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. 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 Heidschnuckenweg leads 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 230-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.
The footpath is well signposted with a white "H" on a black background and many accommodations along the way even offer inexpensive luggage transfers. Thanks to the Heidebahn, which connects Hamburg with Hanover across the Lüneburger Heide, you will find train stations in several destinations. So you can easily adjust the length of your hike to your needs.
On the outermost outskirts in the southwest of Hamburg begins your hike. By low-built roads it goes from the bus stop Fischbeker Heuweg in the south.When the road ends, the heather is right in front of you. Gentle hills, low forests and soft heather stretch in front of you. Immediately you will leave behind any big city bustle and walk away with a steady step.The first stage awaits you with a grandiose kick-off. On a distance of 26 kilometers, about 300 vertical meters are distributed in the ascent. But the rolling hills and the comfortable subsoil of the heathland make it easy for you.The extensive Fischbeker Heide leads to the picturesque heath village Langenrehm, where old oak trees stand on the small village green in the middle of the former farm buildings.Passing the telecommunications tower Langenrehm, which protrudes like a foreign body out of the landscape, it goes under the highway 261 past the small town Nenndorf to the highway 1. After you have crossed the A1 on a bridge, you reach the village Dibbersen.Both in Nenndorf and in Dibbersen, you can take a break in one of the cafés or restaurants and stock up on your next move. After Dibbersen we continue through the picturesque heathland to today's stage destination Buchholz in the northern heath.
The second stage begins in Buchholz in the North Heath and the Heidschnuckenweg leads you first into a loose mixed forest. You follow the course of the Heidebahn tracks and then the path takes you to the famous Hell Canyon.You follow the course of the valley and then climb the Brunsberg. There you leave the forest behind you and have a clear view of the primeval heathland. The heath stretches out in front of you, only scattered birches, juniper bushes and young pines stand out from it.Through this beautiful landscape, it goes over the summit of the horse's head into Büsenbachtal. Here you can also make a detour to Café Schafstall, which is located about 800 meters from the Heidschnuckenweg. If you carry your own food with you, there are plenty of benches along the way to take a break.At the finish in Handeloh you can finally rest for the next day. If you do not want to run all the stages, thanks to the railway connection you can perfectly finish or start your tour in Handeloh.
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On your third stage, you enter the extensive nature reserve Lüneburg Heath.First, you follow the unspoiled course of the Seeve through enchanted forests, along bogs and dense fern.After you have left the Seeve behind you, it goes into the quaint village Wesel. In the middle of the village, opposite the Weseler Hexenhaus, is the Pension Hillmers Hoff, where you can take a break at the weekend's restaurant.After you have left Wesel, it goes through a small forest on the wide landscape of the Weseler Heide. On your way to the final destination, you will climb over the 132-meter-high Hingstberg and hike from there to the cozy Undeloh with its venerable brick church.
The fourth stage spoils you throughout the day with beautiful views and lovely landscapes.Starting from Undeloh the Heidschnuckenweg leads you over slightly hilly heath landscape and through the Radenbachtal. Follow the path over narrow bogs over the boggy lowland of the creek and turn off onto the Pastor Bode path. The Heidepastor lived here about 120 years ago and was co-founder of the association Lüneburg Heath Nature Park.You can reach the car-free heath village Wilsede via extensive heathland. In addition to several cafés and restaurants, Dat Ole Hus awaits you for a leisurely break. In the lovingly restored Heidemuseum you can find out about how the Heidjians used to live.About the Wilseder mountain, which rewards you once again with a great view, it goes to the stage destination Niederhaverbeck.
On the fifth day the Heidschnuckenweg leads you out of the nature reserve Lüneburger Heide and up to the Borsteler Switzerland.First, we continue on picturesque heathland and soft sand dunes. Directly on the way is one of the many historic sheepfolds, in which even today the Heidschnucken spend the night.At Behringen it goes under another highway. Given the lovely landscape that awaits you, it can hardly bother you.Shortly before your destination in Bispingen the trail leads you through the unique landscape of Borstel Switzerland. The deep valleys and hills with their steep slopes are a good contrast to the otherwise soft heathland.In addition to various accommodations, Bispingen also has supermarkets to stock up on 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 again hike under the highway.On the other side, the trail 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 Soltau.Finally, the trail leads you right in front of the main gates of the amusement park before you follow it back into the forest. The path through the forest finally meanders on the edge of the Böhme to the Böhmepark in today's stage destination Soltau.Since there are no rest stops on this tour, you should best provide yourself with sufficient provisions before starting your journey in the Bispinger supermarkets.
