Hamburg - Celle (223km)
Quality long-distance hiking trail in the Lüneburg Heath. Would you like to learn more about the Heidschnuckenweg?
The trail markings of the Heidschnuckenweg
Now we continue on the Heidschnuckenweg, which covers the next 223 kilometers in a north-south direction through the Lüneburg Heath, from Hamburg-Neugraben-Fischbek train station to Celle Castle in Celle. The Heidschnuckenweg is more than just a hiking trail through the Lüneburg Heath; it is a journey into one of the oldest and most original cultural landscapes in the country. We follow the signposts of the Heidschnuckenweg, which is a white “H” on a black background. The Heidschnuckenweg was inaugurated in 2012 and is one of the “Top Trails of Germany.” It runs almost the entire length parallel to the European long-distance trail E1. The Heidschnucke is an extremely frugal sheep breed and belongs to the Northern European short-tailed sheep. The probability of encountering these animals along with a shepherd during the hike is very high.
The North Heath
We start with a heath landscape straight out of a picture book. We traverse the dry valley of Fischbeker Heide, while a narrow path winds its way over small hills from left to right. After a while, we encounter a slight ascent through a pine forest. We pass a glider airfield and follow along the state border. In Tempelberg, we finally leave Hamburg behind and enter the third federal state on the NST, Lower Saxony. The path continues through hilly pine forests towards Karlstein, a large and distinctive glacial erratic. Passing by the first typical heathland villages and the Rosengarten telecommunications tower, the path winds through shady woods. Occasionally, there are also stretches of asphalt. In the village of Dibbersen, there is an opportunity to replenish water supplies and prepare for the last kilometers to the center of the town of Buchholz in der Nordheide. Since most thru-hikers will complete the first stage of the Heidschnuckenweg to Buchholz, they have two options. Either they can use the last shelter before Buchholz or they can try to find accommodation. Wild camping in the heathland is difficult as it is a nature reserve and can be observed from many directions. Additionally, the next suitable shelter is still a bit further away.
From Buchholz, we continue along the Heidebahn for a while, passing the Suerhop train station and further through the so-called Höllenschlucht (Hell’s Gorge). All paths lead in a star-shaped pattern towards the Brunsberg, which stands at a modest height of 129 meters but still offers a beautiful view. The Brunsberg is located in the northern part of the Lohberge and in the northern area of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park. We descend the Brunsberg on sandy paths and narrow trails, passing through a small forest until we reach the Pferdekopf (Horse’s Head). After crossing the Büsenbach, we enter the valley of the same name, where a resting bench with a splendid view can be found. Soon, we reach the village of Handeloh, where there are shopping opportunities. Shortly after leaving the village, we enter the vast Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve. The path descends gently towards Seevetal, running more or less along the Seeve, a heathland river. In the center of Wesel, there is a guesthouse and the Hexenhaus (Witch’s House), an old bakehouse. Beyond the village, sandy paths lead through dense mixed deciduous forest until we reach the open landscape of Weseler Heide. Forests, meadows, and soft single trails guide us to Undeloh. Here, there are ample opportunities to stop for a meal or replenish water supplies. If needed, you can also set up your tent for a few hours at the somewhat remote football field.
Ascent 689 Meter
Descent 629 Meter
Zweiländer Valley and Easter Heath
Just beyond Undeloh, we enter the heathland once again. The Heidschnuckenweg now leads into the Radenbach Valley, one of the most pristine heath valleys in the Nordheide region. From here, we start a gentle ascent. Just before reaching Wilsede, we encounter impressive centuries-old beech trees from the former grazed forest. The small village of Wilsede embodies a typical heath village: car-free, with a picturesque collection of beautiful houses surrounded by impressive old trees. Next, we head to the highest hill in the North German Plain, the Wilseder Berg, standing at 169 meters. Of course, calling it a “mountain” is an inappropriate term, but this “hill” offers an almost unrestricted panoramic view of the heath valley. Afterwards, we follow the small Haverbeeke river until we reach a small dammed lake. Crossing the bridge over the Haverbeeke, we are not far from Niederhaverbeck. From Niederhaverbeck, the moor of the Wümmequelle area stretches out. After a small shelter, we reach the source of the Brunau and enter the Twieselmoor. By this point, the hiker should have already encountered the bleating heath sheep, the Heidschnucken. We are slowly approaching the Behringer Heide. Along the way, there are low sand dunes with fine white sand that are not yet completely covered by the heath. After the inconspicuous village of Behringen, we reach the Brunau Lake, where the path gently winds along its shore. A small ascent takes us to the Borsteler Kuhlen, a wild heath and juniper landscape. We continue along the Brunau until we reach the village of Hützel, and from there, it is not far to Bispingen. In Bispingen, there are numerous shopping opportunities and a youth hostel. We leave Bispingen along the Luhetal and reach Luhegrund, where a beautiful barbecue hut is located, which serves as a good overnight spot.
