To the south of the Lüneburger Heide, only a few kilometres from Celle and situated between the idyllic little towns of Eschede, Hermannsburg, Müden/Örtze, Unterlüß and Winsen an der Aller, lies the Südheide Nature Park, which covers an area of around 480km².
The soil, geology and the shape of the land here in the park were formed during the last ice age; until the middle ages, the sandy soil was covered by sparse mixed forests with oaks. Over the following centuries, these areas were exposed by overgrazing and burning, and the forests were cleared. The poor, sandy soil was gradually covered by vast expanses of heather. At the end of the 18th century large areas of the heath was reforested, including forests in the Südheide Nature Park, which are mainly coniferous with pines and spruces. The heart of the nature park is the Lüßwald, an 8,000m² expanse of forest, which is one of the largest areas of woodlands in Niedersachen. The Lüßwald, which has a natural tree growth of mature beech trees and oaks, lies in the north-east of the park. From the verdant green leaves that emerge in spring to the golden autumn leaves, the park provides a magnificent setting for long walks, cycle trip or horse rides in all seasons. The ancient river valley of the Aller and Örtz, with its characteristic edge and source moors, which were formed by the meltwater streams of the glacier, bear witness to the impact of the ice age on the region.
Only a few roads and railway tracks cross through the sparsely populated Südheide Nature Park. The tranquillity and remoteness of this pristine heathland landscape makes it the ideal haven for a wide variety of endangered flora and fauna. Cranes, black storks, otters, brown trout and freshwater pearl mussels can still be found here. The small Lutter River, for example, is home to more than 160 endangered species of plants and animals. One very important part of the landscape are the small patches of heath around and in the forests around Müden/Örtze and Hermannsburg, which are a popular attraction in August and September when the heather is in bloom.
The Südheide Nature Park is best explored on foot or by bike. The many kilometres of paths and trails in the park pass through a varied and very attractive countryside. For horse riders the well-signposted network of firm, sandy bridle paths provide ideal conditions for long excursions on horseback. You can also explore the heath around Hermannsburg and Müden/Örtze in a horse-drawn carriage.