Finding a Hiking Trail at Your Doorstep

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Day Hiking in Germany

 

Find a hiking trail at your doorstep –

Wolbeck near Muenster

For years now, we have spent most of our summers in Germany, mainly in the northwestern city of Münster.

Germany is where we discovered hiking, and we used Münster as the base for many hiking trips around the country, but for some strange reason it had never occurred to us to explore the countryside right in front of our doorstep.

Not until this year, that is.

"Behind Drostenhof a hiking trail at your doorstep in Wolbeck Germany"

The Münsterland, the area around the ancient cathedral city, is distinguished by its large number of moated castles, but after a couple of excursions to some of these Wasserburgen, we felt like doing something different for a change:

  • Something that could also be done, in this notoriously unstable summer, on the spur of the moment.

  • Something where we could look out of the window at 9 am or even 10 am and say: yeah, let’s go – and still put in a full day’s hiking before returning the same evening.

Wolbeck near Münster fitted the bill perfectly.

OK, some of you will ask: why is Easy Hiker telling me about this? Does he seriously expect me to travel all the way from Wisconsin or Singapore to take a walk in Wolbeck to look at some delinquent horses?

Well, perhaps not. You would of course be welcome if you decided to come – and, literally, be my guest. Write me an email, and if I happen to be in town, I will invite you for a cup of coffee. Seriously.

But what I really want to say is this:

Every town has its own Wolbeck, so I bet yours has one, too: a place around the corner from where you live that you may have been driving through occasionally and whose name you may have heard so many times that you think you are quite familiar with it even though you never actually have found the time – or had reason enough – to visit it.

This place has a stately home, perhaps, and a bit of forest around it – but there have always been homes statelier and forests more enticing elsewhere, or maybe they just seemed statelier and more attractive because they were further away.

There is, of course, a lot to be said in favour of hiking trips far away from home, but a lot in favour of “small escapes” in that hiking trail at your doorstep, too.

The Wolbeck trail has no major sights, mountains or majestic views, but you don’t necessarily need any of that to have fun.

"Aristocratic home Drostenhof along a hiking trail at your doorstep seen from the courtyard in Wolbeck Germany"

The trail was not marked and we went by a written description, but this description had been written up a few years ago, and needed, shall we say, some rigorous interpretation.

At one stage, we had to jump over a trench. Okay, I admit: as far as adventures go, this is hardly Indiana Jones material (although I am willing to act as an adviser for the forthcoming Indiana Jones and the Potato Field), but it beats a stroll down the local High Street for excitement any old time. We got a little lost, too, of course, but that’s also part of the fun.

No hike is complete without a little adversity (and the overcoming of it, of course)

So, if you haven’t got the time to come to mine, visit your own little Wolbeck. You will be happy that you did.

Now, if you do happen to be in Muensterland and thought of doing this Wolbeck trail, here’s how to do it: Take the no 8 bus from Münster Central Station and descend at Wolbeck Market before walking back a few metres and turning towards the old building you will already see looming ahead of you.

"Aristocratic home Drostenhof in Wolbeck Germany"

This is the Drostenhof, a 16th century aristocratic residence and easily the most handsome building in town. (Parts of it are now used as a museum and can be visited.) Just behind the Drostenhof, turn right into Drostenhofstraße and, after a few hundred meters, right again where this lane joins the main street (the Hofstraße).

"The Angel River seen from a bridge over the Angel in Wolbeck Germany"

Cross the small river – called the Angel – and stay on the main road until you spot a forest on your right hand side. Turn right into this forest on a small supply road called Tiergarten. After a kilometer or so, you will cross the Angel again. Turn left immediately behind the bridge, leaving the main path.

Hunting lodge of the Prince Bishop of Muenster in Wolbeck hiking trail

On your left hand side, you can see the old hunting lodge of the Prince Bishop of Münster – built in the 18th century when bishops, even though their secular power may already have been on the wane, were still expected to entertain in a grand style and were quite often fairly grand aristocrats in their own right. (The Prince Bishop at the time was the Count of Bavaria, apparently a particularly vain and pomp-loving cleric whose le-diocèse-c’est-moi antics nearly emptied the Episcopalian coffers.)

"Wolbeck easy hiking trail"

Continue on the path – which is unmarked: so watch it and be on your toes – until you reach the residential buildings of a large farm. Turn right into the straight forest path on your right and then left at the first major crossing.

Continue down this alley until you arrive at a busy road (called “Am Steintor”) with a railway line on the other side. Follow the small path on your left through the high grass, and after a few steps you will see the railway crossing straight ahead of you. Cross the road as well as the rails and into the forest.

From here onwards, it becomes a little tricky.

Turn 90 degrees to your left after about 400 metres and take another sharp left about 300 metres after that. Just before you reach the Steintor road again, turn into the small forest on your right and right again after app. 100 metres.

"Gut Berl horse jumping school in Wolbeck hiking trail in Germany"

If you have done all this properly, you will be walking straight through a place called Gut Berl, past show-jumping courses and rows of stables with barred windows, a facility which must be a prison for equine miscreants. (We can only imagine what terrible crimes these horses must have committed. Did they refuse twice at the oxer? Were they too slow over the triple combination? We shall never know. If this prison yard could talk …)

The path through Gut Berl leads you straight into another small forest. When you meet the street, turn left until you hit the river Werse.

"Waking along the River Werse on Wolbeck easy hike in Germany"

Follow the idyllic river path, past Haus Dahl, a pretty 18th century farm, before crossing Hiltruper Straße (turn right for app. 100 metres, walking on the bicycle lane, before continuing in a northern direction) and continuing until you reach the road called Am Angelkamp. Cross this road and take the bus No 8 back to Münster (in the daytime, buses arrive every 15 minutes).

The trail covers just under 10 km, so even if you departed late, you should be back in time for tea.

"Our easy hike map in Wolbeck Germany"

Our easy hike map in Wolbeck

3 comments to Finding a Hiking Trail at Your Doorstep

  • I’ve been to Rome once or twice but sadly only as a tourist staying for 3 days. Now that you tell me there are wooded parks there, I’ll certainly make sure to get to know them too, with you as guide, Simon.

  • You are so right, Michael. Too often we look very far when there are lovely places to explore much closer. I guess that’s one of the reasons why I am so much in love with Rome and its awesome parks. Over there, you can have a great time walking in the woods or the green alleys, stopping in a café to read a good book, and then go on exploring.

  • Jeremy Branham

    Looks like a beautiful area to explore!

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