Der goldene Pfad

Mindfulness and ruptures (51.255445 | 8.559937)

Mindfulness and breaks

Trail (5 km) at the transition to the Niedersfelder Heid with impulses to experience the landscape at 10 stations.

I feel as if I am entering a sculpture exhibition. A thick green carpet stretches before me, interrupted by a path that leads from exhibit to exhibit, one more unusual than the other. Here a proud pyramid. There an ostrich. A court lady with highly toupeed hair joins a dancing skeleton. But no artist peeled these sculptures from the wood, they just grew that way. Disheveled pines, junipers bent by the wind, all solitary trees, presented to the hiker on a carpet of heather laid out green in summer, purple in late fall. They belong to a gallery of nature at a high level: at 800 meters above sea level lies the Hochheide near Niedersfeld. Of the European mountain heaths, a rare type of landscape, it is one of the largest, covering an area of 74 hectares.

Violett blühende Heidelandschaft vor blauem Himmel mit leichten Wolken am Goldenen Pfad

Until the Middle Ages, mountain tops like this one were covered by dense mixed forests. Large areas of forest in the Sauerland were cleared for charcoal making. The tall trees were followed by dwarf shrubs, especially heather. In our time, the trees began to reclaim their original area. But people found that they found Heid more beautiful and called it nature conservation. The last mighty trunks were cut down to prevent them from sprouting offspring. Since then, the seedlings are removed, and once a year a small herd of heath sheep moves across the plateau and keeps the growth low.

Is that nature? Is that culture? Is it divine art? In any case, the plateau maintained in this way provides the ideal backdrop for the Goldener Pfad, inaugurated in 2015. Its designer, psychologist Reinhard Schober, sends hikers through 'atmosphere baths'. At ten stations, I am invited to perceive the surroundings with all my senses. Listening to the concert of nature at a clef sculpture, focusing the eyes on infinity on the 'landscape balcony', pondering a sentence by Franz Kafka at a blackboard: 'There is a goal, but no way. What we call way is hesitation.' If I pause again and again, engage in the exercises, walking becomes a lesson in 'letting the soul stroll'.

Goldener Pfad bei Sonnenuntergang

For five kilometers the path leads me in wide arcs over the heath carpet. Its highest point is also my personal highlight, the 837 meter high Clemensberg. At the summit, as it should be, with a cross and a summit book. I'm standing on a volcano, an extinct one, whose interior consists of hard diabase rock. From up here, a landscape shows itself that is rural-lovely and at the same time also full of breaks. Meadows, fields, woods and hedges frame small villages and hamlets. But just below the Clemensberg, a diabase quarry digs into the earth, I look at smooth, deep cuts and bare rock. A wound in the green skin. I don't know if the scouts were aware of the effect of this summit view. In me it brings up many thoughts: about fractures and contradictions, not only in the landscape, but also in my own life. About wounds that are still open and those that are already healed. And about the wonderful ability of man to unite opposites and to create something completely new out of it. Something comes together in me after the alternating baths of the Goldener Pfad. It feels round and joyful.

Author: Michael Gleich

Something is coming together within me after the vicissitudes of the Goldener Pfad. It feels round and joyful.

Michael Equal

The Goldener Pfad is best reached from:

Start from the Hochheide hikers' parking lot at the Hochheide hut in Winterberg-Niedersfeld: follow the signs to the Hochheide hut, also continue along the gravelled track, all the way up to the parking lot. From the parking lot, the path leads straight ahead for about 200m until you reach the Goldener Pfad's entry point. Please just follow the signs from there on.

For further information please contact the Tourist Information Winterberg: Tel: 02981/92500, E-Mail:

Der Goldene Pfad - Hochheide landscape therapy trail
Difficulty: Medium | Distance: 4.7km | Duration: 1:10h | Ascent: 64m | Descent: 62m
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