Spring's first vibrant rays of sunshine weave magnificent blooming carpets of pinkish-violet Corydalis cava and white wild garlic blossoms onto the forest floor. Then the ancient beeches close their canopy. But autumn will return with radiant glow: The variety of thirty different deciduous tree species makes for a spectacular display of colours.
- UNESCO recognition: 2011
- Protected area: Hainich National Park
- Beech forest region: Subatlantic-Hercynic
- Area: 1,573 ha
- Number of component parts: 1
- State: Thuringia
- Altitudinal range: colline-submontane (low mountain range, 225 - 490 m above sea level)
- Fauna: European wildcat, Bechstein’s bat, Middle spotted woodpecker
- Primeval forest in the heart of Germany © T. Geisel
- Wood anemone © M. Hornschuh
- View from the canopy walkway © T. Geisel
- European wildcat © T. Stephan
- Great spotted woodpecker © J. Blank
- Decomposition of dead wood © T. Stephan
- Grey-faced woodpecker © J. Blank
- Tawny owls © J. Blank
- Nature Experience
The national park features varied walking tracks and adventure trails, some of which are accessible for people with a disability. Several exhibitions provide an impression of the diversity of the native deciduous forests and their inhabitants. A 500-metre-long canopy walkway offers particularly spectacular vistas of the forest habitat. In the village of Hütscheroda, European wildcats and lynx can be observed by everyone. The World Heritage Site itself can be experienced on walking and cycling tracks. There are five National Park information centres located around the national park. They are an ideal starting point for walking and hiking tours.
With their high proportion of dead wood, the deciduous forests present with extensive areas of scrubland, and with an exceptional wealth of species and structures. Hainich National Park impresses with its great diversity of tree species, and the size, integrity, and character of its unfragmented limestone beech forests are unrivalled.
- Flora and Fauna
Alongside the flora and fauna that is typical in mixed deciduous woodlands, a range of highly specialised species can also be found at Hainich National Park. The European wildcat, Bechstein’s bat, the Middle spotted woodpecker, highly endangered saproxylic beetles, orchids, and numerous species of fungi are all found here. The extensive scrubland areas are home to rare species such as whinchat, barred warbler, red-backed shrike, and Eurasian wryneck, along with countless insect species.
- Beech Forest Type
Spanning an area of 7,500 hectares, Hainich National Park protects typical low-mountain range beech forest on limestone. The wood barley beech forest is the predominant forest type here. The main tree species that accompany the European Beech are sycamore, European ash, and European hornbeam.
The area was a restricted military zone for decades. Large sections of the forest were therefore not or rarely accessed. For four decades now, forest stands were able to grow without interference. However, enormous tracts of land were also cleared, providing now an impressive example of natural afforestation. Since the National Park’s designation in 1997, all usage was discontinued, and central areas have remained untouched for some 50 years.
National Park Administration
Bei der Marktkirche 9
99947 Bad Langensalza
Phone: +49 (0)361-57 3914 000
Fax: +49 (0)361-57 3914 020