The marshland at the southern tip of Tåsinge is Funen's largest salt marsh with small coastal lakes and several small tidal channels. The area was protected in 1983 and today boasts a rich plant and animal life.
Upon arrival, you can park at the parking lot located on Monnetvej, where there is also a path leading into the area. Visitors are allowed to roam freely along the coast and across the salt marsh, although there are restrictions from March 15th to July 1st due to bird nesting season.
What to experience at Monnet
Monnet is particularly exciting for bird enthusiasts, and there is access to a bird hide via a path into the area. The hide is elevated approximately 1.5 meters above sea level, providing a good vantage point over the flat landscape. From the hide, you can follow the coast to Vårø Knude, located at the southernmost point. From the knoll, there is an outstanding view over large parts of the South Funen Archipelago.
Vårø Knude is eight meters high and was once a small independent island that served as a kind of 'anchor point' during the formation of Monnet. Tides and storms have deposited clay and silt as well as gravel and sand, gradually making the water area more dry than wet. Since then, vegetation has further retained the organic content of seawater. Thus, the large salt marsh has been created quite differently from the rest of the archipelago south of Funen. Even today, the sea erodes Vårø Knude, contributing materials to the ongoing expansion of Monnet.
During the bird nesting period when Monnet is closed, visitors can get a fine view of the entire area from the end of Søby Strandvej without disturbing wildlife.
Geological perspectives at Monnet
Monnet is an ancient cultural landscape, and the salt marshes have never been drained or plowed. For centuries, the area has been used for communal grazing by the farms in Vårø Bylaug, which also own the area. It was probably not fun for the milkmaids of the past to rush around with buckets when milking the cows. Today, grazing is carried out with cows, sheep, and horses as part of the nature conservation necessary for preserving the unique flora and fauna.
A beautiful stone dyke that once divided Monnet into an inner and an outer part was partially torn down in 1960 and sold as building material for the Siø dam.
The Ice Age landscape in the southernmost part of Tåsinge consists of a low-lying, level moraine plain. Both the landscape and the surface layers of moraine clay are attributed to the Baltic Ice Stream, which slid over the area from the southeast 17-18,000 years ago.
At the outermost point of Monnet lies the flat-topped, 8-meter-high Vårø Knude as a small promontory. The hill has an elongated shape in the southeast-northwest direction, reflecting the direction of movement of the last ice streams in the Weichselian Ice Age. Vårø Knude consists mostly of thick layers of brownish, sandy moraine clay, which emerge in the 6-meter-high cliff. To the east, inclined layers of alternating moraine clay, meltwater sand, and gravel can be seen.
The central part of Monnet is slightly higher than the surrounding meadows. Here, moraine clay is visible in the circular watering holes, indicating that the 'core' of Monnet consists of deposits from the Ice Age. Two small moraine knolls can also be found on Monnet, although they are almost invisible in the terrain. The large stones along the coasts have been washed free of ice age layers by the waves of the sea over time.
Monnet is part of the South Funen Archipelago Geopark
In 2018, Svendborg, Faaborg-Midtfyn, Langeland, and Ærø decided to establish the South Funen Archipelago Geopark with the aim of being designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark. The purpose of the geopark is to create and preserve an area that accommodates both humans and nature.
A UNESCO Global Geopark should bring the geology, nature, and cultural history of an area into play and convey a message that humans are part of life on Earth. That we all depend on the Earth's resources, are affected by climate change, and are responsible for sustainable development.
The South Funen Archipelago Geopark tells the story of a dramatic sea-level rise in Southern Funen and the islands. A sea-level rise that shaped a very special nature, which for the last few 10,000 years has formed the basis for the area's existence and cultural identity. It is the story of how the landscape and archipelago continue to change and define how we as humans live today. And the South Funen Archipelago Geopark is primarily about understanding how, through sustainable development, we can continue to protect our special geological, biological, and cultural heritage.