Nordkirchen-Westerwinkel Castle Axis
Parkland and magnificent buildings in Münsterland
Münsterland at its prettiest can be explored on a tour that takes in idyllic parkland and magnificent castles between Nordkirchen and Ascheberg.
Münsterland at its prettiest can be explored on a tour connecting the castles of Nordkirchen and Westerwinkel in Ascheberg. The typical park landscape along the way is dominated by sparse forests and lush pastures. Not forgetting the two magnificent castles at each end of the tour, with Nordkirchen rightly being described as the “Westphalian Versailles”.
Large stretches of the landscape are protected and as such have become important refuges for rare plants and animals. If visitors are lucky, they will be able to spot bats or hear a nightingale while walking among the English oaks and hornbeams, and alongside the fresh herbs and grass.
Those who wish to get closer to the habitat of the bat should follow the circular trail with the bat symbol which passes through the Tiergarten (zoo) nature reserve. At twilight, the bats usually fly through here towards their hunting ground – the moats of Nordkirchen Castle. It is also well worthwhile paying a visit here during the daytime. Families with young children in particular will love the forest discovery path with its tree trunk telephones, an insect hotel and a standing see-saw, which is supposed to develop the sense of balance.
Another circular walk, the “Kaisermantel” circuit, gets its name from the orange-coloured silver-washed fritillary butterfly which can be spotted here in summertime while walking along the unpaved paths with their blossom-filled borders. As many as five different species of woodpeckers reside in the trees hereabouts. In addition to the well-known spotted and green varieties, the rarer black, middle spotted and lesser spotted woodpeckers are also breeding in this area. Plant lovers can come across wild garlic, witchweed and various species of orchids in the Ichterloh nature reserve, which is a stage on the route.
Audio guides full of stories and information
Among the many possible walks along the “Castle Axis” route, two use an audio guide to bring the landscape vibrantly to life. As well as information on local flora and fauna, there are also recordings of poems, music and stories. One story tells the fate of the “last wolf of Westphalia”, which was shot in the 19th century. It is now an exhibit in the Museum of Natural History in Münster.
Visitors keen to discover more can also join a guided walking tour or a natural history excursion – or explore the “Castle Axis” on a romantic poetry-themed walk. And since Münsterland is a region for cyclists as well as walkers, the 100-Schlösser-Route (100 Castles Route) provides a great way to see the sights on two wheels.