Land of springs in Siegerland-Wittgenstein
Where springs are reverting to nature
The sources of the Eder, Lahn and Sieg as well as countless mountain streams all emerge from the Rothaar ridge just a few kilometres apart.
The area around Netphen is the heart of the Siegerland-Wittgenstein river country. Here, on the ridge of the Rothaargebirge mountains at an altitude of over 600 metres, the sources of the rivers Eder, Lahn and Sieg as well as countless small streams lie just a few kilometres apart. After decades of diverting springs into pipes, performing engineering works or turning them into treading pools, the “Quellenreich” (land of springs) project is now gradually restoring some of the region’s springs to their natural state.
The starting point was the restoration of the source of the Sieg. Today, this area once again provides a natural attraction for visitors and a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Tranquillity seekers can explore where the Sieg rises along forest trails, wooden bridges and stone steps. The project’s mascot, the small freshwater snail Bythinella, introduces its habitat around the sources and early course of the Sieg along a one-kilometre-long circular trail. The Sieg actually has more than one source. Instead of emerging from a single bubbling spring like the Eder from its little hole – the Sieg in its natural state is a seepage spring, with water emerging from several places.
Reaching the spring by bridge
From the visitors’ car park on Eisenstraße road, a plank bridge leads to the spring, where picnic benches provide a welcome rest for walkers. After crossing a ford, visitors arrive at the most striking feature of the headwaters of the Sieg: the new water outlet. The water flows initially through an open wooden channel and then into a trough hewn into a rectangular stone block. Not only does this look pretty, the spring water that emerges tastes unbelievably fresh.
This unique land of springs is also easily accessible from the Rothaarsteig (Rothaar Trail). The 154-kilometre-long hiking route is regarded as one of the most scenic high-altitude trails in Europe, and it passes right by the sources of the Eder, Lahn and Sieg.