Eschede Nature Park Suedheide: Cows in Half-Mourning (day tours)
Swampy moorland, crystal clear heath brooks and black and white cows: The hiking trail W21 "Cows in Half-Mourning" offers plenty of variety for hikers.
Why is the circular route called "Cows in Half-Mourning"?
The circular walk leads through the fields and smaller forests around Bargfeld and Endeholz. Pasture farming is still practiced on the grassland of lowland areas in this rural region. Black and white cows are common. They inspired the well-known writer Arno Schmidt in his short story "Cows in Half-Mourning".
What awaits you on the circular walk?
Schmidt described, among other things, the numerous wetlands in the region around Bargfeld. The hike follows in the writer’s footsteps while visiting the Postmoor in the east of the village. The moor is located in the catchment area of the heath brook known as the Lutter . A large swathe of this area was placed under protection in 2007 due to the high ecological importance of the watercourse and the adjacent lowlands and offers a natural habitat for:
• Freshwater pearl mussel
• Black storks
• Sea eagles
Arno Schmidt - author of the short story "Cows in Halbtrauer"
Arno Schmidt was born on 18 January 1914 in Hamburg-Hamm. During the Second World War, he spent his military service in Alsace and Norway working in military offices. Towards the end of the war, Schmidt was stationed near Bremen. He was taken as a prisoner of war by the British and then released after about half a year. Initially, he worked in Cordingen in Lueneburg Heath as an interpreter for the British army.
After deciding to become a writer, he initially had to undertake many commissioned works, such as translating English literature, to make a living. His first publication was the story "Leviathan or the best of the worlds" from 1949. The Schmidts moved in 1950 to Rheinhessen and then further to Kastel on the Saar in 1951 and, finally, to Darmstadt in 1955.
Schmidt hated city life. It was time to seek the alternative of a quiet and secluded country life. First, suitable apartments were viewed in the greater Bremen area, but they did not meet expectations in terms of either space or finance.
Inspiration for "Cows in Half-Mourning" in Bargfeld
Schmidt lived with his wife in Bargfeld from 1958 to 1979, where he consciously sought the rural seclusion and tranquility so as to work undisturbed.
In October 1958, Arno Schmidt and his wife Alice visited a house in Bargfeld that acquaintances had told them was up for sale. The first impressions were jotted down in the " Bargfeld File". In it, Schmidt described the room layout and the fabric of the building. But he also devoted himself to the village character and the landscape: "The road itself comes to an end in the village, after which there is only moor and barren heath; so no through traffic; absolute silence guaranteed (and tested by two overnight stays); school at the other end of town, therefore negligible as a source of noise. Rambling parkland interspersed with forests. Moist lowlands of the most magnificent marsh character; to the northeast so-called "wild moors", i.e. the kind that hikers can sink into without attracting attention (tank-proof!). In this direction you can go 50 km without seeing a single house! Heath areas interspersed with juniper. Top-quality moon, fog and rain; no taste slurry discernible in the drinking water, not even with the evillest intent."
Literary monument for Bargfeld
After more than six years of work, the main work of Arno Schmidt was published in 1970, the largest and heaviest (over ten kilograms) book of German literary history with 1334 pages in A3 format. Village life and the effect of the surrounding landscape played a major role in the stories of "Bottom’s Dream". Thus, it is a literary monument to Bargfeld, even if the name of the village is not explicitly mentioned anywhere.
During his time in Südheide , Schmidt published more works and received awards for his literary work. After a heart attack in 1972, he was unable to attend the presentation of his last personal award and had to be represented by his wife.
Arno Schmidt died on June 3, 1979 at the Celle hospital as a result of a stroke at the age of 65. The Arno Schmidt Foundation, founded by his wife and based in Bargfeld, manages the literary estate of the well-known writer.
The most important features of the tour in brief
• Following the footsteps of writer Arno Schmidt
• Lookout tower on Postmoor: observation of rare bird species
• Nature reserve around the Lutter heath brook
Parking in an idyllic location directly next to a fish pond
Short tour: 3.4 kmMedium tour: 10.1 km
Both tours of the W 21 hiking region are signposted with the pictogram shown here. A small green circle indicates the short tour and a larger yellow circle the medium tour at points where the two tours split.
The route includes rambling fields and small woodlands, moor landscapes and small villages.
Hiking car park at the eastern boundary of Bargfeld
The car park is located at the fork in the road to Räderloh. Turn left at the fork to reach the car park after approximately 100 metres on the right-hand side.
Coordinates: N 52° 42.38559', E 010° 20.81424'
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