The Vecekrūgas Dune

Vecekrugo kopa
The Vecekrūgas Dune

5.89 km nuo Nidos centro

The large mounds have formed along the whole Curonian peninsula. Geographers call it the great dune ridge. The average height of the great dune ridge is 25-30 m, and the width is between 400 m and 1,200 m. The dune of “the Old Inn” – Vecekrugas (Wetzekrugo) – near Preila is the highest point of the dune ridge in the whole spit, reaching 67.2 m in height. Its name originates from the curonian word “vece,” meaning “old” and “kruogs,” meaning “inn.” The dune is overgrown by mountain pines. The pine has been started to be planted all over the spit in the middle of the 19th century. Its seedlings were transported from Denmark. Due to the well- developed pine root system that was located in the upper soil layers, running dunes’ sand was reinforced. The Vecekrūgas Dune is one of the most illustrative examples of sand’s reinforcement. The formation process of the great dune ridge began in the 16th-17th centuries, when massive deforestation destroyed the natural barrier, and sand started moving again. Due to the wind, the sand began moving from the sea to the east, burying trees, houses and even entire villages on its way. Faced with the inevitable death by the end of the 18th century, the local inhabitants started to correct their mistakes. Complex works of the dune reinforcement and afforestation started. First of all, the dunes were reinforced by mechanical barriers, such as 30-40 cm long branches or reed fences, which were arranged along and perpendicular to the prevailing winds (in squares). Later, those areas were used for planting grasses and trees, mostly the mountain pine. The lagoon’s marl and sludge were used to fertilise the sandy soil. The mountain pines and deciduous forests were planted on the dune’s foothills and valleys. Visitors can easily reach the Vecekrūgas Dune from both sides: from the main road Nida – Smiltynė and the bicycle path connecting Preila and Nida. A scenic viewpoint has been set up on the top of the dune.