You start your seventh stage in Soltau and leave the city to the southeast. Slowly the surrounding landscape changes. The further you leave the nature reserve Lüneburg Heath, the smaller the unique heathland. In its place are pastures, fields and forests.Along the edge of the forest your hike leads across wide fields. After crossing the A7 on a bridge, you will reach a narrow heathland and reach a cozy forest on the river Aue.The river has formed various bogs in its broad lowlands before its stage destination in Wietzendorf. The Heidschnuckenweg leads you along the Wittenmoor and the Katzenmoor, both of which stand out with their special flora.Also on the seventh stage there is neither cafe nor restaurant. It's best you stock up on supplies in Soltau, then you can easily get to Wietzendorf until the final destination.
The eighth leg of the Heidschnuckenweg takes you through quiet, deserted landscapes, past forests and over vast fields.Shortly behind Wietzendorf you can find a small heath area on Häteler Berg. It is lovingly cared for by the local residents, so that the pine trees and bushes do not spread to it.The comfortable hiking trail leads you on this stage also past the monument to the hay poet Hermann Löns. Hermann Löns, who grew up in the city and works there as a journalist, had fallen in love with the heath landscape all his life. He spent every spare minute here, sometimes for several weeks in a simple dwelling.In the vicinity of the monument, you will also find the Lönskiosk on the hiking car park, where you can stock up on drinks. From the monument, you continue on the edge of the forest to the romantic Heide 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 some time between the rustic half-timbered buildings of tired people.On the picturesque Heidesee, it goes past the river Örtze, which winds its way through the forest.After leaving the river, you will soon reach the planned town of Faßberg. The small town was planned as a residence for the employees of the air base in the 1930s directly on the drawing board and built in one piece. Even today you can see the uniform structure of the buildings and the streets well.
Starting from Faßberg you soon reach the small heath village Schmarbeck on the tenth stage of the Heidschnuckenweg. You pass the old farms and feel transported to other times.Through fields and meadows we continue to Wachholderwald, a large heathland. You enjoy the view of the open countryside and follow the trail through the forest on to Haußelberg.The South Heath is rarely visited by hikers as the northern heathlands, so you can alone in this peaceful landscape to enjoy the unique tranquility.Shortly before your destination, you leave the Heidschnuckenweg on the Neuoher Heide to reach the final destination, the Gasthaus Heidehexe.The Südheide is less developed than the northern Heath, so there is no stop on today's tour. If you have your provisions, but you have countless opportunities in silence and loneliness to take a break in the beautiful landscape.
After your night at the heath witch, you will hike comfortably over the vast Oberoher Heide back to Heidschnuckenweg. After crossing the heath, you enter a vast pine forest.When heath farming became unprofitable at the end of the 20th century, many of the farmers sold their land. Large areas of nutrient-poor heathland were then reforested with undemanding and fast-growing pines. The large pine forests today characterize many areas outside the nature reserve, but individual heathland is lovingly tended and cared for to this day. In doing so, one gets especially support from original heath resident. In the meantime, numerous Heidschnucken herds are again roaming the landscape.About half way you pass the village Lutterloh and reach the small Lutterloher heath. The path leads you through a sparse forest before you reach your destination Weesen. In Weesen you can admire several historical buildings. A special feature of the village are the well-preserved staircase storage. The small, often lovingly designed wooden houses were formerly used to house the goods. They stood at a distance from the house, so that the stored goods were not lost in a fire.
After your rest in Weesen you walk along the edge of the forest to the Misselhorner Heide. The heath lies like a long strip from east to west framed between thick pine forests and you walk comfortably over the sandy soil there.After a short wooded area, the view opens onto the Tiefental. The small valley offers you a special view of pristine heathland. About silent and lonely forest paths, it goes on to the stage destination, the large Denningshof.Also on the twelfth stage you should provide yourself with provisions. The path leads through secluded and sparsely populated landscape, so you will not find a cozy refreshment stop until the final destination.
At Dehningshof your last stage starts. 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 find only small and few heathlands.Most of the time, the Heidschnuckenweg leads you through comfortable forest trails, 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 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 primeval heathland Celle awaits you with its picturesque half-timbered town. The old houses and narrow streets are the perfect way to end your hike.