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
Hiking trails of more than 3,700 kilometers! The Top Trails are characteristic, unique and fascinating. And with all their similarities, yet all different. Each of the 12 trails has its own exciting story, each has its own special character. No one is like the other. No matter which path you choose, you will find your adventure! Take a look at our Collections: komoot.de/user/toptrailsofgermany/collections
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 hustle and bustle of the big city behind and start walking at a steady pace.The first stage awaits you with a terrific start. Over a distance of 26 kilometers, around 300 meters of altitude are distributed in the ascent. But the rolling hills and the comfortable underground of the heathland make it easy for you.Over the extensive Fischbeker Heide you go to the picturesque heath village of Langenrehm, where old oaks stand on the small village green in the middle of the former farm buildings.Past the Langenrehm telecommunications tower, which protrudes from the landscape like a foreign body, you go under the Autobahn 261 past the small town of Nenndorf to Autobahn 1. After you have crossed the A1 on a bridge, you reach the village of Dibbersen.In both Nenndorf and Dibbersen you can take a break in one of the cafés or restaurants and stock up on supplies before continuing your hike. After Dibbersen, the route continues through the picturesque heathland to today's stage destination Buchholz in the northern heath.
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 forest behind and have a clear view of the pristine heathland. The heather stretches far in front of you, only a few birch trees, juniper bushes and young pines protrude from it.It goes through this dreamlike landscape over the summit of the Pferdekops into the Büsenbachtal. Here you can also make a detour to Café Schafstall, which is around 800 meters from Heidschnuckenweg. If you carry your own provisions with you, there are numerous benches along the way to take a break.At the stage destination in Handeloh you can finally rest for the next day. If you don't want to run all the stages, thanks to the railway connection you can end or start your tour perfectly in Handeloh.
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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 Weseler Hexenhaus, is the Hillmers Hoff guesthouse, where you can take a break at the weekend in their restaurant.After you have left Wesel, you go through a small forest onto the wide landscape of the Weseler Heide. On your way to the stage destination you climb the 132 meter high Hingstberg and hike from there to the cozy Undeloh with its venerable brick church.
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-Bode-Weg. The Heidepastor lived here around 120 years ago and was a co-founder of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve Association.You can reach the car-free Heidedorf Wilsede via extensive heather areas. In addition to several cafés and restaurants, Dat Ole Hus awaits you for a leisurely rest. In the lovingly restored Heidemuseum, you can find out how the Heidjer used to live.Over the Wilseder Berg, which rewards you with a great view, it goes to the stage destination Niederhaverbeck.
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.At Behringen it goes under a motorway again. In view of the lovely landscape that awaits you behind it, that can hardly bother you.Shortly before your destination in Bispingen, the hiking trail leads you through the unique landscape of Borsteler Schweiz. The deep valleys and hollows with their steep slopes are a good contrast to the otherwise soft heathland.In addition to various accommodations, you will also find supermarkets in Bispingen to stock up on your supplies for the next few days.
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 can also climb the low Kreuzberg, from which you can already see the rides of the Heidepark Soltaus.Finally, the hiking trail also leads directly in front of the large gates of the amusement park before you follow it back into the forest. The path through the forest finally meanders along the edge of the Böhme to the Böhmepark in today's stage destination Soltau.Since there are no places to stop for refreshments on this tour, it is best to get enough provisions in the Bispinger supermarkets before you start.
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.Along the edge of the forest, your hike leads over wide fields. After you have crossed the A7 on a bridge, you will come to a narrow heathland and after a cozy wooded area you will reach the river Aue.Before your stage destination in Wietzendorf, the river has formed various moors in its broad valley. The Heidschnuckenweg leads you along the Wittenmoor and the Katzenmoor, both of which stand out with their special flora.Even on the seventh stage there is neither a café nor a restaurant. The best thing to do is to top up your supplies in Soltau, then you can easily get to the stage destination in Wietzendorf.
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.On this stage, the comfortable hiking trail also leads you past the monument to the heath poet Hermann Löns. Hermann Löns, who grew up in the city and worked as a journalist there, fell in love with the heathland throughout his life. He spent every free minute here, sometimes for several weeks in a simple dwelling.Near the monument you will also find the Lönskiosk at the hiking car park, where you can buy drinks. From the monument, you continue at the edge of the forest to the romantic heath village Müden, today's stage destination.
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 left the river, you will soon reach the planned town of Faßberg. The small town was planned directly on the drawing board as a place of residence for the employees of the air base in the 1930s and built in one piece. You can still see the regular structure of the buildings and streets today.
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 landscape and follow the hiking trail through the forest to the Haußelberg.The southern heath is less visited by hikers than the more northerly heathland, so you can enjoy the unique tranquility in this peaceful landscape alone.Shortly before your stage destination, you leave the Heidschnuckenweg on the Neuoher Heide to get to your stage destination, the Gasthaus Heidehexe.The Südheide is less touristically developed than the Nordheide, so there is no stop on today's tour. If you have your provisions with you, you have countless opportunities to take a break in the beautiful landscape in silence and solitude.
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 land. Large areas of the nutrient-poor heather were then afforested with undemanding and fast-growing pines. The large pine forests characterize many areas outside of the nature reserve today, but individual heather areas are lovingly cherished and cared for to this day. Above all, support is sought from the original heather inhabitants. In the meantime, numerous herds of heather sheep roam the landscape again.About halfway you pass the village of Lutterloh and arrive at the small Lutterloher Heide. The path leads you through a light forest before you reach your stage destination Weesen. In Weesen you can admire various historical buildings. The well-preserved stairwells are a specialty of the village. The small, often lovingly designed wooden houses used to be used to store goods. They stood at a distance from the house so that the stored goods were not lost in a fire.
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. The small valley offers you a special view of untouched heathland. We continue on quiet and lonely forest paths to the stage destination, the large Denningshof.You should also provide yourself with provisions on the twelfth stage. The path leads through a lonely and sparsely populated landscape, so you will only find a cozy refreshment stop at the stage destination.
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 forest paths, through natural mixed forests and through reforested pine forests.On the last kilometers the forest opens and you follow the path over wide fields and meadows. The Heidschnuckenweg runs through the small villages of Scheuen and Groß Hehlen until you finally reach Celle. Your last steps lead along the green banks of the Aller and after your hike through the unspoilt heathland, Celle awaits you with its picturesque half-timbered old town. The old houses and narrow streets are the perfect end to your hike.