N18 Kjærgaard Mølle
In addition to the history of Kjærgaard Mølle (watermill) this site has a dramatic geological history as Kilen tunnel valley, and was also an important settlement in the younger Stone Age with ancient roads and sunken roads.
There is a Nature School and the area has been administered in a successful cooperation between Lemvig and Struer municipalities, Nørre Nissum Seminarium (College) and the West Jutland Nature Agency since 1977.
Photo:Holstebro Museum - Lis Helles Olesen
Gateway to the Souls of the Dead
During the last ice age the Main Stationary Line was located to the southwest and melt water flowing in the Kilen tunnel valley was forced southwards and upwards to emerge at 50 m above present sea level at Kobbelhøje. People settled here during the younger Stone Age and aerial photographs have revealed two settlements on a small “nose” located south of the stream Bredkjær Bæk. The settlements were enclosed by wooden palisades and ditches that cut them off from the outside world. Unlike the situation elsewhere, the ditches here did not contain human bones. The ditches usually functioned as temporary burial sites, a holy place that was reserved for the souls of the dead in a burial culture.
The Bronze Age and the Ancient Road
The many barrows on the plateau west and southwest of Kærgaard mill mark the route of the Ancient Road that extends from Dybe near the west coast and follows the MSL. Its route crosses the watercourse at Bredkjær Bæk and then further east via Fousing and Ølby towards Viborg. The discovery of the remains of old oak poles along the stream indicates that there used to be a bridge here. The landscape contains several deep wheel tracks and sunken roads. The north-south route used for driving steers from the north via Oddesund crossed the Ancient Road here on its way south to the large markets for cattle.
The History of the Watermill
The watermill at Kjærgaard was one of 7 that belonged to the Benedictine nunnery at lake Stubber sø until 1547. This important mill with an overshoot water supply serviced a large area and was used by farmers from as far away as Thyholm. In the mid 1700s the mill came into communal ownership and with two new grinders and a mill for the production of oatmeal it entered a new thriving period. At the end of the 1800s, the watermill was joined by a grocers shop, an inn, a smithy and a bakery. In 1913 the watermill building was destroyed by fire. The shortage of electricity in World War I meant that a small turbine building was constructed which supplied electricity to Fousing village until World War II. The turbine building can still be seen near a residential house from 1871. This house is now occupied by the leader of the Nature School.
Relationship to the Aspiring Geopark
Kjærgaard Mølle is expected to become an important location for geopark communication. A system of paths has been established as well as a shelter, barbeque facilities and, not least, a playing place for children. The Nature School is a splendid location for communication. The West Jutland Nature Agency will continue to coordinate these activities in cooperation with Geopark West Jutland.