If you want to do some real hiking again, you might not first think of the North German plains. Wrongly so, because the 24 northern trails that run through the region between Hamburg, Bremen and Hanover are reason enough to spend your next hiking trip in the north. The Nordpfad Dör't Moor has even been nominated as "Germany's most beautiful hiking trail 2021" - so don't miss it!
Between 6 and 32 kilometers are the long paths that lead through the northern German expanse in the district of Rotenburg (Wümme). Five of them have been awarded by the German Hiking Association; they may adorn themselves with the beautiful title "Qualitätsweg traumtour". Among other things, the northern trails owe their distinction to the scenic and cultural diversity offered to hikers on the tour: Sometimes the paths lead through the gently undulating Geest, sometimes on boardwalks through a mystical-looking moorland landscape, in between which hikers repeatedly encounter pristine streams. In other places, field and meadow paths take them to typical northern German farming villages and small towns. No one has to get lost on the trails, which are easy to reach by car or public transport, because the 24 northern trails are signposted without gaps "unverlaufbar".
Due to the lack of mountains, none of the hikes are really strenuous. Nevertheless, you can work off your energy, for example on a day or multi-day hike. If you have less time or are traveling with children, you can opt for one of the many half-day tours.
We present three particularly beautiful northern paths here:
The start and finish of the Dör't Moor circular route, better known as the Große Moorrunde, is the Große Bullensee. By the way, you can also swim in this moor lake. Hikers stroll through the Great and White Moor Experience Zone on natural paths and boardwalks. The special: The moor landscape is one of the best-preserved raised bogs in Lower Saxony. In the midst of the moor and heath landscape, themed pavilions with information boards appear again and again, under whose roofs hikers are happy to unpack their snacks. Other stops on the route are the lookout tower (great view of the moor and meadows!) and the Neolithic burial mounds that appear in the middle of the heath landscape. On the last meters of the trail, which is classified as easy but still 10 kilometers long, the Small Bullensee appears, which is much more untouched than the Large Bullensee in a small piece of forest. By the way, the northern trail Dör't Moor is also available in a short version: For the Small Moor Round, turn off after about 3 kilometers at a themed pavilion onto the designated Bodderpad (Butter Path), on which the moor farmers used to transport their homemade butter to Rotenburg (Wümme) to sell it there.
What makes it special:
The northern trail through the moor is one of the most beautiful of the 24 northern trails. Until June 30, 2021, it will compete with fourteen other hiking trails from all over Germany for the title of "Germany's Most Beautiful Hiking Trail 2021," which is awarded annually by Wandermagazin in cooperation with the German Hiking Association. Dör't Moor impresses above all with its diversity: the unspoiled moorland alternates with rustic forest sections; and when the heath landscape puts on its purple robe in the summer months, the meadows and fields bloom elsewhere.
Sparrowhawks, buzzards, cranes and other bird species feel just as comfortable in the partly untouched nature as hikers seeking solitude.
Tips on the track:
Starting from Bullensee, after about half of the trail, a 250-year-old Sheepfold with sheds and outdoor area. In the "Spieker" old farmer and handicraft tools tell about the former agriculture and peat mining. In front of the sheepfold is also the Table-cover-yourself - resting place, which is supplied by surrounding restaurants at the agreed time. So book in advance and dine in the middle of greenery, be entertained and pampered!
The route: The circular trail starts in the center of the Elbe-Weser triangle, more precisely: in the Bremervörde Nature and Adventure Park. The starting and ending point of the Northern Trail, which is 20 kilometers long in total, is the Giant Egg, one of the park's main attractions, as it were. Almost twice the size of an adult, the art project is filled with 550 letters from children and adults who sent a message to the future in the form of wishes many years ago. Since 1991, the letters have been waiting in the Giant Egg for their recipients; the Giant Egg will not be opened for another 1000 years.
This northern trail can be divided into different sections depending on your desire and physical condition. After hikers have first explored and passed Lake Vörder, the 14-kilometer northern tour takes them to Fresenburgsmoor. Accompanied by the moor canal, they then cross lonely, wide meadow landscapes and small sections of forest until the trail leads to Nieder Ochtenhausen with its historic granary. Through marshland and along the Oste River, the route returns to Bremervörder Harbor. From the lake, you then cross the harbor to the approximately 5-kilometer-long southern tour of the northern trail, which leads along the Oste River and through the Vorwerk State Forest.
