Skærsbrokær (the Water Meadow)
The low and wooded areas on the opposite side of Klostervej and Skærsåvej are called Skiers Bro Kier if you look at the enclosure map of the village of Siim from 1783 – today we say Skærsbrokær.
Through the water meadow runs the stream Skærså, linking lake Vessø with the river Gudenå. The name Skærsbrokær probably refers to the bridge leading Klostervej across Skærså in the middle of the pond.
In the Viking Age there was also a bridge crossing the river Gudenå opposite Holmens Camping. However, the bridge was flooded when Øm Monastery constructed Siimgårds Mill, which was probably was located where the tourist boats moor today in Ry harbour.
The dam at the mill caused the water level further up the river Gudenåen to rise, so it must have been the case that Skærsbrokær then became even wetter.
On the enclosure map, you can see that late in the 18th century, Skærsbrokær was an open meadow area with only sparse tree cover. Before the enclosures took place, the water meadow was common land for the farmers in Siim village, but the enclosure meant that it was divided into large lots and split among 4-5 farms.
On later maps, you can see that in more recent times the area has been overgrown – probably because the farmers stopped driving cattle to pasture at the water meadow. As Ry station town grew, many farms were dismantled – and finally there were no animals to drive to grass or perhaps it did not pay to do.
But when a water meadow is overgrown, rare flowers, herbs and insects are threatened, and it is the aim of Skanderborg Municipality to save the flora and fauna of Skærsbrokær.
In fact, a large part of the water meadow is now laid out as Natura 2000 habitat. Natura 2000 is the name of a network of protected natural sites in the European Union. Here you must preserve and protect nature, wildlife and plants which are rare or endangered in European countries.
Skærsbrokær is part of a large Natura 2000 habitat of almost 4,500 hectares. Among other things it comprises lake Salten Langsø, lake Mossø and part of the river Gudenå.