The cultural and natural heritage of Geopark West Jutland is strongly influenced by the landscape and its geological history. Some of the most immediate examples of this are the early settlement patterns along the Main Stationary Line where the early settlers found soil that was light enough for them to cultivate with their relatively primitive implements and yet contained enough clay for them to harvest a decent crop.
The North Sea, the Limfjord and other inner waters have changed dramatically since the ice melted away but have been a source of food and a shipping route with enormous importance for the development of the whole region and its people. The market towns Lemvig, Struer and Holstebro expanded considerably when the Harboøre-Agger isthmus was breached and the North Sea became accessible. Ship
ping however also faced many challenges and the story of the geopark is also the story of the Iron Coast with shipwreck disasters and the birth of the Danish National Sea Rescue Service.
The intangible heritage of the area such as "The spirit of West Jutland" has certainly been shaped by the harsh conditions along the coast and on the outwash plains and hill islands. For centuries the land south of the Main Stay Line was open and almost devoid of forests and most of it was covered by heath with meadows along the rivers, lakes and lagoons. The land was excellent for grazing and the raising and export of steers was a major source of income. It also gave local people an outlook when they travelled to the markets in the south.
Wind and water has shaped the landscape in many highly visible ways. If you look at a tree in West Jutland you will almost always be able to tell where West is. As sand drift became an increasing problem the great plantations of the region were planted with stretches of heath and dunes in between. The river valleys shaped by meltwater are also significant landscape elements and together with the many meadows, beaches, lagoons and underwater reefs and other sites the region as a whole is very rich in nature which can also be seen from the many Natura 2000-sites, nature and wildlife reserves and nature conservation areas.
All of the above has led to the identification of 48 sites of natural, cultural and intangible heritage interest that are in so many ways linked to the geological heritage.