The second nature tour travels to unspoilt nature in a closed-down smelting works, wild bees in a world cultural heritage site, the Roman town of Colonia Ulpia Traiana and the “Two lakes hiking trail” through the Maas-Schwalm-Nette nature park.
World cultural heritage honey and along the Ruhr river by houseboat.
From industrial culture to the “Wasserbahnhof” river station
In the Duisburg-Nord landscape park, industrial culture meets nature. Where steel used to be smelted and hammered hard, today, there is a colourful park which is slowly being reclaimed by nature, and which is being used in many different ways. Take a dive in the gasometer, try out alpine climbing in the former ore storage bunker, or complete a high rope course in what used to be a casting bay. Anyone wanting to clamber right up to the top can enjoy the view onto the green Ruhr area from a former smelting furnace.
There is more industrial culture combined with untamed nature to be experienced in Essen. In the Zeche Zollverein UNESCO world cultural heritage site there are no sports on offer; instead, this is an example of how nature and industrial culture can be harmoniously combined. The park is a habitat for bees, and numerous other insects and even amphibians such as the natterjack toad have made their home here. Visitors gain really surprising insights into the variety of species living on this disused industrial site. Honey bees, wild bees and bumblebees even produce cultural heritage honey here. It’s definitely worth trying!
Onwards by boat. For those who like to tread the pedals, the Weiße Flotte houseboat is a good way of gently travelling along the Ruhr river - with a house for cooking, sleeping and relaxation always to hand. The boat trip ends at the idyllically situated water station on the Schleuseninsel island in Mülheim. The island is criss-crossed by numerous cycle and footpaths, and a beer garden offering a great place to relax.
Beavers, monastery gardens and Romans
Through the floodplains to the amphitheatre
On the second day, the tour travels to the Bislicher Insel island on the Lower Rhine river. The romantic floodplains contain rare plants and animals. Wild Arctic geese arrive in October and overwinter here, and great white egrets also find refuge in the water landscape. For visitors wanting to find out more about beavers, there’s a guided excursion to the sand and gravel banks, where they can hunker down and observe these small rodents, or at least discover their tracks.
The tour continues to the gardens of Kloster Kamp monastery in Kamp-Lintfort. Visitors can enjoy a walk around the monastery, through the baroque terraced garden and a flower and vegetable garden. In the fragrant herb garden, kitchen and medicinal herbs are grown, and Friday is herb day. As well as information and guided tours, visitors are also given the opportunity to taste the different herbs on this day. Anyone wanting something more substantial for lunch can make their way to the Lippeschlösschen restaurant in Wesel. The NRW culinary ambassador for the Lower Rhine region, Ullrich Langhoff, treats his guests to special dishes typical of the region here.
After taking time out in the monastery garden and enjoying a hearty lunch, tour participants are taken on a journey through time. Follow the traces of the Romans in the largest open-air archaeological museum in Germany, the Xanten archaeological park with the Roman town of Colonia Ulpia Traiana. The town walls and their gates, hostels, the port temple and the amphitheatre have been rebuilt to scale. The arena, where gladiator and animal fights were once held, is now used as a unique backdrop for rock concerts, operas and musicals. For night owls, there are guided tours in darkness from September to March. Tour groups are guided through the park and into the dark arches of the amphitheatre by the light of Roman lanterns.
“Two lakes” hiking trail
Through meadows, forests and heath landscapes
The final day of the tour begins in the Maas-Schwalm-Nette nature park. In the “Wasser.Wander.Welt” (“water.hiking.world”), a large number of paths have been laid for hikers and walkers, which lead along streams, rivers and lakes, across meadows, through forests and heathland,. The “Zwei-Seen-Runde” (“Two lakes”) premium hiking trail near the Schwalmtal valley winds its way through wetlands to the Laarer and Borner See lakes. Here, too, visitors can discover rare animals and plants, including lilies and marsh marigolds, as well as the tracks of beavers, badgers and martens.