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Hike to ancient mills in northwest Germany – Mühlensteig

Danny & Kalle

Hike to ancient mills in northwest Germany – Mühlensteig

Hiking Collection by Angelina Kuhlmann

5-9

days

3-5 h

/ day

64.7 mi

6,150 ft

5,775 ft

For centuries, mills were probably the most important machines in Germany. Powered by nature by wind, water or even horses, they enabled people to process grains, oil and much more. They were essential for grinding and drilling too. Industrialisation led to the disappearance of most of the mills in Germany. However, in one district in northwest Germany, a large number of historically important mills survived and have been maintained to this day. In the district of Minden-Lübbecke, which is also known as the mill district (Mühlenkreis), 42 restored wind, horse and water mills still stand. One of the most impressive mills is probably the ship mill in Minde, the only grindable ship mill in the whole of Germany.

Following the five stages of the official Mühlensteig, you can get to know these historical buildings set amongst the beautiful landscape of the Mühlenkreis. The route takes you to 13 impressive mills as it winds through lush green landscapes and the dense beech forests of the Wiehen and Weser mountains that are home to numerous protected animal species such as the eagle owl. The Mühlensteig runs 100 kilometres (62 miles) past the historic mills and through the Terra.vita Nature Park, Germany’s first UNESCO Nature and Geopark. At times, you walk parallel to the Wittekindsweg (komoot.de/collection/1121065), which is probably the best-known hiking trail in Westphalia.

During your mill Tour, you explore various nature reserves, unique geological history and other exciting highlights such as the Kaiser Wilhelm Monument and the Kleinenbremen Visitor Mine and Museum. To reach the ship mill in Minden, you can also travel part of the fourth stage on a ferry across the Weser River.

You can plan the stages of the Mühlensteig as individual day Tours or complete the whole trail in five days. Each stage destination has accommodation options. Officially, the trail is divided into four stages, but I present the long-distance trail in five in this Collection. A few mills that are located off the trail are worth seeing and with an extra day, you have plenty of time to visit them.

Along the trail, there is a great shuttle bus service that can take you back to your starting point from the destination. You should reserve in advance by calling the SRJ-Mühlenkreis Guest Service on 0571/8891900. Bad Holzhausen, the starting point, can be reached by train and there are plenty of parking spaces for those arriving by car.

It is also important to know that most mills are only open to visitors from April to October when they hold baking, grinding days and other events. It’s best to plan your Tour around these dates. On the open days, you can experience how life would have been at the mills up close and even often take part. You can find the exact times of these days on the websites of the respective mills. The website of the Minden-Lübbecke Mill Association is also a good source of information.

The mills have been the landmarks of Minden-Lübbecke for decades. They are the pride and joy of the locals and are looked after and maintained accordingly. Nestled amongst the region’s hills and nature, every single historic building takes you on a journey through time and is sure to amaze you.

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Mühlensteig

38.1 mi

3,800 ft

3,675 ft

Last updated: November 12, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Etappe 1: Gutswassermühle, Rossmühle & Husenmühle – Mühlensteig

    Difficult
    05:36
    12.4 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,450 ft
    1,000 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Your starting point on the first stage is the romantic health resort Bad Holzhausen on the northern slope of the Wiehengebirge. The first mill on your way through the mill circle is right in front of you: The Gutswassermühle Bad Holzhausen is a half-timbered building and is located next to the guest

    translated byView Original

    by Angelina Kuhlmann

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  • Difficult
    05:37
    12.3 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,400 ft
    1,500 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    If you got the mill fever after the first stage, then today is the right stage: Because there are four mills for you to discover. Two small detours into the northern and southern valley of the Wiehengebirge are planned for this.

    

    Use the first three kilometers to arrive: The Mühlensteig leads you along

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    by Angelina Kuhlmann

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  • Difficult
    05:29
    11.9 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,325 ft
    1,625 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    After you got to know four great mills yesterday, you are taking things a little easier today when it comes to mills. Today the trail runs over the Wittekindsberg, on which there are some exciting highlights for you to discover.

    

    In Bergkirchen you can have a look at the Wittekindsquelle in the morning

    translated byView Original

    by Angelina Kuhlmann

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  • Difficult
    06:09
    14.9 mi
    2.4 mph
    300 ft
    275 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You can approach the fourth stage of the Mühlensteig in different ways, because today you go to the ship mill in Minden, among other things. You can not only reach it on foot, you can also cover part of the way with a ferry across the Weser.

    

    After your overnight stay in Porta Westfalica, you get on the

    translated byView Original

    by Angelina Kuhlmann

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  • Difficult
    06:02
    13.1 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,675 ft
    1,375 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On the fifth stage it will be exciting again: In addition to a wonderful earth Dutchman in icebergs, you will visit the Hartings Mühle near the Kleinenbremen visitor mine today and end the Mühlensteig with a visit to the mine’s interactive museum.

    

    Today the Mühlensteig leads from Holzhausen through the

    translated byView Original

    by Angelina Kuhlmann

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    5
  • Distance
    64.7 mi
  • Duration
    28:53 h
  • Elevation
    6,150 ft5,775 ft

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Hike to ancient mills in northwest Germany – Mühlensteig

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