The route can start at any point, but this description starts in Buchholz at the Suerhop station and, like all Orbit routes, runs clockwise. A few general words: restaurants, supermarkets etc. are rather few. Sufficient water is important, rivers, streams etc. are rare, churches with cemeteries, where there is water for watering flowers, are more common, especially in the otherwise lonely Wendland. The bike should have tires as wide as possible, as this section contains many, very sandy sections, as well as rough forest paths, and, of course, gravel! In Buchholz, the gravel roads begin in the residential area, through the picturesque village of Lüllau to the Bossard art colony. The first small field of heather, the Töpsheide, continues through the forest. Passing a gigantic rhododendron (left, in the middle of the forest) you come to Ollsen, then you’ll have crossed the narrow meadow. Now the climb to Ahrberg is waiting, uphill through an impressive beech forest, before a valley opens. Shortly after the route leads under the A7, and you continue on a somewhat asphalt-heavy section to the tournament area Luhmühlen, one of the international centres of cross-country equestrian riding. A large forest area leads to Reppenstedt, where the route of the Lüneburg Landwehr follows. We leave it at Bardowick. After a few kilometres of forest it goes straight under the old Neetze Canal, which is vaulted over by trees. You briefly cross the (modern) Elbe Side Canal on a road bridge, then on to the Neetze Canal. A dry moor area leads to Blepfede, which is flat as pancake, and supplies can be refilled at supermarkets. From Bleckede, the route roughly follows the course of the European long-distance hiking trail E6. First on the dike along the Elbe, until climbing awaits you again in Alt-Garge. After some great views of the Elbe, it then continues once again inland. A constant up and down, through hall-like beech forests, the Orbit opens up time and again to valleys with meadows and fields. After adventurous and demanding kilometres along the Drawehn ridge (an ice age moraine), the Hohe Mechtin, a 142 m high elevation, is crowned by a 30 m high observation tower. From now on it gets flatter, the conifers increase. You get to Bad Bodenteich, where you change from Wendland to Südheide, with almost endless coniferous forests, developed by well-maintained, well-gravelled roads. You might call it gravel heaven! Estimated approximately 30 km gravel, only very few crossings of small, paved roads! Shortly before Müden / Örtze, you meet the Heidschnucken hiking trail, which leads us roughly back to Buchholz. In Wietzendorf you pass the Südseecamp, one of the largest German campsites. Then you cross the A7 again, Soltau with a supermarket sits close to the route. Along the Heidebahn line you proceed past the Heide Park, where you find solitude. The North Heath begins. On Döhrensberg, you will almost certainly encounter large swarms of ravens in an untouched landscape. Straight ahead you come to Hof Tütsberg. Here the landscape opens up, wide heaths to the left and right. From Niederhaverbeck through the Heidetal to the Wilseder Berg – a tourist hotspot – which is nevertheless beautiful. After a few kilometres in the forest you come to the Büsenbach valley, another scenic gem in the northern heath. Back into the forest, on forest roads, you climb a few more metres of altitude in the Lohberge before the last ascent: the Brunsberg. Now downhill through the Höllenschlucht back to the Suerhop station!
Scout Orbit Niedersachsen
Germany's 1st Gravel Series
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