The ELZ located between Frellstedt, Wolsdorf and Helmstedt is probably not part of the most prominent hiking trails within the region and thus tends to be sidelined. Therefore reason enough to bring up this “ridge” for once.
Heading for Tekenberg!
I start my tour in Frellstedt, a small town about 8 kilometres away from Helmstedt. It is a very hot day and there is a dozy calmness hanging over the place. Starting at the railway station I turn left direction of the town centre. I am lucky to meet some locals working in the garden. My first destination is the Tekenberg, the starting point of the round trip through the Elz. The helpful gardener gives me directions for the shortest way to the hill. A real lucky chance as I find out soon, because without his help I would not have been able to find the short cut right at the end of the village.
Arriving at Tekenberg the “big tour” starts. There is hardly any signposting, only the marker showing numbers like “1”, “2” and “3”, indicating trails which differ in their length. I’d like to start with the former mining plant “Grube Wilhelm”. Once again I am lucky to meet a stroller with five dogs. The poor creatures are trying to beat the heat – they hackle heavily.
The nice lady assures me that it is not possible to get lost within the Elz. The forest is too small and whenever the trail ends I could just return to the forest the same way.
Mining plant Grube Wilhelm
Right at the start of the tour I reach at the former railway station of Wolsdorf the information board of the former mining plant “Grube Wilhelm”. The table holds some information on the area’s coal mining history. Unfortunately it is not possible to go inside – I am a little bit disappointed. I expected more than this somehow.
Just close to the plant the forest begins. However after a short period of time I realize what the lady was talking about, I have reached the forest’s border already. It happens every once in a while. One time, just right after the picnic area “Schwarze Brücke” (black bridge) I find myself on the way to Helmstedt.
About 1,5 hours later I’ve seen the whole place. I would not call this a long walk it is rather a stroll. On my way back to Frellstedt I let the environment work its magic on me. I discover some cows with its calves and enjoy the idyll. This is where I shoot the picture “group portrait with mummy.”
Encounter with the gatekeeper
Back at the railway station of Frellstedt I am in for a big surprise after all. I hang around platform one a little bit irritated and actually want to change to platform two. However, platform two does not really exist it is rather a grass strip. A sign in front of two small crossing gates tells me that this grass strip can only be stepped upon when the barriers are open. Hm, but, they are closed by now. Should I just cross the rail track? There is a lady on platform one – enjoying a cigarette. I adress to her and ask her how the system works. At that time I do not know that she is the gatekeeper of the place. She explains the procedure to me and I learn that she will be open the barriers right after the train has arrived. I am amazed, I did not expect that. I am surprised that in the age of digitalization manual systems like this still exist.
My conclusion: Even if the Elz is not a real hiking destination I still consider this to be an interesting excursion.