Hiking Highlight (Segment)
Anyone wandering through the Neandertal begins to understand why the Neanderthals settled here and why Joachim Neander later preferred to spend his time here. The quiet valley floor, the light forests, the babbling of the Düssel: the valley is the most beautiful place far and wide. However, the idyll is deceptive - it is man-made. Limestone mining completely changed the Neandertal in the 19th century. The once narrow gorge through which Neanders roamed became a wide valley. An early industrial environmental sin, but fortunate for research. Two miners who cleared a grotto for the extraction of lime in 1856 found strange human bones. As we know today, it was not the first Neanderthal bones to be found. But it was the first that researchers suspected what they were looking at: relics of an extinct human species.
At first they encountered bitter resistance with this assumption: The theory of evolution was not generally accepted for a long time, and Charles Darwin's groundbreaking book “The Origin of Species” was not due to appear until three years after the discovery. The leading German pathologist at the time, Rudolf Virchow, considered the bones to be the remains of a modern human being deformed by an illness. The thought that other kinds of people should have lived on earth besides us was simply unheard of.
To this day the idea is strange that a few thousand years ago, here by the river between the trees, you could have met a Neanderthal man. You can catch up on this meeting in the Neanderthal Museum, the destination of the hike. There are replicas of Neanderthals that are so realistic that you want to speak to them. You can't get any closer to them than this.
April 12, 2017
The Winkelsmühle, which has been documented since 1483, stands on the left bank of the Düssel, 350 m west of the Thunis farm and 320 m southwest of the Winkel farm.
The mill building is just below a jutting rock face, on the north side of the valley. The former Obergraben and current course of the Düssel was hewn into the limestone. The existing weir has been modernized. Remains of the old course of the Düssel can be found on the impact slope side, the southern and western side of the valley, in the form of a pond.
The mill building is a three-storey quarry stone house with a two-storey extension on the left side. This part is only made of quarry stone on the ground floor, the upper floor consists of half-timbering. The farm buildings opposite are modern.
After a fire, the mill building was extensively renovated in 1971. Another conversion took place in 1996.
In its more than 600-year history, the Winkelsmühle has undergone many structural changes, which can also be found in archaeological evidence. It was first mentioned in a document in 1387 in a list of the tithes that went to the Kaiserswerth monastery. 100 years later the mill was granted the milling rights by the duke. This arrangement was reconfirmed by Duke Wilhelm III of Jülich-Berg in 1547. The Winkelsmühle suffered greatly from the turmoil of war in the 17th century. A report from 1672 describes that the residential building burned down, the barn collapsed and the mill itself could no longer be used.
By the way: In the 1930s, the pond served as a natural outdoor pool
When the obligation to grind was removed with the French period, the mill could no longer be operated economically. Necessary repairs could not be made, so the mill was auctioned off in 1802.
The Winkelsmühle is repeatedly shown on historical maps. Among other things on the Unterbach hunting card from 1641 and the Müffling card from 1824.
The Winkelsmühle and the archaeological evidence found underground in the form of wall foundations and everyday objects are important for the industrial history of the Niederberg hills, the Düssel Valley and the city of Mettmann.
July 5, 2018
Beautiful, varied hiking trails along the Düssel.
August 26, 2021
The Neandertal with the Düssel is unexpectedly beautiful. You think you are far from civilization - until you hear a siren and are reminded that you are only a few meters away from the next city.
January 3, 2022
The grounds around the mill and the mill itself are privately owned and can not be visited or visited. A "visit" is only possible from the bridge and from the paths between the buildings. Nevertheless, the facility is worth a visit: The owners go out of their way to scrub the whole estate very well.
July 20, 2018
There is a hiking parking lot here 🅿️ if the entire route from Gruiten is too long 😉
June 1, 2020
The Neanderthal is always worth a hike, and not just because of the Neanderthal and bison.
November 19, 2020
"ZEIT WISSEN Podcast" and "Peter_H_65 🐻" wrote everything that is worth knowing.
December 23, 2022
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