‘The hiiills are aliiive with...the sight of heather?’ Yes, from August through till September, Germany’s Lüneburger Heide region hits its purple patch. Its heathlands are transformed into oceans of mauve so expansive that Prince could write songs about them. There are heather festivals and annual crownings of heather queens, and tourists overwhelm local towns and villages.
Amidst this violet fury lies Uhlenköper, a tranquil eco-site ensconced in the itsy-bitsy village of Westerweyhe, near Uelzen. Run by Gertrud and Thomas Körding, this three-acre site has been carved up into areas for dauercampers (permanent residents), caravans and larger tents, tenters and cyclists. In between flow the site’s public areas: a solar-powered reception (with shower block, restaurant and bio-shop), modest playground and – pièce de résistance – a spanking new swimming pool with sections for swimmers and paddlers.
Offsite fun can be had cycling, kayaking on the Ilmenau or checking out Natur Park Sudheide, where you can glimpse the black-haired rams with white bodies that resemble woolly pints of Guinness. If nothing else they make a change from all that purple.
Uhlenköper Camp has won awards for its eco-commitments and the facilities reflect this – no chemicals in the pool, bio food in the shop, free herb gardens and solar power where possible. The shower block is clean and modern; the restaurant offers a decent selection of meals. There are camping 85 pitches in total; – gassy and spacious. The pool, which has a shallow section for younger children, provides ample playing opportunities.
Tents, motorhomes, groups, dogs – yes.
The site owners are qualified canoe guides and can take you for a family trip along the river – or you can hire your own canoes and bikes on site and do your own thing. Hotel Kenners Landlust (0049 58 559 793) is a bio hotel in Dübbekold offering organic food, shiatsu massage and a pool and sauna for total relaxation.
Food & Drink
Apart from the onsite restaurant (terraced in summer), you can grab a tasty schnitzel at the village restaurant Dorfkrug (a 2-minute stroll – take your dancing shoes and join in the weekly square dance on Sunday evenings), otherwise the nearest spots are in Uelzen. For local produce, the Bauckhof farm (0049 58 190 160) sells everything from free-range eggs to sausages and cheese.
No availability showing at Uhlenköper.
Contact Uhlenköper, Uhlenköper-Camp Uelzen Festplatzweg 11 29525 Uelzen, Germany
From Hamburg take the B4 and continue along the A255, following signs for A1/Bremen/Lübeck, then continue along the A1. Take exit 39-Maschener Kreuz and merge onto the A250 towards Lüneburg/Maschen. Continue on the B4 (signposted Uelzen and Lüneburg), taking the exit onto the B4. Take a right at K40/ Westerweyher Strasse, follow the K40, turn left at Am Waterbusch, then a slight right at Festplatzweg.
Take the Deutsche Bahn to Uelzen Bahnhof/train station. Then, hop on the 1973 bus towards Weinbergstrasse/Ebstorf, getting off at Westerweyhe train station. Follow the footpath, taking a left then straight on into Altes Dorfstrasse, keeping the school to your right.
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