Love at first sight.
... was when Bärbel Michels discovered the Old Forester's Lodge in Rehsiepen in the quiet Schmallenberg Sorpe Valley at 600 metres, which was for sale. "I immediately dreamed what could be made of it." 47 years ago, the home care nurse bought the house together with her husband by mail auction - and the two of them never regretted it for a single day. They restored the historic homestead from 1885 with oven and smokehouse to its original state
"Even today I still stand in front of it often in astonishment and rejoice every day in life in and with nature. I could not imagine anything more beautiful."
Deer, rabbits, birds, slowworms and fire salamanders love the natural garden with flowers, vegetables and herbs. Below, orchids and cotton grass grow on a wet meadow and are estimated to be around "120 other plant species", says the nature lover. Enthusiastic hikers also stop by the house, because a circular trail of the Sauerland high altitude flight passes directly by the house. Sometimes a little conversation develops there - and when Bärbel Michels has time, she likes to show them the garden and the cosy interiors. In order to preserve the listed ensemble for posterity, she and her husband established a foundation a few years ago. What the guardian of the local heritage so likes about the region is not only the nature, but also the uncomplicated nature of the people. "When I'm in the garden and something comes apart, nobody here looks at me diagonally when I jump into a shop in Schmallenberg in my green work trousers. I find it a great freedom."
History and stories about the old forester's lodge, but also about the everyday life of the forest servants, can be found in the newly published book by Bärbel Michels. You can get it for the price of 39,- € at Mrs. Michels, at the Stadtsparkasse in Schmallenberg and at the Touristinfo in Schmallenberg.
Peace and solitude in nature
In some places along the Romantic Route, the "world ends" - this is where the road ends and you can only continue on foot. And that's exactly what's worthwhile in the beautiful Sorpe Valley or along the higher-lying villages of Nordenau and Westfeld. Wide views and narrow valleys, romantic streams and cosy places that make hikers stop and look. A castle ruin and artistic forged pieces, splendid half-timbered houses and old courtyards also provide an occasion for this. On winter days, the cross-country skiing centre in Westfeld and the surrounding Rothaargebirge mountains offer plenty of opportunities for winter sports enthusiasts.