The Drömling is a nature park in north-central Germany. A former wetland, it was drained in the 18th century for agricultural purposes. Today, it remains sparsely populated and acts as a wildlife sanctuary for endangered birds and aquatic mammals.
A hiking loop through the flat terrain allows you to visit the old canals, some portions of forest, a wetland reserve close to the Midland Canal, as well as some very photogenic allées which still have a pre-reunification air.
A stone road just outside Mieste
The best place to start your hike is the town of Mieste. It is well connected through the Wolfsburg-Stendal railway line and federal highway B188. Two trains depart Wolfsburg and Stendal every 2 hours, alternatively every +/- 30 and 90 minutes. If you arrive by car, you can leave it on a public parking lot at the corner Thälmannstraße/Riesebergstraße.
From the train station or the parking lot, head southwest on Thälmannstraße and turn left at Hopfenhorster Straße. There are houses for one more kilometer, after which begins a southbound stone road. Along the way there are some woodlands which are worth exploring. You can also turn left at the Friedrichskanal or the river Ohre, which you will find after about an hour. I once made a shorter hike along the river and saw an otter, storks and many mallards.
After some six kilometers, you'll reach the tiny settlement of Piplockenburg. The nice pub/café is somewhat crowded on the weekends, and there is also a horse farm which organizes ride outs. The Midland Canal runs just south of Piplockenburg. Don't cross it, but rather turn left and admire the Flachwasserzone Mannhausen ("flatwater zone"), the only part of the Drömling which resembles what the complete region looked like 300 years ago.
After two kilometers of walking along the canal, turn left on the next bridge. The next few kilometers are probably the most beautiful of the whole trail, with an enchanted single-track road bordered by birks. You can explore the canals and river from this side, too. At some point there is also a traditional little café where you can stop for an inexpensive piece of homemade cake.
A photogenic allée
In the settlement of Breiteiche, you'll see a sign for Mieste. You can also walk a bit longer if you continue northeast to the town of Sachau, but the road between Sachau and Mieste has no sidewalk and is somewhat dirty. Therefore, I would recommend you to head back at Breiteiche. It's about 5 km from there to complete the loop.
The appropiate footwear are low-cut trekking shoes. The elevation gain is minimal, but the terrain is not always too solid.
You can buy beverages in Piplockenburg, so you don't have to carry too much water yourself.
If you make the hike in late summer, take a basket or a cloth bag to collect wild mushrooms. You'll find more ceps and parasols than you can pick!
Ceps collected along the trail