Although Winsen an der Aller has lost its official title of a climate health resort in 2010, it wasn’t because the air quality has worsened, rather because of higher requirements such as a spa centre and a minimum percentage of 50% three star hotels. The village in the Celle region doesn’t fulfill these two requirements, but anyway you can spend a highly enjoyable and healthy weekend here, in the Lueneburger Heath. Good accommodation is provided not only in hotels, but also at camping grounds just next to the meadows of the Aller. There are some sightseeing spots and restaurants, where you can eat well and enjoy local German cuisine. In this article though I want to talk about possible outdoors activities in Winsen an der Aller - breathing clean and refreshing air, while doing sport in nature. Hiking in the surrounding German pine forests, or cycling on the well prepared and connected bike routes or doing a canoeing trip on the Oertze leading into the Aller, are great opportunities in Winsen Aller to satisfy outdoor enthusiast’s needs.
As Winsen an der Aller is surrounded by forests, it is pretty easy to find a nice route, whether it is by bike or on foot. One of my favorite is towards the Kalka lake. It lays hidden in the forest between South Winsen and Hornbostel. You can get there either by car or by walking or biking through the pine forest, as I very much prefer.
If you arrive with your car, park it at the border of the forest between the village’s football club and the meadows of the Aller and go for it. Follow the main track until it meets up with the main street, cross over, go right and after the industrial complex go to the left onto a little trail. It leads you directly to the main Kalka lake. The lake has beautiful sand beaches, inviting everyone to take a dip. On a calm day the clear water of the lake is a mirror displaying the cloud constellations.
You can go further as the main Kalka lake is just one of many more smaller lakes, which are mainly frequented by the members of the local fishermen club. Furthermore, there is a huge sand dune, awaiting to be discovered.
The Oertze stream and the Aller river offer great opportunities to do canoeing. While the Aller river is a broad and slower river, especially good for beginners, the Oertze is a fast and narrow stream - at certain points too shallow for your canoe to pass - It can be quite a challenge. You'll find nature in the form of trees and plants, trying to invade the Oertze. Sometimes you have to do fast turns and take quick decisions to avoid obstacles. A higher level of canoeing skills for the helmsman at the back of the canoe is recommendable. Perhaps you could think about keeping your belongings like smartphones and wallets in a waterproof bag as overturning can easily happen. It is a lot of fun though, and the Oertze stream is so fast that apart from the helmsman, the other crew members can relax without paddling, and enjoy nature passing by.
There are several entrance points - the shortest route would be from the Oertze bridge to Winsen an der Aller, which takes two to three hours. Another popular starting point is from Wolthausen’s bridge, taking around three to four hours to arrive at the bridge of Winsen an der Aller. There are even longer routes starting from Bannetze or further afield, Hermannsburg. The latter takes about five to seven hours and isn’t recommendable if you don’t know the Oertze stream yet. Furthermore, check the water and weather conditions. Sometimes the Oertze stream is too shallow and other times it is breeding season (birds) and canoeing is forbidden. Check both before starting your journey. If you don’t want to rent canoes and organize the trip yourself, there are companies who offer Oertze tours from Hermannsburg to Wolthausen or from Hermannsburg to Eversen.
Cover picture © Credits to iStock/olli0815