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Ahn Palmberg Traumschleife 2

The Loveliest Walks in the Moselle

Set up ten years ago, Dream Loops (Boucles de Rêve in French and Traumschleifen in German) are walks that have been mapped out and certified by the German Hiking Institute. Three of the Premium walks are in the Luxembourg Moselle – in Schengen, Ahn and Manternach. So get your walking shoes on!

SCHENGEN WITHOUT BORDERS
8.1km/3hr30/altitude difference: 366m
Level of difficulty: moderate

Walk this loop and discover the Stromberg, the limestone hill upon which Schengen sits. The northern part of the Stromberg is in Luxembourg, whereas in the southern part you’ll find yourself in France. It is a protected nature reserve on both sides of the border.

On the steep slopes is a forest densely populated with beech trees – and given the gullies and scree slopes, nature’s tenacity here is quite a spectacle in itself. Dotted along the walking route are signs so you can learn all about the diversity of the ecosystems, the different plant species (some rare e.g. ferns, orchids, etc.) and the animals which live here (around sixty bird species, some of which are protected: the grey-headed woodpecker, Eurasian eagle owl, etc.).

Although there is an explosion of nature, this is only a recent phenomenon. Until the end of the 19th century, the Stromberg was almost completely cleared as there was extensive mining for rocks and minerals. The scree we see today is the scars left by these activities from the past. Sandstone (freestone), gypsum (mined and then turned into plaster), dolomite (freestone, lime, paving stones, steel manufacture) and quartzite (aggregate) were highly prized resources.

This rich geological substratum offers a great habitat for growing vines. On the French side, facing the sun, the Stromberg is a renowned winemaking area. A large proportion of its vines belong to Luxembourg winemakers who can use these grapes in their wines. Another way that Schengen’s European character expresses itself – since it was here that the 1985 Agreement was signed which opened up the borders between Benelux, the Federal Republic of Germany and France and then the whole of Europe.

 

PALMBERG AHN – WINE AND NATURE
8.8km/3hr40/ altitude difference: 384m
Level of difficulty: moderate

This is one of our country’s loveliest terroirs, a little corner that time has forgotten. At the bottom of the valley flows the Donverbach, a trout river which thinks it is a mountain waterfall: after rain it’s always quite a sight! Ahn, the small village with picturesque, narrow lanes and a remarkably high density of winemakers, is at the river’s mouth.

Heading north, the landscape becomes enclosed by dolomite cliffs, a hard rock that was mined until 1959. This south/south-east facing rocky outcrop stores up the heat during the day and then releases it at night, making the Palmberg the hottest point in Luxembourg! And this can be proved, as the Palmberg in the only place in the country where boxwood grows naturally and where the mountain cicada sings. Boxwood, a Mediterranean shrub, is called Pällem in Luxembourgish; this is where the name Palmberg comes from.

This dream loop passes through terraced vineyards where mainly Riesling grows. There are also many ecosystems to be discovered in this astonishing place. You’ll walk through the forest with its gullies, cross the river and then follow its banks with pollarded willows – everything is explained by signs posted along the walking route.

 

MANTERNACHER FIELS
9.6km/3hr30/altitude difference: 276m
Level of difficulty: moderate

 

Here you’ll leave the Moselle to go and explore its hinterland. And here the vineyards are no more than a memory kept alive by this plot hidden away in the forest, the last remaining evidence of winegrowing which was extensive here until it was hit by the phylloxera crisis at the start of the 20th century. There is now a conservation programme to restore the dry walls on the terraces.

Further down, it’s very green… and wet! In Luxembourg’s largest scree forest, the limestone blocks (some are simply spectacular) are covered with thick moss, ivy and lichens. Small canyons cut into the cliff, making it look a little like the Müllerthal. And yet this rough soil hasn’t stopped the forest from growing profusely. Maples, oaks, elms and lime trees thrive in a microclimate which is cooler than elsewhere.

Although it’s extremely rugged topography has kept away human activity for over 50 years, this was not always so. In the 19th century, there was a lot of industry in the Syre valley and the ten or so windmills once scattered along it are evidence of this. The paper industry was particularly important and still exists today. Certain structures in this area were quite elaborate, such as the canal bridge that runs underneath the railway bridge. Nowadays the forest is protected, and path maintenance is the only activity authorised here. Just 30km from Luxembourg City and a completely different world is waiting to be discovered!

An important anniversary – walking shoes required!

To mark the tenth anniversary of the Luxembourg Dream Loop scheme, each loop will be celebrating with its own anniversary walk. The first walk has already taken place in May, on the Stromberg where walkers got together with their dogs.

The next anniversary walk will be on 4 August on the Palmberg and is being jointly run by the Miselerland Regional Tourist Office (ORT) and the Nature and Forests Administration. The theme will be the five senses and several stations will be set up along the route to explore taste, smell, touch, vision and hearing.

Finally, the anniversary celebrations will conclude with a tasting-themed walk on 29 September in Manternach, when there will be regional products to taste along the route. This walk is being jointly organised by the Manternach Tourist Office and the Regional Tourist Office.

www.visitmoselle.lu

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