This 60-mile trail through northern Germany takes in eerie folklore, industrial heritage and forests recovering from a devastating pest
The inscription on the wooden shelter where I stopped to eat my Käsebrötchen made quite the pledge. “Wanderer,” it said (at least, according to Google translate), “I protect you from wind and weather, a saviour from evil hands.” Extreme? Perhaps – but you need that sort of promise when loitering with cheese rolls in these spooky parts.
A hut was first built on this spot as a rest stop for medieval donkey drivers shifting goods from the nearby town of Osterode to the mines of northern Germany’s Harz Mountains. Today this newer building performs the same function, but for hikers – like me – following the Harzer Hexen-Stieg (Harz Witches’ Trail).