A special circular hiking trail winds peacefully through the Wiehen Hills near Osnabrück. It guides you along streams, over hills with fantastic views and to historic buildings that have defined northeastern Germany – mills. To this day, many volunteers in the Osnabrück district are committed to preserving the numerous water and windmills. These fascinating buildings carry the stories of the past into the present day. On the Mühlenweg (Mill Way), you can explore nine of them on foot either on day trips or by hiking the whole five stages of the route in one go.
The Mill Way stretches over 110 kilometres (68 miles) through the cultural and historical landscape of the Wiehen Hills around the municipality of Wallenhorst. The special mill buildings have shaped the life of communities of the Osnabrück region for hundreds of years. Hiking the Mill Way helps you to get to know the people and villages along the route. Mills are not the only buildings that take you back to days gone by. Other, sometimes ancient, witnesses of history appear in the forest more than once such as the site of the famous Varus Battle, where you can visit the impressive open-air museum.
In the unspoilt nature of the Wiehen Hills, you can also simply relax and unwind. Time and again, you come across cosy rest areas, restaurants and cafés where you can meet other hikers for a chat. When you're ready, simply dive back into the vast forests of the Wiehen Hills, and enjoy the peaceful trails which are rarely busy.
You can hike the five stages of the trail as one-day Tours or pack your hiking rucksack and set off on a five-day adventure. At the end of each stage, there is a place to stay and places to grab a bite to eat.
If you plan to hike the Mill Way continuously, you can travel by train to Osnabrück and catch a bus from the station to the starting point in Wallenhorst, which is just a few kilometres away. Buses 584 and 14 will take you there. Alternatively, you can leave your car in Wallenhorst for the duration of your hike, as the Mill Way is circular.
If you walk one of the stages as a day trip, research the arrival and departure options before you set off. There are bus connections to Osnabrück or Bramsche from every stage beginning and end. You can find out about the bus times at fahrplan.vos.info. This way you are always on the safe side at the end of your hike.
It is also worth taking a look at the websites of the individual mill associations. On special mill days, most mills are in operation again. You can learn about baking and mill history and there is often a market and other activities too. Some mills such as the one of Venner Museum Island (Venner Museumsinsel) are also open on other days too.
Take a close look at the routes before you start so that you always have enough snacks and water with you. On some stretches, you don’t have the chance to stop for refreshments or to buy food for several kilometres.
On the Mill Way, you hike through an impressive world of plants and forests in the TERRA.vita Nature and Geopark, roam through lush meadows, climb over babbling brooks and listen to the diverse birdsong around you. You are far away from any main tourist hike trails and never far from the next impressive historic mill.
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