Pastor Bode Trail (44 km)
"On the old, of birch-lined country road that leads from Lüneburg right into the heart of Lüneburg Heath, two lonely walkers trek. They are both Wilhelm Bode. Their path takes them via Salzhausen to Egestorf ... ". This was Easter in 1877 and so begins the biography of the famous heathland pastor Wilhelm Bode (1860-1927).
The walk that led the young Wilhelm to Wilseder Berg with his father awakened his love for the heathland. As pastor of Egestorf, he worked tirelessly to preserve the heathland.
The purchase of Totengrund in 1906 and the founding of the Vereins Naturschutzpark in 1909 were on his initiative. He is the reason for today's nature reserve.
The Pastor Bode Trail follows the tracks of the heathland clergyman and conservationist. It begins at St Michaelis monastery in Lüneburg, where the Bode family once lived. Through Kalkberg Nature Reserve, the trail leads past Reppenstedt, Kirchgellersen, Westergellersen to Luhmühlen and further on to Salzhausen. The co-operative hospital still exists, founded by Wilhelm Bode in 1898 as a pioneer of the co-operative system in the region. He was also committed to the construction of the railway line from Egestorf to Winsen/Luhe, along which the trail continues as far as Egestorf.
From Egestorf the trail leads from Radenbach into the secluded heathland village of Wilsede. One can imagine that the parish pastor often took this path – it is one of the most beautiful ones which leads to Wilsede.
Verein Naturschutzpark e.V. (VNP)
Wilhelm Bode was one of the founding members of the Verein Naturschutzpark eV (VNP), which was founded in 1909 in Munich. The association set itself the goal of setting up three nature conservation parks: a high mountain park in the Alps, a park for the uplands, and one here, in Lüneburg Heath. It is thanks to the work of the VNP that this historical landscape still exists and its cultural and ecological significance is appreciated. Today the VNP owns or maintains all the heathland areas in the Nature Reserve.
Further information about the work of the VNP can be found at www.verein-naturschutzpark.de
Kalkberg is in the middle of the town of Lüneburg, not far from St Michaelis monastery. The name is somewhat misleading because it does not consist of limestone (‘Kalk’ in German) but of gypsum. Gypsum was mined and used as a building material for more than 800 years