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Totengrund – a wild and romantic valley

Popular destination near the Wilseder Berg

Totengrund is a hollow of about 30 hectares at the edge of the Wilseder Berg. In 1906 Pastor Wilhelm Bode bought this area from donation funds to preserve its beauty. So this is the cradle of the Nature Reserve Lüneburg Heath, established in 1921.

Heather, as far as the eye can see

This hollow situated 1 km south of Wilsede probably developed in the ice age. Nowadays impressively prominent juniper trees and heather grow here. The name derives most likely from the barren ground so that the farmers once called the dry valley Toter Grund (dead ground). Along with the Wilseder Berg, the Totengrund belongs to the best-known places in the Nature Reserve Lüneburg Heath. Already at the beginning of the 20th century the scenic landscape attracted many visitors.

On foot, by bicycle or by carriage

In order to protect this valuable heath landscape it is not allowed to access the Totengrund but you can admire it from a viewing platform. Several hiking trails run along the upper rim of the valley e.g. the loop trail Behringen or the loop trails Oberhaverbeck. The Totengrund can also be reached by bicycle or carriage. Ober- and Niederhaverbeck, Undeloh, Döhle and Sudermühlen are popular starting points. After having seen the Totengrund, it is worthwhile to make a detour to the Steingrund – a stunning heather area with juniper and boulders.

Private initiative of Pastor Wilhelm Bode

At the end of the 19th century Pastor Wilhelm Bode from Egestorf wanted to preserve typical Heath areas for future generations. He made efforts to protect the heather areas right round the Heath village Wilsede with its special features Wilseder Berg and Totengrund. He could acquire the university professor Andreas Thomson from Münster as a well-funded sponsor for purchasing land. So he could buy the Totengrund in 1906 and save it from uncontrolled development.

Cradle of the Nature Reserve

Nowadays the Totengrund belongs to the Verein Naturschutzpark e.V. (VNP) that was established in 1909. The VNP took over the Totengrund and other areas and has taken care of them up to the present. Up to 1913 the VNP had purchased nearly 3000 hectares of land round Wilsede. In 1921 the first protection came into effect – today the Nature Reserve Lüneburg Heath covers 234 km².

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