Watery Nettetal Forest on the Dutch border
Nette Lakes Great Bittern project ©Naturpark Schwalm-Nette
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Schwalm-Nette Nature Park – rivers, lakes and fens, and some fantastic hiking

These woodlands, fens, lakes and heaths are hugely popular with holidaymakers from the nearby towns along the Rhine, Ruhr and Maas rivers and from across the border in the Netherlands.

A well-signposted network of walking and cycling trails, for which maps are available, makes it easy to find your way around. In 2012, nine new premium trails were opened, ranging from 5.9 to 15.5 kilometres in length, each one affording magical views of the water. In total, there are 97 kilometres of trail that in spite of – or perhaps because of – their flat profile are actually extremely diverse. And the range of activities on offer at the reserve is as varied as the landscapes in Elmpter Schwalmbruch and Brachter Wald. For those interested in more cultural pursuits, there are watermills, castles and manor houses to explore. Don't miss the moated Tüschenbroich mill or the historic towns and villages. Museums include the Flax Museum in Wegberg and the Lower Rhine Open-Air Museum in Grefrath. In addition to the cycling and hiking, you can also enjoy sailing, swimming, ice skating and – especially popular – canoeing on the Niers river, while those looking to find out more about the area should head for the three nature park centres at Wachtendonk, Wildenrath and Brüggen, which host nature and landscape exhibitions and provide information about the reserve. In 1976, the nature park, which was founded in 1965, was incorporated into the German-Dutch Maas-Schwalm-Nette nature park, which also includes several districts of the Dutch province of Limburg and the Meinweg National Park.

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