43 Ginsberger Heide - Ginsberg Heath

Heath, moor, fields of Mat Grass and nutrient-poor meadows characterise the Ginsberg Heath near the town of Hilchenbach. Forests of Birch, Beech and Maple frame the open landscape here.

Ginsberg Heath (Ursula Siebel)
Ginsberg Heath (Ursula Siebel)

Heath and Woodland

The Ginsberg Heath lies southeast of Hilchenbach. Extensive forests with a large number of dead trees adjoin meadows, heaths and moors. The ruins of Ginsburg Castle overlook this landscape. From the observation platform of its imposing tower, you have a fantastic panoramic view of the mountain ranges of south Sauerland, Siegerland and the Westfälische Bergland. On a clear day, the view extends to the Rhenish Siebengebirge or even to the Hohe Acht mountain in the Eifel, 103 km to the southwest.

The Ginsberg Heath, today again free of Spruce trees, is situated on a partially boggy plateau about 600 metres above sea level. Some parts of the thick peat layer of the low moor are covered by moorland forest consisting of Downy Birches. The location of this rare forest community is marshy, extremely acidic and very poor in nutrients. Under den Birch trees, sphagnum mosses form dense cushions. On the moorland meadows, the Narrow-leaved Cottongrass and the even rarer Hare's-tail Cottongrass flourish. Both of these can be recognised by their woolly-white seed heads. Marsh Violet and Marsh Cinquefoil also grow here. The drier areas of grassland comprise nutrient-poor meadows and Mat-Grass. Tall forb communities thrive along the headwaters of small streams. With luck, you can see a Red-backed Shrike sitting on the willow bushes in the summer. Hunting Red Kites and foraging Black Woodpeckers and the rare Black Stork can also be occasionally observed.

In the Beech forest you will see numerous dead trees. The dead wood of thick tree trunks and branches is an important habitat in the forest. A large area of forest northeast of the Ginsburg castle ruins was designated as a wilderness forest and left to natural development. Here, many animal and plant species occur that are dependent on old and decaying trees, for example, numerous fungi and wood-dwelling insects. These are so-called primeval forest relict species and are highly endangered.

The deeply-cut, northwest-exposed ravine of the Hohlsterze Stream offers very special scenery. Its cool and humid depths harbour a ravine forest of Sycamore and Ash trees. The saplings of these two species of trees grow so quickly that they out-shadow the Beech here. Large stands of Perennial Honesty occur in the ravine forest.

Contact: Biologische Station Siegen-Wittgenstein