The excursion leads through a section of the Wahner Heide to the Leidenhausen estate (Gut Leidenhausen). The Wahner Heide is one of the largest nature reserves of European importance in North Rhine-Westphalia. The north is a former military training area, today part of the “National Natural Heritage” of the Federal Republic of Germany and owned by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt. The south of the Wahner Heide is still used as a military training area by the Bundeswehr. Through military use and targeted maintenance and conservation measures, special biotopes that provide habitats for many endangered animal and plant species have been and can be developed and preserved on these areas. The wide open spaces are kept open by goats, Glan cattle, donkeys and water buffalos. The large, coherent natural area is an important recreation area in the Cologne/Bonn region with a total population of almost 1.3 million. In order to guide access to the area and inform visitors about its outstanding quality, paths were marked, orientation boards erected and visitor centres set up within the framework of regional cooperation.

The historic manor Leidenhausen is situated on the edge of the Wahner Heide and hostsone of the four visitor information centres on the Wahner Heide and Königsforst. The municipal estate is home to nature-related associations that communicate common environmental education topics. In the forest school of the Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald Köln e.V. more than 5000 children are taught about forests and nature every year. Gut Leidenhausen has been an environmental education centre for Cologne since 2018.

Hike (7 km) – Route: Busenberg, Geisterbusch, pastures, Hutewald, Offenlanderweiterung, approach lane, Paradeplatz, recreation area Leidenhausen, Allee der Jahresbäume, nature playground, Gut (Map Excursion Wahner Heide)

Guided by the Head of Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt Naturerbe GmbH, the Federal Forestry Company Rhein-Weser and City of Cologne.