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Hidden Narratives of Nature
I hope you like this snapshot of a walk in nature on the island, but let me explain more about what you see here since some photos are better understood with a bit of historical context, and this photo is an example.
I took it close to home, in an area that used to be part of the inland dunes but is so far inland that it now feels more like fields in a forested area than the inland dunes. If you would walk a bit more than an hour from the beach to this spot, you would first have to cross the high and sandy coastal dunes and then the planted forest I mentioned in my recent video. Next, you would cross the inland dunes, the woods on the castle grounds that are mostly closed to the public, and only then would you arrive in this last remnant of the inland dunes.
The dunes and beach ridges were the earliest inhabited areas along the coast. In addition to fishing, the inhabitants depended on the poor sandy soil for food supply. From the 13th century, a unique agricultural system developed in the Zeeland and South Holland coast's dune areas. Small fields were laid out in the inner dunes, fertilized with the manure of the cattle, which also grazed the dunes. Rye, lupine, and buckwheat were grown here.
Dune walls were constructed to separate the fields. These protected the areas against the cattle and against the strong wind and the drifting sand. Still, it often happened that the fields were covered with dune sand. The farmer then had to push the sand off again, and this ended up on the ramparts. Later, the ramparts were also planted with trees, including oaks and elms. Due to the drifting sand, the fields were often covered by sand; the areas are now under the "new" dunes in many places.
Now there is no longer any farming in this area, but the dune walls are often still clearly visible; there are still about 50 km left. These are now protected because particular vegetation has developed on the ramparts; they also provide protection for many animals.
Look again at the photo; you will see so much more than you saw just a few minutes ago. History is like beauty; you can find it everywhere. You don't have to search for it; you only have to be open to recognize and appreciate it.