Hermannsburg, Nature Park Südheide: home of the Heidschnucke

    The hiking trails of the W10 "Home of the Heidschnucke" lead through one of the most beautiful heath areas of the nature park Südheide. They open up the nature reserve "Heideflächen mittlere Lüßplateau". The Heidepanoramaweg also follows this path. As a nature experience trail, it provides information about the old cultural landscape and the fauna and flora of the heath. The scenically impressive Tiefental valley is one of the highlights of the tour.

    The Heidschnucke - The symbol animal of the heath

    It is assumed that the Heidschnucke originates from the moufflons living in Sardinia and Corsica. Heidschnucken were once spread from Brittany to Siberia and remained as a farm animal breed mainly in the Lüneburg Heath. The animals are happy with meagre food such as heather. They are so robust that they also graze on the heath in winter.

    In Northern Germany three breeds can be distinguished:

    • The white horned Heidschnucke can be found mainly in the Weser-Ems region.

    • The white hornless Schnucke or Moorschnucke can be found in the moorland areas in the Diepholz area.

    • The grey horned Heidschnucke can be found mainly on the dry areas of the Lüneburger Heide.

    The coat of the grey horned Heidschnucke is greyish and long. Legs, tail and head are black. The lambs are born completely black and do not get the typical grey coat until the second year. Both sexes carry horns. At the time of the heath farmer economy in the 19th century, a heath farm usually had 500 to 700 Heidschnucken.

    With a little luck you may find the symbolic animal of the heath on the heath areas of the Südheide Nature Park.

    The heath farmer economy

    The formerly extensive heath landscapes of the Lüneburg Heath were a product of the historical heath farmer economy, which consisted of field cultivation and the keeping of the Heidschnucke. The poor soils of the region could only produce sufficient harvest if they received a regular supply of nutrients. Since no mineral fertilizers were available until the 19th century, the heath was used as a source of nutrients.

    Die Heidschnucke als Dünger-Lieferant?

    Hier kam den Heidschnucken eine besondere Bedeutung zu. Sie dienten nicht nur der Produktion von Wolle und Fleisch, sondern erzeugten auch wertvollen Stalldung, mit dem die Äcker gedüngt werden konnten. Die Herden wurden jeden Abend in die Ställe getrieben. Die Heidschnucken setzen ihren Dung nicht während des Weidegangs ab, sondern nur während der Rastzeiten. Auf diese Weise konnte der wertvolle Dünger in den Ställen gesammelt werden.

    Mowed heather served as bedding for the stables. Heather sods were also laid out in the sheep stables. In order to obtain the sods, the heather plants, including the uppermost soil layer, were stripped with a pick, the so-called twicke. In this way, heather and humus were brought into the barn and finally onto the fields. After fertilisation, rye could be grown there for several years in a row. When the yield fell, the more undemanding sand oat was cultivated for a year and then buckwheat for another year. This was followed by a wasteland phase lasting several years in which the area was grazed. After about ten years the field could be recultivated after it had been fertilized again with sod dung from the stable.

    The end of the historical heath farmer economy

    When in the second half of the 19th century imports of sheep's wool from overseas began to compete with domestic production and mineral fertilizers were available for agriculture, sheep farming lost importance in Central Europe. With the end of historical heath farming and the beginning of extensive reforestation, the typical heath landscape in the Lüneburg Heath disappeared more and more.

    Nowadays, attempts are being made to preserve the remaining heathland with the help of maintenance measures.

    The most important facts of the tour in a few words


    Length of the Tours
    short Tour north: 1,2 km (Nord, vom Parkplatz Misselhorner Heide)

    short Tour: 2,0 km (Süd, vom Parkplatz Eicksberg (Tiefental)

    medium Tour: 7,6 km (Heide Panoramaweg)

    long Tour: 13,0 km

    Profile of the route

    The tour takes you along narrow sandy paths through extensive heathland and woodland.

    Starting Point

    The starting point for hikes in the Heidschnucken region is the Misselhorner Heide hiking car park.

    How to get there
    The car park is located on Kreisstraße 17 near Hermannsburg in the direction of Lutterloh, 1.5 km from the city sign of Hermannsburg on the right-hand side.
    Position: N 52° 49.40557', E 010° 08.02380'

    Another possible starting point is the hiking car park at Eicksberg (Tiefental valley). From Oldendorf this can be reached via the L 281 in the direction of Eschede. After 3 km turn left (opposite the junction to Dehningshof and Hof Severloh). After another 200 m the path leads right up the Eicksberg for approx. 2 km to the car park.
    Position: N52.805569  E10.145545

    Further information and tips on the tours of the hiking paradise Südheide can also be found at Region Celle Navigator.



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