After passing under a highway crossing, fields and small patches of forest alternate repeatedly. With the Kreuzberg, we reach the last large heath area in the Nordheide region. It is hard to imagine that this terrain was a military training ground just 20 years ago. Today, the heath has reclaimed the area. At this point, we reach the 700-kilometer mark of the NST – congratulations! Next is the Heide Park Resort, a large amusement park and entertainment complex. We then walk along the eastern bank of the Böhme River, which originates in the Pietzmoor. We reach the town of Soltau, where there are plenty of shopping opportunities. After the city center, we encounter the suburban charm of Soltau’s residential areas. We pass through forests, meadows, and fields at the Weiher Mountains. Between Tiegen and Abelbeck, we cross the highway. Unfortunately, there is now a longer stretch along a federal road before the trail turns south onto endless straight forest paths. The trail then follows the course of the Aue River. Just before Wietzendorf, where the Aue flows into the Wietze River, there is a beautiful Kneipp walk across the river at a bridge, a welcome refreshment for tired feet. After leaving Wietzendorf, we reach the Häteler Berg, followed by a small but beautiful heath area. After an endless sandy path, we pass the 7-armed signpost towards Wietzer Berg. At the highest point of the mountain, there is a large erratic boulder in honor of the heath poet Hermann Löns. The view from Wietzer Berg is like a postcard motif, simply breathtaking: heathland, juniper forest, sandy paths, and birch trees. The village of Müden, located at the confluence of the Wietze and Örtze rivers, is considered one of the most beautiful places in the Lüneburg Heath by connoisseurs. After the Heidesee, we continue on a beautiful single trail along the banks of the Örtze River. Unfortunately, we have to leave this beautiful path near Poitzen and turn towards Faßberg. The village was established as a settlement for the airbase of the same name. There is a shopping opportunity in Faßberg.
Ascent 1737 Meter
Descent 1755 Meter
The southern heath
At Faßberg, the Heidschnuckenweg passes along a section of the airbase. After the small heath village of Schmarbeck, we reach the juniper forest located on a hilltop. In the middle of the juniper grove stands a small hut. After crossing the Schmarbeck stream, we walk along the Heidesee (Heath Lake) near the former diatomaceous earth mining area in Oberohe, entering the Neuoher Heide. We continue on a bike path until we reach the farms of Gerdehaus. After the 40-meter-high Haußelberg, which offers a beautiful view in good weather, we enter the Oberoher Heide. There, a beautiful birch forest and small patches of juniper groves await us, along with occasional small heath areas. The trail meanders through a pine forest and more heath areas, leading us quietly to the heath village of Lutterloh. From there, we continue west, passing by Weesen towards the Misselhorner Heide. There is no doubt that the Südheide (Southern Heath) presents beautiful heathland, but there are also many dull, wide, and kilometer-long forest roads that run straight as an arrow. Many of these forest paths lead us to the Angelbecksteich. In August 1975, the largest forest fire in Germany’s history ravaged this area. Today, a memorial stone stands at the spot where the fire is said to have broken out. After passing Dehningshof and the Severloher Heide, we reach the Wildecker Teiche (Wildecker Ponds), hidden behind a small dam. There is also a small shelter there. Congratulations, at the Wildecker Teiche, you have walked a proud 800 kilometers on the NST. The final kilometers to Celle mainly lead through dense forest. After passing through the villages of Scheuen and Groß-Hehlen, we reach Celle, the trailhead of the Heidschnuckenweg.