Infotafel am Geostopp Deilbachtal, © GeoPark Ruhrgebiet

Geo­Park Ruhrge­biet

From block field to blast fur­nace

Dis­cov­er the world’s first geo­park in a con­urba­tion and learn how rocks and soil in­flu­ence our lives in Geo­Park Ruhrge­biet.

A geopark in the middle of the Ruhr Area? In the middle of Europe’s third-largest conurbation? How could that be possible? Well it is! In 2005, GeoPark Ruhrgebiet was certified as a national geopark in Germany. It is in fact the world’s first geopark located within a conurbation, and in keeping with the history of the Ruhr Area, it mainly focuses on the region’s coal and steel heritage. In other respects, however, it fulfils the brief of a geopark, namely to raise awareness of geology. Geoparks are created to help people understand how the landscape they see around them was originally formed, what rocks and raw materials lie beneath their feet, and how geology and soil types influence land use. In other words, how does a region’s geology affect our daily lives and how did it influence the lives of our forebears?

GeoPark Ruhrgebiet contains as many as three national geotopes. The 4,500 km2 park is dotted with several places of geological interest, including the bizarre block field near Hemer, the cradle of coal-mining in Witten and the world’s oldest fossilised flying insects, which were discovered in a brickworks in Hagen. More than one hundred geologically significant sites bear witness to the fascinating origins of this region, giving visitors unique insight into the relationship between natural resources and socio-economic development, especially as a result of the mining industry. The ground has been excavated in many places, so visitors can experience at first hand the rock and fossil record of the past 400 million years.

GeoRoute Ruhr in the south – bustling cities in the north

Located where Germany’s low mountain ranges meet the North German Plain, the landscape within the geopark offers plenty of variety. The south of the Ruhr Area is particularly rich in geotopes. The best way to explore them is with a leisurely walk or an extended hike in the idyllic landscape of the Ruhr valley. Here, in the cradle of the coal-mining industry, coal seams reached right up to the surface in many places. The GeoRoute Ruhr takes walkers on a 185-kilometre route from Schwerte to Mülheim an der Ruhr. Hiking guides and information boards point the way through the geological, mining and cultural history of the Ruhr Area. The GeoRoute Ruhr links up with over 20 different mining- and geology-themed hiking paths to create a varied 300-kilometre-long network.

In the north, visitors encounter the bustling cities of the Ruhr Metropolis with their colossal mineworks and coking plants, many of which have been transformed into fascinating venues for culture and the arts. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex and the Zollern Colliery in Dortmund, to name two examples, today provide impressive showcases for exhibitions, music and literature. Many of the region’s old slag-heaps have also been developed for visitors. The Hoheward slag-heap in Recklinghausen, for instance, has become an imposing landmark offering panoramic views. The landscape of GeoPark Ruhrgebiet opens up towards the north. Here, the development becomes less dense and more expansive patches of green become evident where the central Ruhr Area meets Münsterland. This part of the geopark is ideal for cyclists, who can take a journey back in time to the Cretaceous period and the Ice Age.

Opening hours of the Information Centre of LWL-Industriemuseum Zeche Nachtigall (Nightingale Coal Mine Industrial Museum):

Tuesday - Sunday and public holidays: 10:00 - 18:00

Map of NRW

Images and videos

Be inspired: images of your NRW

Besucherbergwerk Graf Wittekind, © GeoPark Ruhrgebiet
Infotafel am Geostopp Deilbachtal, © GeoPark Ruhrgebiet
Geologischer Garten Bochum, © GeoPark Ruhrgebiet

More in­form­a­tion

about Geo­Park Ruhrge­biet

Learn­ing from nature

Damwild Kolbenhirsche im Wildwald Vosswinkel, © Karl-Heinz Volkmar

Wild­wald Voss­winkel

Read more
Der ganze Panarbora Baumwipfelpfad aus der Vogelperspektive , © Tourismus NRW e.V.

Panar­bora nature dis­cov­ery park

Read more
Das Stahlwerk in Duisburg präsentiert sich heute in grünem und buntem Gewand, © Thomas Berns

North Duis­burg Land­scape Park

Read more
Infotafel am Geostopp Deilbachtal, © GeoPark Ruhrgebiet

Geo­Park Ruhrge­biet

Read more
Die Scheuerbachsenke in der Wahner Heide zeichnet sich durch ihre Dünenlandschaft aus, © Bündnis Heideterrasse e.V._

The Wahn Heath

Read more
Der Rursee im Nationalpark Eifel, © Nationalpark Eifel - Nationalparkverwaltung

Guided forest walks & ranger tours in Eifel Na­tion­al Park

Read more
Wisent Welt Bad Berleburg , © Tourismus NRW e.V.

Wis­ent-Wild­ness Wit­tgen­stein

Read more
Sauerland Medebacher Bucht , © Tourismus NRW e.V.

Medebach Bay in Sauer­land

Read more
Gymnicher Mühle, © Rhein-Erft-Kreis

Gym­nich Mill

Read more
Ausblick auf die Aggertalsperre, © Klaus Stange

The reser­voirs of Ber­gisches Land

Read more
Sauerland Möhnesee Panorama , © Tourismus NRW e.V.

Möh­ne­see: The “West­phali­an Sea” in Sauer­land

Read more
Ausblick auf den Wupperlauf, © Gunnar Bäldle

The Wup­per

Read more
Wasserentnahmestelle an der Siegquelle, © TVSW Fotograf Siemon

Land of springs in Sieger­land-Wit­tgen­stein

Read more
Seit 2013 bringt die Lippefähre Radfahrer und Wanderer auf die andere Uferseite, © Lippefähre Dorsten

The Lippe flood­plain nature ex­per­i­ence

Read more
Ruhrgebiet Duisburg Landschaftspark Windmühle , © Tourismus NRW e.V.

In­dus­tri­al Forests of the Ruhr

Read more
Aussicht auf die Rieselfelder, © Münsterland e.V.

The Rie­s­elfeld­er Mün­ster bird sanc­tu­ary

Read more
Erfrischender Wasserlauf im Naturpark Schwalm-Nette, © Naturpark Schwalm-Nette

Schwalm-Nette Nature Park

Read more
Ausblick in die Natur, © Sprave Regionalverband Ruhr

Bis­lich­er In­sel wet­lands near Xanten on the Lower Rhine

Read more
Der Rursee im Nationalpark Eifel, © Nationalpark Eifel - Nationalparkverwaltung

Eifel Na­tion­al Park

Read more
Die Wandergruppe unterwegs in der Natur, mit einen Ranger, © Sauerland-Tourismus e.V. /  Foto Tanja Evers

Ranger tours through the forests of south­ern West­phalia

Read more