High Fens-Eifel Nature Park
Home of the beaver and wild daffodils
Admire a yellow sea of daffodils, look out for beaver, roe-deer and dippers and take in breath-taking views at the High Fens Nature Park.
Upland moor and reservoirs, forested mountainsides, deeply carved valleys, millennia-old caves and impressive biodiversity: the High Fens-Eifel Nature Park straddling the German-Belgian border is a true paradise for nature-lovers. Here, nature is being left to its own devices to provide a wild and beautiful spectacle for visitors.
One particular highlight for visitors to the High Fens-Eifel Nature Park are the evocative wild daffodil-filled valleys of the Olef, Perlenbach and Fuhrtsbach rivers. The flowers had previously all but disappeared, having been displaced by spruces and other non-indigenous plants following the Second World War. But thanks to the committed efforts of conservationists, the valleys have been restored to their natural state and are now filled with broad-leaved species once again. This means that visitors can come every spring to admire the dazzling spectacle of a sea of yellow flowers.
Encountering rare animals and plants on tours taking in the wild side of nature
The restored natural landscape has been re-colonised by many rare species of flora and fauna. If they are lucky, visitors can spot the starling-sized dipper, which is recognisable by its white breast and its fondness for swimming and diving. The very rare violet copper butterfly, which has been around since the Ice Age, has also made its home in the daffodil glades. The park organises guided tours and visitors can also admire the sea of flowers at their own pace on a network of paths. Rivalling the daffodils in the brightness stakes is the gorse, known locally as “Eifel gold”. It emerges in early summer to produce a sea of golden-yellow flowers. The best place to see it is on the Dreiborn Plateau to the south of the Urft reservoir. Walkers should keep their eyes peeled here for glimpses of roe-deer, a stealthy fox or the shy wild-cat between the bushes.
It is also well worth climbing one of the many mountain ridges for fantastic views of distant landmarks and of the glistening lakes below. The best look-out points are the designated “Eifel views”, which offer nature park visitors a welcome rest while they gaze at the beautiful landscape. One inhabitant of the High Fens-Eifel Nature Park which can only be found on low ground is the industrious beaver. Recently re-established within the park, the animals build their lodges by the river-banks and are also able to find enough wood for their expertly constructed dams. A group of beaver families is doing particularly well on the Rur river.
Close to the Rur is the Wildniswerkstatt Düttling centre in Heimbach. This 100-hectare wilderness area provides fun-filled activities for kids and teenagers. Day-long projects and wilderness camps are regularly organised in the forests and meadows, and there are a number of well-developed hiking paths. Many of the activities are accessible to all.