Helnæs Mølle and the area around the mill
Helnæs Mølle stands as a landmark of old West Funen farming culture and is a beautiful starting point for those who want to experience West Funen’s nature, the beach, the fjord, the hills, birds and wildlife, and partly for an insight into the West Funen culture country, the farms, the houses, the cultivated fields and meadows and the life that unfolds here. The nature opportunities are many and can easily support recurring holiday stays.
The grounds of the mill itself are particularly beautiful. In the large grassy slope facing the fjord there are two deep canyons. In the spring and throughout the summer, there are a multitude of flowers here. At times the slope is yellow with cowslip and buttercups. The slope and foreshore are one of the last light-open areas towards the fjord side. This is because it has always been grazed. The cattle have kept bushes and small trees down. On both sides of the mill slope, the land has long since become overgrown with bushes, but once they were also open and were grazed by animals.
The view over the fjord
From the top of the slope, you have a view of the fjord, as from the mill hat. To the south lie the islands of Illumø, Horsehoved and Vigø. Behind them Horneland. On the other coast you can see the forests at Skovkrogen, Løgismose and Damsbo. Far away in a southeasterly direction, the silhouette of Svanninge Bakker can be seen.
Roads have always led to the beach through the two deep gorges of the slope. Very little is known about the old stone-set bridge below the gorges. The stone bridge is set with heavy boulders in the outer frame and a filling in the middle of smaller stones. This could indicate that carts have been driven or pushed onto it. But we know as little about what has been shipped or unloaded as when.
A couple of fields belongs to the mill at Vesterhave facing “Maden”. Vesterhave itself consists of many small plots of land, surrounded by ancient heavy stone dykes and living fences. Countless mosses and lichens in all colors from green to yellow, gray and black thrive on the stones of the dykes. Down in the middle of the small plots of land leads a deep and wide fenced road, so wide that it may have once been a ‘farm road’ on which the cattle were driven to and from grazing on “Maden”.
“Maden” is a large meadow area, which today is partly fenced in and kept drained, but in the past high water stood in the meadows in the winter. During the great storm of 1872, the whole of “Maden” was a seething sea. The water stood right up to the houses in Helnæs City and a farm in the town still has marks in the wall that show how high the water level was. “Maden”, which is owned by the Danish Forest and Nature Agency, is a haunt for thousands of birds. Wading birds, seagulls, ducks and many small birds, which like moist areas, breed here.
The headland at Helnæs
If you go for a walk on the headland, there is a lot to see. On the way out towards the lighthouse and Lindhoved are old stone graves from the Stone Age, and the lighthouse itself is also worth a visit. Forests are found along the coast in the southeast and in Hegnedskov between the mill and Vesterhave. Bobanken and “The Tail of Helnæs” form a huge ridge that tells something about the ice age and the natural forces that created the land.
Helnæs town is built in two characteristic areas, a road town that stretches from the mill down to the church, and a large open circle of farms and houses. Helnæsgård, furthest south in the farm circle, is perhaps the headland’s old manor or castle. From the beach on the south-east corner, fishing has been carried out for a long time. Here is the boat area, and here fishing dinghies and quays were anchored. There is still some bottom net fishing here.