The Pearl of the Nature Park
We would like to tell you about "Steinhuder Meer" and its fascinating landscape. So let us hike along the 32 kilometer path that loops around Northwest Germany’s largest inland lake!
|A beautiful path borders the lake which rests in the center of the nature park like a glistening pearl. By foot or by bike, the circular path is a great way to experience the park’s diverse landscape. During our hike the scenery along the shore will continually change. Sometimes trees directly line the water’s edge, sometimes reeds. At other times, the flat remnants of a giant dune cut the water to create a fine sand beach. You will move in the shadow of a forest that suddenly opens up to a marsh. Later you reach a wooden path overlooking a pristine marshland forest of native alder trees, a paradise for song and water birds.|
A wooden walkway leads to an observation tower in the middle of the nature reserve. Let us climb up and peer out at the lake from up above. With a little luck we will be able to see swans, pochards and black coots, as well as marvel at the sea eagles and cranes soaring in circles.
Nature and Bird Observation
The glittering water spreads out before us and forms the core of the nature park. If you like, you can even get to know the vast areas of the moorlands, such as the moraine formation with sandy coastal crests, the ridges of the low mountain ranges and the long meadowland areas. The major ecological habitats are the wetlands "Meerbruchwiesen" on the west coast of the lake, the nearby dunes north of the lake as well as alder forests dispersed throughout different regions around the shore.
Look! We’re lucky: a western curlew!How proudly it struts over the marshes. It has the longest bill of all the birds at "Steinhuder Meer". The western curlew feels at home in this habitation, just like the black-tailed godwit, the common snipe, and not to forget, the great stork.All this make the "Steinhuder Meer" an internationally important wetland, with ten thousands of waders, water and migratory birds using it as their breeding and resting ground.
Let us now descend the tower and continue on, leaving the landscape and animals of our region peacefully behind. You can acquire specific information from the experts in the ecological protection station in Winzlar or in the nature park information center in Steinhude, on Wilhelmstein island and in Mardorf.
The Ecological Protection Station works to protect the natural environment and the biodiversity at "Steinhuder Meer". Here an exhibition explaining natural phenomena of the lake awaits the visitor. You can observe live the breeding of kestrels and barn owls on monitors. You can hear the lively sounds of bats in the reeds. Also worth a visit is the experience garden on the station site, with an artificial high moor, designed with typical plant species. On one path visitors can observe newts and stickleback fish. In addition, the Ecological Protection Center offers the possibility of observation amidst nature. The yearly program contains around 180 events and excursions for adults and children including knowledgeable tutorials. We owe the dedicated experts the nice company of wildlife who live once again at "Steinhuder Meer", such as the green tree frogs and the majestic crane, whose trumpeting calls can be heard from far away.
Ecological Protection Station
One way we have promoted the settlement of endangered species to the area is by reintroducing the humid conditions of the wetlands on the west coast of the lake. Step by step ponds and pools were made, which surprise visitors. Whoever wanders along the path through the wetlands will discover a herd of water buffalo. Some of the buffalos enjoy bathing in the pools, others eat the hard bulrush grass on the edge of the pond. Rice fields in Lower Saxony? Mozzarella production in Rehburg? By no means. The water buffalo prevent the rare amphibian spawn waters from becoming overgrown. Native bovine species despise the grasses in moory waters and are liable to drown in the ponds.
Water buffalos at Steinhuder Meer
The protection of plants and animals in the wetlands and in the marshlands "Totes Moor" is also the topic of the nature park-information centers, found in the barn quarter of Steinhude, in the tourist-information center in Mardorf, and on Wilhelmstein Island. With modern media you can better comprehend the natural world. The nature park cinema, located in the information barn in Steinhude, shows a number of educational films during a virtual boat trip. If you would rather move about under the open sky, you should accompany one of ourknowledgeable guides on an excursion through the wetlands or the moors.
Nature Park Information
The nature park guides offer regular guided tours that start in Mardorf and take you through the "Tote Moor". The high moor is considered one of the most ancient landscapes of the earth, a place of mystery and legend. Only the most specialized plants can subsist on the marshy subsoil which is made up of 90% water and is as acid as lemon juice.Even harmless plants in the marshlands take on "something sinister" wrote the TV journalist Horst Stern: "Sundew lures insects then captures them with its sticky fingers." Stern continued: "There’s something melancholic, even ominous about it. Gloomy stories about the bubbling deeps, about men who met their end in the sinking marshes, and whose souls make their rounds in the nearby villages. The meager trees appear like a crippled man creeping along the grounds, holding themselves up with crooked fingers of their roots on the unsteady ground." Now, it’s not nearly so eerie because these days we don’t believe in ghostly spirits, and because your excursion leader will know how to guide you safely through the moors.
Guided Hikes in the Moors
In case you want to get away from the damp lowlands and moors, at "Steinhuder Meer" you can also go mountain climbing…well, almost. The northern most remnants of the low mountain range, the Rehburg Mountains, the sculpted ridge and the forested mountain “Brunnenberg” reach 161 meters high. From there you have a fantastic view of the whole "Steinhuder Meer", like a scene from a painting.
Day Trip to the mountains
At the end of our hike around the lake we would like to give you something to take with as you continue on.Depending on your preferences, you can experience the whole variety of "Steinhuder Meer" as a hiker, walker or bike rider. An intricate network of walkways connects the themed paths and vibrant trails that wind through the whole region.
Enjoy the gift of nature.