Many miles of old hunting rides criss-cross Gribskov Forest, the Great Deer Park and Jægersborg Deer Park and Enclosure. Today, these rides are used by the many visitors to the area, but they were originally created by the absolutist King Christian V in the 1670s and 1680s.
He tamed the wild, inaccessible landscapes of North Zealand by establishing a complex system of hunting rides based on the latest discoveries in mathematics and geometry. These hunting rides allowed the King to hunt par force. This form of hunting may seem brutal seen through today’s eyes, but in the 1600s it was the height of fashion, not only in Denmark but in the whole of Europe.
For Christian V, par force hunting was a matter of self-glorification. He wanted to demonstrate that he was a powerful monarch who ruled not only over men but also over animals and the natural environment. This extensive system of rides was an enormous feat of construction, which demonstrated both impressive engineering and – not least – the king’s power and wealth.
The king played the most important role during the par force hunt. It was he who hosted the hunt, in which mounted hunters with hounds chased a selected stag for hours on end. And it was the king who ended the quarry’s life, concluding the chase by thrusting a spear or a short hunting sword into the deer’s heart.