Circular cycle tour 1: Powering from nest to nest
Locks, castles, ferries and stork nests
Total length: About 42 kilometres
Route: Hodenhagen - Ahlden (Aller) - Grethem - Bothmer - Schwarmstedt - Buchholz - Marklendorf - Hademstorf - Eickeloh - Hodenhagen
The circular tour follows the long-distance cycle paths "Leine-Heide-Radweg" and "Aller-Radweg", and a branch line of the Aller-Radweg.
The route may be shortened: from Bothmer, cycle to Hademstorf on a side route via a lock.
Hodenhagen (connection to the Heidebahn Hanover - Soltau - Buchholz/Nordheide)
Stork nests along the route
· Hodenhagen: One nest where you enter the village
· Ahlden (Aller): at the fire station
· Büchten: in the village
· Grethem: 2 stork nests right in the village
· Gilten: Deneke Manor
· Bothmer: in the old village
· Schwarmstedt: in the Leine marshland
· Buchholz: in the old village
· Marklendorf: at the lock
· Stillenhöfen: in the Aller meadows
· Essel: in a meadow at the edge of the village
· Hademstorf: in the village
· Eickeloh: Aller marshlands
You will see numerous White stork nests on the 42-km circular tour. The best time to observe parent birds and their young in their nests is from mid-May to mid-July. From mid-July to early August, the young storks fledge. At that time, storks can often be seen in the surrounding fields and meadows of the Aller-Leine Valley.
Due to the good, firm surface of the cycle path, the round trip is family-friendly and suitable for bicycles with trailers.
Hodenhagen is the starting point for the circular tour - and you can start watching your first storks right here: two nests can be seen at the edge of Hodenhagen.
From Hodenhagen you cycle along the Heide-Leine cycle path to Ahlden (Aller), where a pair of storks have built a nest on the fire station.
From Ahlden, cycle along the Aller cycle path to the small town of Grethem (two nests right in the centre) and then on to Bothmer. The Bothmer Mill (dating from 1822) welcomes you to Bothmer, and the museum "Bothmer Old Village School" is a good place for cyclists to rest. And, of course, there is another stork nest to be discovered in Bothmer.
After Bothmer, continue on to Schwarmstedt. This officially recognized resort town is located where the Aller and Leine Rivers separate. Schwarmstedt has a lot to offer: museums, churches, lovingly designed gardens open to the public, and many artisans, all looking forward to your visit. The surrounding landscape is home not only to storks but also to other birds, including heron colonies. The Schwarmstedt storks nest in the marshland of the Leine River.
Along the Aller cycle path, the route takes you through the towns of Buchholz and Marklendorf. In Marklendorf you will find a hydroelectric power station, which was built from 1913-1915. It has two turbines with a capacity of 1,000 hp. Another stork nest can be seen directly at the lock, where you cross the Aller via the Aller barrages. The new fish migration facility at the weir in Marklendorf is worth seeing. In addition to the usual fish ladder, it also includes a separate route for the fish to descend, such that they can pass in both directions.
After crossing the Aller, you return to Hodenhagen on a branch route of the Aller cycle path. You pass through the villages of Hademstorf and Eickeloh where you can see more stork nests.
Our SUGGESTION: Take a break from cycling to watch Stork TV
Take a look into the “living room” of a stork couple and watch them build their nest or incubate their eggs. Years ago, a pair of storks made the house of master carpenter Kreth their home, and they’ve returned ever since. A video camera makes it possible to observe the storks’ family life high up on the roof - a unique opportunity! You can look at the live feed on the monitor in the shop window of Mr Kreth's carpentry.
The address of the stork programme: Lindenstraße (opposite the former fire station), 29693 Ahlden (Aller).