The Stork Route: following in Adebar’s footsteps
The Aller-Leine valley in the south of Lüneburg Heath is a true haven for storks.
Every year, between the end of March and the beginning of April, the storks leave their warm winter residence and return to their existing breeding nest in the Aller-Leine valley, where they begin to mate.
Until mid-August, the adult storks stay with their young in the Aller-Leine valley. During this time, the lush meadows along the rivers Leine and Aller provide the birds with ample food.
This is also the best time for animal enthusiasts to observe free-roaming storks on two different ‘Stork Cycle Routes’.
Almost every village in the Aller-Leine-Tal has a stork's nest. Some storks have built their nest on a baker’s chimney, while others choose a church tower or a farm. In the height of summer, storks can also be seen when the farmers are tedding the hay in the fields.
The circular cycle routes take you approx. 40 km through the Aller-Leine valley and past some of the most stunning stork nests.
Because of the circular nature of the cycle trail, the route brings you back to where you parked your car.
Places to stay:
We recommend staying overnight in the Hotel Heide-Kröpke in Essel. The Schloss Bothmer guesthouse and hotels in Hodenhagen are also conveniently situated.
The white stork is listed as an endangered species in Germany’s ‘Red List’ of breeding birds.
In August, the white storks migrate to southern Europa or Africa, where they spend the winter months. At the end of March and beginning of April, they return to the Aller-Leine valley – often to their original brooding nests. The breeding season begins when they return.
A white stork can lay up to 5 eggs, which hatch between 30 to 32 days later. The best time to observe the adult birds and their young in their nests is from mid-May to mid-July. By mid-July to early August, the young storks will have become fledglings.
During this period, the white storks can often be observed in the surrounding fields and meadows of the Aller-Leine-Valley.
Our circular cycle trail gives you the chance to discover the stork nests under your own steam. You can take a break in one of the farmhouse cafés along the way, or in a restaurant overlooking the river.
The Aller-Leine Valley also offers a special ‘Stork Tour’ for groups upon request. Discover the valley’s hidden treasures, observe free-roaming white storks and explore churches with their ‘resident’ storks. The tour is approximately 30 kilometres long with a refreshment stop in a farm café along the way.
If you want to observe the storks in their nests, you should book a bike tour in June or July. By mid-August, the young storks will have become fledglings.
Price: adults €18.00, children (aged 8–12): €8.00
Alle-Leine Valley Tourist Office,
Telephone: +49 (0)5071 8688,
Did you know?
E-bikes are also available for rent for the tour!
Our TIP: Take a break from the saddle and watch the storks on TV!
Do you fancy peeking inside a stork nest and watching a couple of young storks build their nest and breed? Many years ago, a pair of storks made their nest on top of a house, which belongs to Rolf Kreth, a master carpenter. Ever since, this nest has been their home. A video camera set on the storks’ living quarters now gives visitors a unique glimpse inside the nest, allowing them to observe the activity of the stork family on top of the roof. The TV screen is located in the window of the carpenter’s shop, Tischlerei Kreth.
Address of the stork TV: Lindenstraße (opposite the former fire station), 29693 Ahlden (Aller).