Less than 500 metres from the bustling centre of Randers lies Vorup Enge, 119 hectares of water meadows, bordering on the Gudenå river and home to some of Denmark's most unusual species, including the brilliantly-coloured kingfisher, the grass snake with its characteristic yellow spots on its neck, and the odder - previously threatened with extinction.
The area was restored to its natural status as water meadows in 2003, since when we have facilitated public access, setting up information boards, bird observation towers and built footpaths in partnership with the local authority and Aage V. Jensen Naturfond, a charitable foundation. During the summer, the meadows are grazed by ancient Danish livestock species. The first wild European bison seen in Denmark for hundreds of years were released in the area in 2010, since when the herd has grown considerably!
European bison on Vorup Water Meadows
Fancy a gentle walk with something special to see? There's a herd of European bison just a short walk from the entrance to Randers Regnskov. When facing the main entrance, go left and follow the footpath around the corner, down the steps and along the river to the railway bridge. Cross the railway bridge using the footbridge running along its side and follow the path to the bison (see map).
Alternatively, you can drive there and park near the bison stables at Fuglsangsvej 26, Randers C, or walk from the car park at motorway exit no. 40 on the E45 (Randers C).
Download the map as a PDF file and keep it handy.
Visit the water meadows all year round - for free!
Rewilding in Vorup Enge
Randers Regnskov partnered with the Aage V. Jensen Naturfond in 2014 to make the water meadows on the other side of the river self-supporting by re-introducing grazing livestock not seen in Denmark in perhaps a hundred years - a concept called "rewilding".
Bison care for the environment
The European bison was once a common sight throughout Europe, but that was many years ago. By the early 1900s, the only wild herds left were confined to the Bialoweza forest in Poland and the Caucasus mountains in Russia. WWI put an end to the Polish herd, and the Caucasian herd followed shortly afterwards.
Just 56 examples survived in captivity, but the small herd you can see now has been successfully bred from the survivors. An international breeding programme run by zoos has brought the number of bison up to over 3,000, and rewilding programmes have established sustainable herds in protected areas in Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine and Russia.
Extinct cattle on our water meadows
The black and white Jutland dairy cow became officially extinct in 1999, but what the officials didn't know was that there were still one or two alive - and we brought a few of them here. Even though they have a lower milk yield than other species, their milk and meat are very tasty. They are also very hardy and highly efficient guardians of nature, and their genetic variation compared to conventional cattle can help ensure the food resources of the future.