If you have time, you can visit the Bachmann Museum, which is located on this section. With about 80,0000 items from geology, archaeology and history, it offers the most extensive collection on the regional history of the Elbe-Weser triangle.
If you are traveling with children or simply don't feel like a longer hike, just take the "Vörder See Tour", which is four kilometers long and leads through the nature and adventure park around Vörder See with various play areas.
What makes it special:
The nature and adventure park Bremervörde at the Vörder See makes the Nordpfad a perfect destination for the whole family. Even the short tour is enough to simply switch off in the fresh air and discover beautiful things: There are the themed gardens, for example, where rose bushes and rhododendron bushes bloom vigorously, or the SculptureMeadow, which artists from near and far spruce up with their art objects. Nature lovers can visit the NABU environmental pyramid and the World of the Senses, or find a quiet spot on the shores of Lake Vörder. By the way, the lake is also suitable for pedal boating, sailing or Kneipp.
Nature lovers best opt for the whole route. Whether the reed-covered banks of the Oste, the alder forests, or the expanse of meadows - the 20-kilometer-long Nordpfad is one thing above all: green!
Tips on the track:
Anyone traveling with children will be pleased with the award-winning playscapes and waterscapes in the park are looking forward to. Also the many Experience corners in the "World of the Senses" park, such as the stone labyrinth or the barefoot path, are ideal for families.
Coffee and cakes or hearty meals are offered to guests in the café and restaurant in front of the House of the lake a restored Lower Saxon farmstead dating from 1860. Guests can also take this opportunity to visit the nearby Pharmacist and farmer garden stop by and learn more about the healing powers of plants. In Nieder Ochtenhausen awaits a historical granary from the 18th century; on the associated remise old agricultural equipment can be explored.
The almost 8-hour tour on this 23-kilometer circular trail starts at the bus station parking lot at the Zeven market. Still in Zeven, the first stop is the Zeven Monastery, a former Benedictine nunnery that was built in the early Middle Ages. Those who enter the old walls can also take a look at the local history collection of the monastery museum. Afterwards, hikers may take a cool footbath in the Mehde, whose stream course they will encounter again and again along the route until it finally flows into the Oste in Brauel. The path continues through the gently undulating Geest landscape into the Badetal. At the small mill pond there is a 400-year-old water mill. The place is so secluded that it makes a good resting place. From Bademühlen, the route continues via the Oak Ranch, popular with rodeo and horse fans, into the Großes Holz forest, where, among other things, a forest nature trail and a large-scale adventure playground, which leads to shouts of happiness, especially from children, invite you to explore. On field paths it then goes back to Zeven.
What makes it special:
On the northern trail Zevener Geest wanderlust can be combined with scientific interest: In 1824/25, the famous mathematician Carl-Friedrich Gauss stayed in the Zevener Posthalterei for six weeks to carry out so-called geodetic measurements on the St. Viti church. The Gauss Room is located on the upper floor of the former post office in half-timbered style, which is now home to the House of Crafts. In it, technical equipment and information boards provide insights into Gauss' scientific work. There is also a 10-DM bill on display. Why? Anyone born before 1990 will remember the scientist's face depicted on the bill.
Tips on the track:
In Zeven itself, a walk through the town is worthwhile, because everywhere in the town artworks remind of the former stay of the mathematician. The Gauss Fountain, whose shape resembles that of a vice heliotrope, is also beautiful. Before anyone gets out the old math book: This is a measuring device developed by Gauss that makes distant survey points visible. Anyone who has taken a closer look at the 10 DM bill will also know that the well-known measuring device is depicted on its reverse side. After the circular walk with or without a guided tour of the town, it is best to go to one of the many street cafés and order a piece of the famous Zeven Himmelstorte, which tastes of hazelnut and cinnamon.
Cover photo: A flock of birds over the Tister farm moor at the Nordpfad Sittensen © Björn Wengler
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