Ja, natürlich!
Altmühltal-Radweg (Beilngries)

Press releases

The Altmühltal Nature Park and Its First 50 Years

A Nature Park in the “Homeland of the Archaeopteryx”

The Altmühltal Nature Park and Its First 50 Years

In the Altmühltal Nature Park hikers walk on high-quality trails through fields dotted with junipers. Bikers ride along bizarre rock formations that tower near the bike trails and canoeists paddle along banks with lush meadows. Here, environmental protection and love for nature and sustainable tourism are joined since over 50 years as in 2019 the Altmühltal Nature Park celebrated the 50th anniversary of its foundation.

The landscape of the Altmühltal Nature Park is an open window on geology: 140 million years ago, in the Jurassic, a subtropical lagoon with islands and reefs covered the region almost entirely. The region’s imposing limestone rocks and the quarries rich in fossils, where the spectacular petrified specimens of the "primeval bird" Archaeopteryx have been found, still testify to those remote times. In following ages, the Danube opened its new way through the rocks and eroded the wide valley where today the Altmühl River is flowing. Among the most unmistakable landscape peculiarities of the region one is due to man: the valleys’ slopes have been tilled in order to create new pasturelands. This was the origin of the typical fields with junipers that today are among the Altmühltal’s environments most rich in species. Traces of Celts and Romans are still visible in the region, too, and historical cities like Weißenburg, Eichstätt, Beilngries, Berching and Kelheim tell about their past during the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Baroque.

A group of local politicians wanted to preserve the great richness of natural and cultural landscapes of the region and at the same time to make it accessible to everyone. In 1969, thanks to their engagement the association "Naturpark Altmühltal e.V." was founded in the Neues Schloss castle in Pappenheim. Thus on that day the Nature Park was born. At that time, the largest nature park in Germany with a surface of over 3,000 square km was created where the Bavarian, the Swabian and the Franconian regions meet, over wards and districts. Today the Altmühltal Nature Park has an over-50-year successful history and boasts among other flagships of sport tourism as the Altmühltal Bike Trail (Altmühltal-Radweg), one of the most popular bike trails of Germany, and the walking trail Altmühltal-Panoramaweg with the quality certificate "Wanderbares Deutschland".

In the Altmühltal Nature Park visitors will discover stone quarries that open a window on the Jurassic world, move along rivers crossing the entire region, and know closely surface and underground masterpieces created by water. They also will manage to get to know rare environments like dry grasslands and natural woods looking for the most beautiful beech, as well as discover the great gastronomic variety of the region.

Here, it is possible to discover the world of itinerant sheep farming and flocks of sheep that have been preserving the Altmühltal Nature Park’s landscape for centuries and avoid the afforestation of the peculiar fields with junipers. In addition, this kind of itinerant breeding makes the lambs’ meat particularly tender and aromatic, which is recognizable from the quality certification "Altmühltal Lamb" (Altmühltaler Lamm). In Mörnsheim, the moving of herds to summer pastures is celebrated in great style with a handicraft market and – of course – gastronomic specialties with lamb meat. Then, herds come back at the end of the season and this event is celebrated as cheerfully as in May in Böhming, a hamlet of Kipfenberg.

If you wish to observe herds pasturing you do not need necessarily to move on foot as virtual reality comes into play in Riedenburg. Together with Essing, Kelheim and Bad Gögging, this lovely town in the eastern Nature Park is part of the "model region for nature-based tourism" ("Modellregion Naturtourismus") of the district of Kelheim, in the Altmühltal Nature Park. This project aims at making special moments in touch with nature accessible to everyone. Each tourist information office is focussing on a specific topic. Since the Spring 2019 in Riedenburg visitors can get to know the importance of shepherds and herds thanks to digital technology. A movie has been produced for this purpose, too. It is also possible to call up rare pictures and educational videos characterized by an easy language. Thanks to these new offers, even visitors with deambulation problems can approach this ancient tradition typical of the Altmühltal Nature Park.

For pictures and more information please contact:
Zentrale Tourist-Information Naturpark Altmühltal
Notre Dame 1 • D-85072 Eichstätt
Phone no. 0049-(0)8421-98760 • Fax 0049-(0)8421-987654
E-mail: info@naturpark-altmuehltal.de • Internet: www.altmuehltal.com