It does not always have to be the Harz Mountains. A trip into the northern Harz foreland can also be delightful. For examples that applies to the hybrid castle of Liebenburg. For hunters of destination stamps, the hiking trail offers three attractions: the Schröderstollen, the former Bockwindmühle Liebenburg and the castle church on top of the Burgberg. With a total length of 15 kilometres and mostly flat trails it is an easy walk altogether.
Hut jamboree in the Harz foreland
We head for the bus stop “Schule am Schloss” at the city limits of Liebenburg and arrive at the parking lot that belongs to the forest café “Hüttenzauber”. That ensures already the coffee party after the hike. It is a great start for us! I downloaded the trail description for “Station 4. and 5. round trip Schröderstollen and former Bockwindmühle Liebenburg” from the online-plattform “outdooractive.com”. Why this walk has been labled as “difficult” I cannot say but it does make sense to me. Maybe it is because of the trail’s length. To me the technical and physical demands are manageable.
We walk through a little park and thus reach the main street of Liebenburg. A beautiful seigniory catches our eye. It used to be a manor steeped in history. As we do not want to walk alongside the road as stipulated in the description we decide to ask somebody for an alternative. We are lucky. A nice elderly lady recommends the country road towards Groß Döhren to us which is a really nice walk.
Having reached the next village the description is a little bit vague. However, we manage to reach Klein Döhren without any problems and aks there for further directions. When the lady starts her explanation by saying: “I actually do know of only one stollen (drift)” my imagination runs riot and I finish the sentence in my thougths with “… and that is the stollen you eat at Christmas.” Fortunately, the lady could not read my mind; her explanation helps us to find the way to the Schröderstollen instantly. At this place I get my first destination stamp of the day. Close to the drift there is also a geological path, however we have to keep this trail in mind for another time as our way continues in direction of Neuenkirchen.
The burned-down mill
We walk on another country road providing us with a nice view onto Groß Döhren. Near Neuenkirchen we ask a couple on bikes for further directions to the former Bockwindmühle Liebenburg. “To the Bockwindmühle?” they ask astonishingly. “It’s gone, it has been burned-down.” Well, we already know that, however it is the way we have to go. Finally we traverse the “Schafbade”-Bridge, turn right firstly and then left into another country road leads us directly to Liebenburg. Though we did not see the former mill ground.
Black broth in dowdy hollow-ware
Back at our starting point we are looking forward to our coffee break. The “Hüttenzauber” is packed, still we manage to get a table outside right in the garden. I order a cup of coffee, the product delivered suprises to me. It is not because of the rather dowdy hollow-ware the coffee is served in that irritates me but the luke-warm black broth (the coffee looks like tea) I get. It is really a pitty as the forest café makes a good impact from the outside and the staff is friendly. My hint: there are very good coffee machines available today making a really nice Café Crème.
The hybrid castle of Liebenburg
We pay for our stuff immediately as we want to visit the Burgberg next. Both, the castle church of Liebenburg and the Hausmannsturm (a lookout) are tempting. On top of the hill we are welcomed by some youngsters listening to music coming from the car radio. This seems to be a popular “hang-out” even though the acoustics is overamplified. A park with sculptures belongs to the castle. We do not understand the meaning of the sculptures. I send a photo taken by my mobile to an adept friend of mine asking: “Is this art?” She answers: “… or can it be disposed?”
The castle itself is half church, half castle. The western part is a catholic church, the eastern part used to be the trial court of many times.
Rediscover the homeland!
We intend to visit the outlook on the Bergfried. The tower offers a magnificient view onto the Brocken and its foreland. The evening sun turns the whole scene into wonderful warm light. The trip to Liebenburg is really worth it and I guess it was not our last time.