The landscape on Dybbøl Banke varies between grassland, forest and cultivated fields. Sheep and cattle graze around the redoubts and this helps preserve the characteristic grasslands with rare herbs. The undisturbed forest along the coast is home to many species of plants and animals. The state-owned farmland has been run organically since 1997, growing grass or crops.
Rare weeds from the past
Relics of earlier agriculture still crop up as field weeds which we no longer see today. For example there is the rare sickleweed with its white flowers and sharp, jagged leaves at the German Redoubt 12. The plant probably arrived here in olden times with a seed mix which had not been sorted as thoroughly as modern mixes.
In good years, organic farming of the area allows for a multitude of old field flowers such as corn poppies, mérat and cornflowers. The blood-red corn poppies could symbolise the bloodshed during the battles in 1864.
Along the edges of ditches grow herbs such as common restharrow, knapweed, wild teasel and chicory. Wild teasel was once grown in large amounts as its dried flowers were used to tease wool before it could be spun. Chicory has been used to dilute or substitute expensive coffee.
Wild forests with walnuts
The forest and scrub along the coast by the Gendarmsti have their own unique identity. The steep slopes here regularly cause landslides, and as time passes these become overgrown with self-sown trees and bushes. The forest looks after itself as an undisturbed forest.
The descendents of trees from private gardens in Sønderborg can be found here. Walnuts grow at several paces on the slopes, and at other places cherry trees and elm. Seeds are brought here by birds or by the wind. On the forest floor there are herbs such as clover, creeping cinquefoil and in some places carline thistle. The rare and beautiful great horsetail, which only grows along the eastern Jutland coast in Denmark, can also be found here.
Agriculture on Dybbøl
Danish Nature Agency farms 145 hectares on Dybbøl Banke. The whole area is farmed organically. Corn is grown on half of the area, while the other half is grass. Some of the grass is harvested and some is grazed by cows and sheep.