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Münsterland Dülmen Wildpferde Herde, © Tourismus NRW e.V.

Hohe Mark Nature Park


Wild horses and blaz­ing heath

Wild horses, blaz­ing heath, a zoo and much more: The Hohe Mark Nature Park of­fers ex­cit­ing activ­it­ies for kids and adults.

At the point where Mün­ster­land, the Rhine­land and the Ruhr Area meet lies Hohe Mark Nature Park, one of the largest in North Rhine-West­phalia. Here, the ex­pans­ive park land­scape of Mün­ster­land al­tern­ates with forests and busy lakes, both nat­ur­al and man-made. Sil­ber­see II near Hal­tern, for in­stance, was once an or­din­ary quartz sand ex­cav­a­tion site. Nowadays it is a fa­vour­ite haunt of swim­mers, while bird-watch­ers can with a bit of luck spot the rare sand mar­tin, which breeds on the north-west shore.

In nearby Dül­men, the fam­ous wild horses owned by the Duke of Croy are a big draw for vis­it­ors. The wild horse sanc­tu­ary in Mer­feld­er Bruch with its al­most 400 wild horses is home to the last re­main­ing herd in Con­tin­ent­al Europe. The hardy and good-natured an­im­als are mostly left to fend for them­selves. The sanc­tu­ary only provides hay at a small num­ber of feed­ers in par­tic­u­larly cold and snowy weath­er. In spring, sum­mer and au­tumn, vis­it­ors can ob­serve the peace­fully graz­ing horses and their lively foals on walk­ing paths or on a guided tour. One un­miss­able event that draws loc­als and tour­ists alike is the an­nu­al wild horses round-up in Mer­feld­er Bruch, an ex­tens­ive area of moor and heath­land. This is the time when catch­ers chase after the wild year-old stal­lions in or­der to cap­ture them with their bare hands. Strength, skill and stam­ina are called for here, as the nimble horses are quick to get away. Once caught, they are either sold at auc­tion or raffled and tamed in or­der to start a new life draw­ing car­riages or as trekking ponies.

Multi-at­trac­tion nature park with seal of qual­ity

The wild horses are of course well worth a trip to Hohe Mark by them­selves. But there is much more to see and do in this nature park, which was awar­ded a seal of qual­ity by the As­so­ci­ation of Ger­man Nature Parks in 2009. In winter, an im­press­ive spec­tacle awaits vis­it­ors to the Westruper Heide, as the old heath­er is set ablaze to make way for new growth. There is also plenty to see in the his­tor­ic zoo at Raes­feld Castle, where herds of fal­low deer and red deer were re­cently re-es­tab­lished. Chil­dren will love the nature play­ground, where the at­trac­tions in­clude bal­an­cing poles, a low rope course and pine-cone throw­ing.

Fur­ther ad­ven­ture awaits at Heidhof in the Kirch­hel­len Heath in Bot­trop. This former farm prop­erty of the in­dus­tri­al­ist Friedrich Grillo has been trans­formed in­to a nature activ­ity centre. With its camp­site sur­roun­ded by nature, idyll­ic cot­tage gar­dens with splen­did shrub­ber­ies, herbs and medi­cin­al plants and a forest play­ground, there are plenty of sights and activ­it­ies here for young vis­it­ors. Guided tours and ex­cur­sions for school-kids, fam­il­ies and adults are also offered. Then to round off the day, vis­it­ors can cook sup­per at one of the bar­be­cue areas ? pos­sibly sa­vour­ing freshly-caught game from the nearby forests.

Wild horses round-up in Mer­feld­er Bruch: An­nu­ally on first Sat­urday in May

Images and videos


Be inspired: images of your NRW

Münsterland Dülmen Wildpferde  , © Tourismus NRW e.V.
Münsterland Dülmen Wildpferde Fohlen, © Tourismus NRW e.V.
Münsterland Dülmen Wildpferde Herde, © Tourismus NRW e.V.

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