Lüneburger Heide

It is already blooming !: The natural wonder of Lüneburg Heath emerged from an environmental disaster


There is a rule of thumb for the heather blossom – it is “08.08. until 09.09. “. However, times can change depending on the weather, rainfall and hours of sunshine. This year the first buds of the heather blossom opened at the end of July, currently 15 to 45 percent (depending on the area) are blooming due to the high temperatures of the past few days, such as the “Lüneburg Heath GmbH “ communicates.

In the next few days, the Lüneburg Heath will bloom completely and then turn into a purple sea of ​​flowers. Incidentally, the heather on the Turmberg near Oberhaverbeck is already in full bloom, and there is already the famous “purple shimmer” on the heathland on Wietzer Berg in the Südheide, which attracts so many tourists to the region every year.

The typical plant is the sand heather, which is now in full bloomPhoto: dpa picture alliance

The natural spectacle is so popular that even police officers are on duty to ensure that tourists adhere to the rules of nature conservation and find their way back safely after the visit. But as popular as the Lüneburg Heath is – hardly anyone knows how it was originally created.

Only the heather can thrive here

The cause was an environmental catastrophe: namely the once uncontrolled deforestation of the land, also because the wood was used as fuel for the Lüneburg salt pans. The frugal heather was the only one that could thrive on the depleted nutrient-poor soil.

“The Lüneburg Heath owes its origin in large areas to the use of wood by humans,” says Julia Hallmann from the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park Foundation. Today it is important to preserve the areas as a historical cultural landscape.

Mowing is done by the sheep

Mowing the heath is largely done by heather herds. Burning the surfaces has also been practiced for centuries. In order to give the surfaces their characteristic mosaic-like structure, which creates sufficient habitats for biodiversity, only a part is burned down. Firefighters then protect the juniper trees, which are typical of the Ellerndorfer Heide near Uelzen.

Heidschnucken sheep.

Typical inhabitant of the heath: the Heidschnucken sheep. Photo: dpa picture alliance

More than 30 beekeepers with around 800 peoples also belong to the Ellerndorfer Heide area. The approximately 75 hectare area belongs to the Rheinmetall Forest Administration, which issues the beekeepers with a permit for their area. “After the immigration date, it starts,” says beekeeper Hermann Hilmer from Dreilingen.

Bee on flower

Bees love the nectar of the flowersPhoto: dpa picture alliance

The bees get the nectar and pollen from the heather. The visitors to the moor do not notice anything. In order not to disturb the bees at work, the beekeepers bring out their green boxes behind the inconspicuous bee fences very early in the morning. “Sometimes it buzzes a little more when the bees are in the heather,” he says.