The mountain meadows with their wealth of flowers in the high-altitude areas of the Sauerland show the most beautiful aspects of the region. Around Winterberg you will find the most significant examples of this habitat in North Rhine-Westphalia.
The nature reserve "Mountain Meadows near Altastenberg", situated at an altitude of 600-770 meters above sea-level, consists of species-rich, montane grassland communities. Mountain meadows are among the most endangered habitats in Europe, because they are dependent not only on the mountain climate, but also on haymaking, an increasingly rare form of land use. The characteristic species of mountain meadows are Golden Oat Grass, Northern Hawksbeard, Wood Cranesbill and Black Devil's Claw. As a feature of the LIFE project ‘Mountain Meadows’ a very interesting theme trail, the "Bergwiesenpfad" was created here.
In addition to the mountain meadows, you will see mountain heaths, Mat Grass fields and montane tall forb communities with Alpine Blue Sow Thistle and Pond Water Crowfoot on your way around the circular trail.
In good weather you have a good chance of seeing the emblem of the Mountain Meadow Trail, the glossy-orange Scarce Copper butterfly.
The mountain meadows are particularly beautiful before they are mowed in July.
Best time of year
You will sometimes be hiking through pastures with cattle. Please behave thoughtfully towards the animals in order to avoid dangerous situations.
As in any nature reserve, dogs have to be on a leash but special consideration is required in order not to frighten the grazing animals.
Near the car park in the direction of the "Kapelle" (chapel), there is a portal notice board with information about the area. From there follow the "Bergwiesenpfad" mountain meadow trail, which is marked by the orange butterfly and the word "Naturweg". You will find more information boards at the seven theme stations. The trail sometimes consists of narrow paths and in places goes through pasture land, so that some sections can be muddy or dirtied by cow pats.
all notes on protected areas
The closest bus stop is called "Astenstraße" (about 3 minutes’ walk to the starting point of the trail).