Brilon-Alme (51.449413 | 8.622434)

Birth and growth

Spring pond with 104 springs, surrounded by an old deciduous forest.

It is quiet. Now at midday the songbirds seem too sleepy for concerts. The fresh scent of water mint accompanies me, bunches of meadowsweet make the air taste of honey and vanilla.

Coming from the south, I walk through the gorge-like Mühlental, towards Alme. No mill is to be seen, no brook, after which the village was named. In search of its source, I follow a dry stream bed that leads north in gentle curves. My idea of a spring looks like this: There's a small wall, peeking out is a gargoyle whose thin stream flows into a basin, above it the sign "XY Quelle".

Bank an der Almequelle

Behind one of the meanders I experience something that completely overturns my ideas. The miracle of a birth: First there is nothing but dust and stones. Only a few meters further, a shimmer appears, coloring the gray stones silver. Then it glitters more strongly, a trickle and trickle everywhere, without anything being heard, as if someone had turned off the sound. Only two or three steps further, the water becomes more lively. Air bubbles push up from below like strings of pearls and ripple the surface in small circles. Truly, this spring is bubbling.

Now the Alme begins to make sounds. It purrs, sighs, bubbles. It is growing fast. A few meters further, I already experience her as someone who pushes quite a wave and draws attention to herself with pubescent roaring. How does she gather this power? Where does all that water come from? After another few minutes of walking, the spring grows into a stream several meters wide, flowing unrestrainedly. Together we reach a large, dammed-up pond at the edge of the village. The Alme becomes quiet, as if it wants to reflect. And yet it retains its innate vivacity. With rising bubbles and rings on the crystal-clear water, it betrays other underground tributaries that feed it. The pond is also a source.

Grüner Blick auf die Almequellen

I have an appointment with a resident of Alme who wants to explain this soul place to me. Wolfgang Kraft is involved in the Alme AG on a voluntary basis. The association wants to keep the village alive, despite the pull of the nearby cities. The attraction that the springs exert on walkers and long-distance hikers plays an important role; the local inns also profit from this.

Kraft describes the miracle of the Alme's birth thus: The valley lies on the edge of the Brilon plateau, which consists of so-called mass limestone in the depths. This was deposited here 350 million years ago, from the shells of dying corals, when everything here was sea. The high percentage of lime in the soil is easily washed out, so the surrounding mountains and hills became cracked and pitted on the inside. Rainwater collects underground, and because it backs up against a layer of impermeable shale in the Mill Valley, it emerges here. Conclusion: The Alme actually springs from an ocean.

Pflanzenwelt an den Almequellen

Wolfgang Kraft says that he often walks upstream along the Alme in the evenings. One of his favorite places is the Eagle Owl Rock, from which he can overlook the Mühlental like a bird of prey. "Up here I switch off, come to rest, think again about the day." He worked for a long time at the adult education center, often taking part in natural history and historical excursions. Thus, over time, the spring narrator became a bubbling storytelling spring himself.

Today, the spring, stream and surrounding picturesque landscape are a magnet for nature lovers. Botanists delight in encountering rare plants such as the Pyrenean spoonbill, ornithologists in the songs of blackcaps and robins, and the opportunity to watch the kingfisher, that flying jewel, fish. For the quiet listener, spiritual qualities such as clarity and eternity are palpable. For here it has been bubbling since time immemorial. Creation in action, always the same, always different, always beginning.

Author: Michael Gleich

Creation in action, always the same, always different, always beginning

Michael Equal

The best way to reach the Almequellen is from:

Parking lot: Alme Church

At the Alme Entenstall follow the hiking sign Q and walk towards Buttenberg. Then walk around the Mühlental down to the Almequellen and back to the Entenstall.

For further information please contact the Tourist-InformationBrilon-Olsberg: Tel: 0 29 62 - 97 37 0, E-Mail:

Spring path Alme
Difficulty: medium | distance: 6.5km | duration: 1:55h | ascent: 109m | descent: 109m
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