Moin together! Today I set off with Benno to explore one of the oldest nature reserves in the Hamburg area, the NSG Hahnheide (Wikipedia) was already put under nature conservation in 1938.

Among other things, the nature reserve is home to a natural forest in which nature is allowed to run its course, and dying trees or trees that have fallen as a result of frost or storm serve as deadwood for a large number of species of natural shelter.

The nature reserve is located directly east of Trittau and lies between the Bille and the Mühlenbach. The starting point of the tour can be reached, for example, by bus 333, which departs from the underground station Steinfurther Allee.


Der Zugang zum NSG Hahnheide
Access to the NSG Hahnheide

At the beginning you are greeted by a still rolled gravel road, the green that shines towards you right after your arrival in Trittau makes you want more! Since I was on the way with my companion today, I chatted more and was astonished than I took pictures, so there is only a small foretaste of the nature reserve. But it’s natural as always – if you really want to know what it’s like there you have to put on your shoes and set off!

Am Anfang noch Wirtschaftswege...
At the beginning still farm roads…

After about one kilometre it becomes more natural and you walk along farm tracks through the forest, the sun shines through the treetops and plays with light and shade.

...dann kommt dichtes Geäst und Moos...
…then comes dense branches and moss…

The bright green moss harmonises perfectly with the colours of the foliage. The autumn colours are just beginning to show, but in 2-3 weeks the play of colours between moss and autumn leaves must be breathtaking!

The forest became denser and denser and the paths narrower and more natural.

...und letztendlich wundervoller, natürlicher Waldboden!
…and finally wonderful, natural forest soil!

After the first good 4 kilometres it was time. Something I haven’t seen before in the Hamburg metropolitan region. The path in the forest became the path, the path became… nothing! Completely natural forest soil, no beaten track, no aisle, nothing. Find your way instead of following the path – that’s nature!

Einer der wenigen offenen Plätze
One of the few open places

After the half of the way, one comes once briefly out of the forest, how we lucky children, in beautiful sunshine to enjoy the view over the meadows and adjacent forests.

If you prefer open landscapes to forests, then I recommend the hikes through the Boberger Niederung and on the Estewanderweg.

Wieder hinein in den Wald
Back into the forest

After this little “ray of hope” the forest has a way again. Thank God, but only a short one as it should turn out. At one point you just have to trust the GPS! The device says “Get in the bushes here” and you think to yourself, “What the hell…?!”. We went a bit left and right to see if there was a way…but it wasn’t. So we named ourselves a heart (and the GPS) and went into the hedge and looked-times-a-one we stood again in the most beautiful, unspoilt forest.

Moosbewachsenes Totholz, wunderschön und Lebensraum für allerlei Getier
Moss-covered deadwood, beautiful and habitat for all kinds of animals

For me, the highlight of the day tour was the natural forest, because this was the part without paths with a natural ground, a very own smell and a lot of moss overgrown deadwood as can be seen above.

With this scenery you can expect to see Little Red Riding Hood and her basket strolling around the corner on the way to your grandmother.

Es wird matschig am Waldrand
It gets muddy at the edge of the forest

The last third of the tour leads through the wet forest with many small streams, rivulets, small lakes and – thanks to the rain of the last days – a lot of mud.

Die Teichkomplexe im nördlichen Teil des NSG Hahnheide
The pond complexes in the northern part of the NSG Hahnheide
Ein "Pausenteich"
A “pond for breaks”
Laubwald - dem Namen alle Ehre gemacht
Deciduous forest – a name lived up to

At this point of the hiking trail we were promised a lookout tower from which the Elbe should be visible when the weather was fine. So we turned off and walked in the given direction, but even after a lot of climbing we couldn’t find anything like that.

But what we found is a squirrel trap that was attached to a tree with a reference to the University of Hamburg, so probably species should be counted or specified here. We took a closer look at the trap and found it unsuitable, the “lid” could not close because it was secured with a cable tie and also a mechanism to release the “lid” was not visible. Conclusion: Either you learn a lot at the University of Hamburg, but not how to build a trap or some concerned squirrel citizen has put the trap out of action, so the Hahnheide squirrel is safe 😉

Eine Stechpalme übernimmt einen Baumstumpf
A holly takes over a tree stump

The picture above is a nice example of how something new is created from something old, because the holly grows directly from the tree stump. I deliberately don’t say deadwood here, because that a tree stump still contains a lot of life (and a whole lot more) I’m just learning in the book “The secret life of trees: What they feel, how they communicate – the discovery of a hidden world” by Peter Wohlleben – very interesting!

Wirtschaftsweg durch den Buchenwald
Farm road through the beech forest

Do you already know the NSG Hahnheide and maybe you know where the legendary observation tower is? Tell me in the comments!

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