The Heidschnuckenweg has been named after a small and robust sheep: the German Grey Heath was popular among the shepherds of Northern Germany for centuries because the small grey herd animal was also satisfied with the poor conditions of its nutrient-poor soils. Today the small sheep guides you on the Heidschnuckenweg in 13 daily stages from the southernmost outskirts of Hamburg via the extensive heathland areas to the picturesque half-timbered town of Celle. Over the 223-kilometer (142-mile) long hike, the lovely hilly landscape offers but a small amount of elevation gain. Thanks to the low growth of the typical heather plants, you can enjoy magnificent panoramas over and over again.
For a long time, herds of Grey Heath wandered through the northern German hillside landscape, eating the young shoots of trees and thinning out the pine and beech forests slowly but steadily. So they formed the heath, this unique natural environment shaped by its sand dunes, birches, juniper bushes and above all by the purple flowering heather. The heath has inspired painters, poets and writers and has always attracted nature lovers. At the end of the 20th century, many heathland areas became wooded when heath farming had become unprofitable. But due to its beauty, the Lüneburger Heide was declared one of the first nature reserves in Germany in 1921. Here the unique landscape is cared for and cherished until today, with the Grey Heath once more roaming the region as its designated caretakers.
The footpath is well signposted with a white "H" on a black background and many accommodations along the way even offer inexpensive luggage transfers. More infos regarding the luggage transfer can be found here: heidschnuckenweg.de/wandern_ohne_gepaeck
Thanks to the Heidebahn, which connects Hamburg with Hanover across the Lüneburger Heide, you will find train stations in several destinations – and the towns and villages in between these train stations are connected by the Heideshuttle busses. So you can easily adjust the length of your hike to your needs. You can find the timetables here: lueneburger-heide.de/natur/artikel/876/heide-shuttle-kostenloser-bus-mit-fahrradanhaenger.html
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Last updated: December 13, 2021
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
Your hike begins on the outskirts of the city in the southwest of Hamburg. From the Fischbeker Heuweg bus stop, head south through low-built streets.
When the road ends, the heather is right in front of you. Rolling hills, low forests, and soft heather stretch out before you. Immediately you leave the…
The second stage begins in Buchholz in the Nordheide and the Heidschnuckenweg leads you into a loose mixed forest. You follow the course of the Heidebahn tracks and then the path takes you into the famous Hell Gorge.
You follow the course of the valley and then climb the Brunsberg. There you leave the…
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On your third stage, you go into the extensive Lüneburg Heath nature reserve.
First you follow the natural course of the Seeve through enchanted forests, along moors and dense ferns.
After you have left the Seeve behind you, it goes to the rustic village of Wesel. In the center of the village, across from…
The fourth stage spoils you all day long with fantastic views and lovely landscapes.
Starting from Undeloh, the Heidschnuckenweg leads you over slightly hilly heathland and through the Radenbachtal. Over narrow wooden walkways you follow the path over the boggy valley of the stream and turn onto the Pastor…
On the fifth day, the Heidschnuckenweg takes you out of the Lüneburg Heath nature reserve and to Borsteler Schweiz.
First it goes on over picturesque heathland and over soft sand dunes. Directly on the way is one of the numerous historical sheep stables, some of which are still used by Heidschnucken today…
On the sixth day you follow the course of the Luhe on the Heidschnuckenweg, which is only a narrow stream here. The path runs through dense forest before you walk under the highway again.
On the other side, the path runs along the edge of the forest between heathland and wide fields. If you like, you…
You start your seventh stage in Soltau and leave the city in a south-east direction. The surrounding landscape is slowly changing. The further you leave the Lüneburg Heath nature reserve behind you, the smaller the unique heather areas become. In their place are pastures, fields and forests.
The eighth stage of the Heidschnuckenweg takes you through quiet, deserted landscapes, past forests and across extensive fields.
Shortly after Wietzendorf you can find a small heathland on the Häteler Berg. It is lovingly cared for by the residents so that the pines and bushes do not spread on it.
The ninth stage is a real pleasure stage. Due to the clear route, you have enough time to spend a little more time between the rustic half-timbered buildings of Müden.
Past the picturesque Heidesee to the course of the Örtze river, which meanders through the forest in its natural state.
After you have…
Starting from Faßberg you will soon reach the little heath village of Schmarbeck on the tenth stage of the Heidschnuckenweg. You pass the old courtyards and feel transported to other times.
We continue across fields and meadows to the juniper forest, a large heather area. You enjoy the view of the open…
After your night at the Heidehexe, you will hike comfortably over the extensive Oberoher Heide back to the Heidschnuckenweg. After you have crossed the heather, it goes into an extensive pine forest.
When heathland farming became unprofitable at the end of the 20th century, many of the farmers sold their…
After your relaxing break in Weesen, you hike along the edge of the forest to the Misselhorn Heath. The heather lies like a long strip from east to west, framed between dense pine forests and you walk comfortably over the sandy ground.
After a short stretch of forest, the view of the Tiefental opens up…
Your last stage starts at the Dehningshof. As you wander through the vast forests, you can clearly see how the landscape has changed. On the challenging last 30 kilometers of your hike you will only find small and few heathland landscapes.
Most of the time, the Heidschnuckenweg takes you over comfortable…
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