Forests, lakes, rivers – and, once a year, magnificent violet blossoms: many special places await explorers in the district of Gifhorn.
Creatures that emerge from the swirling mist, branches that look like fingers: the word ‘moor’ gets our imaginations running wild. But that delighfully eerie feeling isn’t the only good reason to visit one of the two moors that were left behind after the last Ice Age near the town of Gifhorn. Viehmoor to the south-west is an official nature reserve. You can visit it on tours offered by the nature conservation organisation NABU, which start in the neighbouring community of Leiferde. Großes Moor lies a half-hour drive away to the north of the town. Those who follow the nature trail will here discover how this moor was created. Anyone eager to learn will be spoilt for choice – between a five-kilometre walk, a twelve-kilometre cycling tour or a trip on the moor railway.
On two wheels – calm and quiet or loud and dusty
A landscape shaped by the Ice Age: the region around Gifhorn is almost completely flat. And that means level routes for cyclists. A dense network of over 20 different cycling tours offers the right route for any fitness level. A relaxed 20 kilometres, for instance, takes you to Tankum Lake and back to the town. An intermediate route of just under 40 kilometres leads through the Gifhorn heathland nature reserve, where sandy dunes mix with the heathland. For those who are in great shape or ride a pedelec, the trip from the centre of Gifhorn to Lüneburg is around 100 kilometres. And if you like things really loud and dusty, we recommend a visit to Offroadpark Südheide. Here, quad bikers and fans of four-wheel drive vehicles can let off some steam on a site measuring ten hectares. Children are also welcome: there is a quad bike area especially for them.
Animals and plants in perfect harmony
In August, the popular heather blossoms right at Gifhorn’s front door. Those with little time or who don’t have a car can admire the flowers near the town on the Gifhorn heath. The colours become even brighter towards the north, for instance in Heiliger Hain near Wahrenholz, which, measuring 56 hectares, is the region’s largest area of heathland and is home to rare animals such as black grouse, cranes and the hen harrier. Other heathland areas include Rössenberger heath not far from Oerrel and Repker Schnuckenheide near Hankensbüttel. The latter was given its title thanks to a herd of sheep of the same name. The Heidschnucken sheep look after the heathland using natural methods. Incidentally, did you know that flora and fauna on the moors help each other? The Heidschnucken sheep keep the heath free from pests and eat small grasses that would otherwise take up space that the sea of colour needs to flourish. This lets the plants glow again each year in August and impress visitors from near and far.
Built near the water
Sun lovers from the region don’t have to go without a beach, either. As soon as temperatures allow, the lively beach scene takes off at Tankum Lake near Isenbüttel. There’s fun to be had here, no matter how you like it: sun worshippers and castle builders on the kilometre-long sandy beach, thrill seekers on the water slides, walkers in the shady pine forests and day dreamers in the sunbathing areas.
Water fans aren’t the only ones who love the cool water: carp, trout, eels and more also make the lake worth a visit for anglers. And, for those who really want to take an in-depth look at the lake and its inhabitants in the truest sense of the phrase, there are diving courses. Measuring 570,000 square metres, this body of water is a haven for surfers and sailors and can be explored easily by pedal boat or stand-up paddleboard.
Fitness fans don’t just get strong arms from paddling at Tankum Lake. The surrounding area offers even more opportunities for everyone who wants to set sail – or rather, paddle – with a canoe or kayak. On the Aller, Ise and Oker rivers, canoeists and kayakers can find popular routes that start just a stone’s throw away from Gifhorn. But water skiers and wakeboarders will have the sorest muscles by far: on a 684-metre-long area on Bernstein Lake in Stüde, a summer adrenaline kick is an extra bonus.