Surprising lake landscape in the heath: Meissendorf Ponds
Close to nature: where Heinz Sielmann shot his films
It's a bit like being in the lake district in Mecklenburg and the surprise effect is perfect. Hardly anyone expects to see a lake district in Lueneburg Heath. But everyone who has been here loves it.
The Meissendorf Ponds and Bannetze Moor are a nature reserve and bird sanctuary of the first order. The term “ponds” is a slight understatement, as anyone who discovers this fascinating corner of Suedheide heath is more likely to think of it as a lake landscape.
This is an ideal spot to find harmony with nature as the regenerative peace and quiet of the lakes combines with the beauty of the worlds of plants and birds. An 8.7 km long hiking trail consisting of two loops stretching around Lake Huettensee and the German conservation association’s Sunder Manor give active holidaymakers a wonderful opportunity to see the lakes from many different perspectives. The round hiking trail around Lake Huettensee and its viewing platform on the south bank afford the observer further insights into the nature reserve. Taking a monocular or a pair of binoculars is recommendable.
The lakes are situated around 7 km north-west of Winsen/Aller in the district of Celle in in the south of Lueneburg Heath. The well-known Ostenholz Moor borders the nature reserve to the north, while the small river Meisse flows between the moor and the Meissendorf Ponds. The area of origin of the River Aller begins just a few kilometres to the south.
The area is especially well-known for its rich variety of bird life. More than 130 species of breeding birds, 40 of which count as endangered, have been spotted there. More than 400 butterfly species also live among the lakes. The area is gaining increasing importance as a breeding ground and autumnal resting and sleeping place for cranes. More than 100 resting cranes have been counted here. The lake landscape is therefore worth a visit at any time of the year.
The sea eagle returned here in 1995 and is meanwhile well-established. 14 young eagles were raised here successfully in the eagle’s nest protected by conservationists between 1997 and 2005.
One can also spot sea eagles, sedge warblers, bitterns, garganeys, lapwings and corncrakes, to name but a few birds that are included in the Red List of endangered or critically endangered bird species.
But other rare birds such as the:
· Penduline tit
· Little grebe
· Water rail
· reed warbler
· Great crested grebe
· Grey heron
· Grey goose
· Red-crested pochard
· Barn owl
· Black-headed gull
· Marsh harrier
· Eurasian coot#
· Northern shoveller
· Sparrow hawk
· Red kite
also have their breeding grounds here.
The fish otter, a shy animal rarely seen in Germany that was once on the brink of eradication, is once again at home in the protected environment.
By the way, the first nature film by the famous German natural film-maker Heinz Sielmann, namely "Lied der Wildbahn" from 1948, was shot at Meissendorf Ponds.
NABU Gut Sunder, a manor estate belonging to German nature conservation society NABU, is just a few hundred metres away from Lake Huettensee. Comprehensive and impressive information is available there. There is also a café for that well-earned break.
Via the A7, exit Raststätte Allertal, then take the L 180 to WINSEN/ALLER. From there, follow the signs for "Meißendorfer Teiche, Hüttensee".
The campsite on the lake is ideal as a satnav address:
29308 Winsen / Aller-Meißendorf
You can numerous accommodation options in Winsen/Aller and in the surrounding area.