Mother Holle is making her bed

During the cooler months, when the frost glitters in the morning sunshine and the mist wafts around the treetops, a long walk can have a charm all its own. Your walking boots rustle through the fallen leaves or crunch through freshly fallen snow as you look forward to the Thermos of hot tea in your rucksack. The days are short, so one of the short circuits along the Saar-Hunsrück trail makes perfect sense.

One of them is the nine-kilometre ‘Mother Holle’ loop through dense forests and the idyllic Wadrill valley near Reinsfeld. Mother Holle is also the name of a rocky slope. Legend has it that if you look into its cracks, you can see the eyes of the fairy-tale figure of Mother Holle, who was said to make snow when she shook out her bedding. You just need to look very closely, and maybe you could give her a little wave to get her to give the bedding a good shake.

The fairy-tale walk through the Schwarzwälder Hochwald begins and ends at this rock formation. The circular route, much of which overlaps with the Saar-Hunsrück trail, is a good walk at any time of year.

An impressive rocky slope, said to be the home of Mother Holle, Hunsrück

An impressive rocky slope, said to be the home of Mother Holle, Hunsrück

The starting point is the walkers’ car park on the B407 between Reinsfeld and Kell am See. The first challenge is the ascent of the Taubenberg. Once you have climbed the 100 metres in altitude, your efforts are rewarded with sweeping views of the forest and the spa resort of Reinsfeld. Then, the path leads downhill through unspoilt countryside and typical pine forests to the valley of the Lauschbach. The route follows the course of the stream to the beaver dam on the Keller Steg. It carries on past the Beidelstein to the banks of the Wadrill, and then follows the river for the remainder of the circuit.

Signpost on the ‘Mother Holle’ loop, Hunsrück

Signpost on the ‘Mother Holle’ loop, Hunsrück

Snow-covered ‘Mother Holle’ rock formation, Hunsrück

Snow-covered ‘Mother Holle’ rock formation, Hunsrück

The ‘Mother Holle’ circuit meets the 25th stage of the Saar-Hunsrück Trail at the Keller Steg. There are options to extend the circuit here, either by some 4.5 kilometres to the Grimburger Hof or by 6.5 kilometres to Kell am See on the Saar-Hunsrück Trail in the other direction.

The 26th stage of the long-distance hiking trail starts on the northern bank of the lake and heads towards the Riveris Dam, covering varied terrains from wide Prussian forest paths to narrow woodland trails leading through dense mixed forests to the ‘Weyrichsbruch’ spring fen. You can also take a diversion into the secretive fens along the boardwalk. You head along the edge of the forest, past the path to Holzerath, over meadow paths and the Roman road, approaching the ‘Roman Camp’ picnic area behind a little beech forest. This affords wonderful views over the village of Bonerath, into the Moselle valley and over the volcanic peaks of the Eifel. The next two kilometres are all about the views. Paths through meadows and fields lead you down to the hikers’ car park on the edge of Bonerath. From there, it is a climb across the heaths and through the forest to the Riveris Dam. You can enjoy the best views over the forest-lined reservoir from the longest bank, which forms part of the Saar-Hunsrück Trail.

The route from Kell am See to Riveris is about 14 kilometres long. The whole 26th stage of the Saar-Hunsrück Trail follows a 20-kilometre route via Waldrach to Kasel.

Two hikers walking along a stream on the ‘Mother Holle’ loop, Hunsrück

Two hikers walking along a stream on the ‘Mother Holle’ loop, Hunsrück

More travel highlights for nature lovers in the Hunsrück region:

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The loveliest long-distance hiking trail stages

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