© Mediaserver Hamburg / Christian Brandes

Forest route

  • Moving in nature
  • Out and about by the water
  • Relaxing and unwinding

A hike through the idyllic Wohldorf forest

Embarking on this route, you will devote a few hours to exploring unspoilt nature in the relaxing environment of the Walddörfer (literally: forest villages) – a cultural region in the very north of Hamburg that comprises several quarters. The Walddörfer have been part of Hamburg’s territory ever since the late Middle Ages and make for a wonderful excursion destination. Wohldorf forest, which is located in the quarter of Wohldorf-Ohlstedt, is a real haven for nature lovers, with special flora and fauna as well as rare animal species

© Hamburg Tourismus GmbH

Driving from the city directly into the forest

Taking the blue U-Bahn line (U1), you simply get off at Ohlstedt, the final stop on the line. From there it is only a few minutes’ walk to the southern tip of Wohldorf forest, and thus the departure point of your hike. Your journey back into town also starts from Ohlstedt station.

Download map here
Download map here

The route in a nutshell

The round trip through Wohldorf forest has a length of about 7 kilometres. It can be wonderfully combined with a subsequent 10-kilometre walk through the adjacent Duvenstedter Brook nature reserve.

Accessing Hamburg’s densely forested nature reserve

© Mediaserver Hamburg / photocompany Gmbh

Getting off at Ohlstedt, the last stop of the U1, you leave the station in a northerly direction. A narrow footpath leads you to the street Kupferredder, which crosses Mehlhopweg a few metres further on. Turning right, you follow Mehlhopweg until it crosses the end of a residential street. Here, you turn left onto a forest path, which will take you deeper into Wohldorf forest, Hamburg’s largest contiguous deciduous forest. Stretching over an area of 278 hectares, it is a protected nature reserve as well as Hamburg’s oldest forest district.

Geology enthusiasts will be especially delighted as the heights of Wohldorf forest can be clearly identified as remnants from the Ice Age (Weichselian glacial period). Many of the terrain formations in the area indicate that they were caused by melting dead ice. In the forest, a soil nature trail provides information on this young moraine landscape. So-called soil profiles – accessible pits with a depth of approx. one metre – allow insights into what the soil looks like underneath the surface, enabling you to see, smell and feel. Moreover, four information boards illustrate how these soil layers were formed over time, as well as their functions and uses. Today, this hilled landscape is still shaped by rivers and water bodies, providing a variety of different habitats.

 

Experiencing the magic of old trees and rare animal species

© Mediaserver Hamburg / Christian Brandes

Moving further north, you continue your discovery tour through the forest. The varied, ancient tree population here is quite remarkable and is attributable to the fact that the area has been protected for so many years. Floodplain woods, alder and beech woods as well as areas with oak, ash and maple trees are but a few examples of the diversity of the flora to be found here. Some places also feature plants such as woodruff and cowslip. To provide favourable living conditions for rare species of deadwood animals and plants, groups of old trees have been placed under special protection. These trees also provide the habitat for rare beetle species.

Many of the resident species are threatened with extinction in other places – four of these are even labelled as “relict species of primal forests”. One beetle that was rediscovered here was actually considered to be extinct for over 100 years. The forest fauna also includes 14 different bat species, otters, as well as rare forest bird species such as kingfishers, woodcocks, wood warblers, blackcaps, treecreepers, mistle thrushes, robins, middle and black woodpeckers, and stock doves. Following the historical-ecological adventure trail with its 30 stations, you will learn about Wohldorf forest as a natural habitat as well as the history of the Walddörfer region. Alongside numerous information boards, you will find a barefoot trail featuring different surfaces, a wobbly footbridge and a long-jump pit – turning your hike into a truly enriching experience. Once you get to the north of the forest, where the Kupferteich pond and the adjacent Brügkamp are located, you can decide whether to extend your hike by a 10-kilometre round trip through Duvenstedter Brook, a nature reserve that is just as appealing.

 

 

Marvelling at stately homes and enchanting places by the water

© Mediaserver Hamburg / Frau Elbville
© Anna Mueller / Alarmy Stock Foto

In certain light conditions, this part of the Walddörfer seems almost enchanted by particularly beautiful stretches of water. Flowing in from the north, the Ammersbek, a tributary of the Alster Lake, was dammed in two places, creating the Kupferteich and the Mühlenteich ponds. The Kupferteich with its historic copper mill, which, in the old days, would be driven by the flow of water, is an idyllic location that exudes a special sense of tranquillity. The Kupferhof, a neo-baroque yellow villa on a cobblestone path, was used by the Wehrmacht to coordinate German agents during WW2. Today, the building provides short-term accommodation for children with disabilities, allowing them to recharge their batteries in nature with their parents. Further back in history, from 1912 onwards, the villa served as a country residence for two merchant families from Hamburg.

From there, you continue along the Ammersbek to Herrenhäuser Allee, where you will find a stately mansion dating back to 1714. Surrounded by water, this elegant mansion on a little island used to accommodate members of the Hamburg Senate who would collect taxes from the residents of the Walddörfer villages. In modern times, the house was transformed into a cultural meeting place thanks to the charitable Alfred Toepfer Foundation. Astrid Lindgren, the famous children’s book author, repeatedly stayed at the manor house and also celebrated her 80th birthday there in 1987. Today, the listed building is occupied by private individuals.

Once you have reached the southern part of the forest again, you can walk back to Ohlstedt U-Bahn station, from where you can take the U1 back into the city centre.

As a route planner, we strive to put together particularly diverse routes through Hamburg's most beautiful areas. Did you like our Forest route? We look forward to receiving your feedback. To discover even more unique places in Hamburg, take a look at our city map.

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