High altitude or mountain heaths are a habitat for specialist flora and fauna. These include the slow-growing dwarf shrub species that dominate the almost treeless landscape:
Heather, Blueberry and Lingonberry, as well as the much rarer Crowberry and Alpine Blueberry. In summer, the heath is decorated with the glowing yellow flowers of Arnica, an old medicinal plant.
In the area you have a good chance of seeing a Great Grey Shrike sitting at the top of a Spruce tree, or hearing a calling Cuckoo, a bird that has become rare in many regions. The large herd of goats and heathland sheep known as "Heidschnucke" is an interesting sight. Once a year they are put out to graze the area. This preserves the wide, open heathland interspersed with individual trees.
Tips and hintsWhen you are on the hiking trail, you can have the audio files of the Rothaarsteig transmitted to your smartphone via QR code or phone call, or you can download them beforehand from the Internet by visiting the website of the Rothaarsteigverein www.rothaarsteig.de
Getting thereIn Niedersfeld near Winterberg, turn onto the B 480 opposite the bakery called "Isken" - if coming via Olsberg, it’s a left turn; if coming via Winterberg it’s a right. Follow the signs "Hochheidehütte" until you reach the parking lot.
Address for satnavs: no information available
GPS (UTM): 32 U 469167, 5678200
Google coordinates: 51.254320, 8.558170
ParkingFree car parking at the Hochheidehütte
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EquipmentSturdy shoes and possibly binoculars.
To use the audio trail you also need a smartphone and possibly a headset.