Beautiful and strong – dwarf shrub heath

The name Hedeby originates from the Old Norse words for heath „heiðr“ and dwelling „býr“. Heather stands were created by removing the vegetation and top soil in a process known as “Plaggen” and by extensive grazing. In the surroundings of the Danevirke and Hedeby, forest clearance and the exploitation of timber trees for building contributed to the spread of heathland. Plaggen (heath turf cut using a mattock) was used during the construction of the Danevirke fortifications as an outer covering and to increase the height of the earth bank. This is still recognisable today on the rear side of the embankment of the connecting wall. Heaths covered ca. 17% of the Schleswig-Holstein landscape in 1850. Since then they have shrunk in size and now cover less than 0.5% of the land area.