to seek out its prey. Then the large bird flocks take flight, and you get an impression of just how many birds live here. Marsh harriers and peregrine falcons also come by.
Did you know…
The area’s natural landscape is conserved by livestock, which keep it from being overgrown with shrubs and bushes.
Today, the area is open to the public on fixed paths, as well as the two bird towers at Firetalsstranden and the Lammesø dam. Here you can get up close to the bird life.