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Kreis Euskirchen

Nature Conservation Areas

Orchid Meadow Eschweiler, Bad Muenstereifel

The hills around Eschweiler belong geologically to the Soetenich chalk downs and are characterized by alcaline and highly porous soil. Like in Alendorf, the forest was cut down in the middle ages and since, in order to use the timber for making charcoal. The open spaces served to graze sheep, which prevented the forest from growing back.

On the warm, dry, sparse grassy hilltops vegetation of Mediterranean types has managed to grow, which today impresses the visitor as it is so unusual.

Especially the sparsely grassy chalk with various native orchids attracts people interested in botany every year.

Because the botanical treasures are difficult to find, and as great care must be taken when walking in the conservation area (do not stray off the paths!), guided tours are offered.

Alendorf Juniper Heath, Blankenheim

The arid hilltops of the Alendorf chalky pastures, with their dry grass-land provide an unusual view of the local landscape. It resulted from deforestation and grazing herds of sheep since the middle ages. The forest was unable to grow back; only the spiky juniper trees were left by the sheep. On the open spaces a variety of plants which like heat, unusual for central Europe, have managed to establish themselves, including various kinds of gentians and orchids.

Lampertsbach Valley Dollendorf, Blankenheim

This valley, like the Alendorf juniper heath, belongs to the Dollendorf chalk downs. However, the view here is quite different from dry hills and slopes, but animals and plants which like heat can also be found. Visitors can see types of orchid which like humidity and rare bulb-plants, like narcissus.

Narcissus Meadow Hollerath, Hellenthal

The Narcissus Meadow nature conservation area at Hollerath lies in the Olef valley above the Olef dam. The German-Belgian frontier runs along the river, the largest stock of narcissus lies in Belgium. In April the yellow-spotted meadows - on which the picking of flowers is naturally prohibited - present a magnificent image.

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