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TERRA.vita! The name of the Nature and Geopark literally means "Life history of the Earth" – a course that did not always run so smoothly. Uplifting and erosion, flooding and glaciation, desert climate and permafrost - entire worlds perished and new ones were created again. The animal, fungal, and plant worlds adapted themselves to the geological upheavals. Sea beds folded into steep ridges, tropical forests pressed into anthracite, entire mountain ranges pushed aside by massive glaciers. Unbelievable, all the things that the stones, as witnesses, report

Look closely at the ground and pay attention to delicate companions like the mushrooms and ferns, encounter beguilingly beautiful figures such as orchids and forest hyacinths or the really tough guys like boulders and megalithic tomb stones. Enjoy the meandering streams, the tranquil moors, sandy geests, or the wooded ridges of the Teutoburg forests and Wiehengebirges mountains. Discover how alive deadwood can be, and let yourself be entertained by the strangely beautiful stories told by fossilized creatures.

Experience something mystical in the early morning mist: a couple of wild animals that slink away into the cover of the early day. Or was it perhaps the mysterious Sgönaunken, mythical dwarves that toiled away in underground mines, that you encountered on your hike? The richness of nature and the geological peculiarities in our landscapes have always been associated with myths and legends, which tell us not only of wonderful formations, but also of "old" messages of the respectful dealings of people with one another and with the creations of nature.

Welcome to the Nature and Geopark TERRA.vita – prepare to be fascinated!


Hiking trails and circular courses


Theme tours and long-distance bike paths


Years of geology

The Nature and Geopark TERRA.vita was founded in 1962, and until 2002 was called the Naturpark nördlicher Teutoburger Wald – Wiehengebirge (the Nature Park of Northern Teutoburger Forest and Wiehen Mountains). But more than just the name has changed in the last several years – we are now one of only 7 German and 169 Geoparks worldwide that have been recognized since November 2015 as UNESCO Global Geopark.

A Global Geopark, like TERRA.vita, is a region within reasonable boundaries that has a significant geological heritage, has a functioning management, and contributes to regional developmentenvironmental education, and the creation of a natural recreational infrastructure. The status and development of these parks are reviewed every four years, because the label Global Geopark is above all a sign of quality!

With well over 100 natural monuments and geological phenomena, numerous nature reserves and 28 NATURA 2000 sites, which are among the European Premium Protection areas, TERRA.vita offers you intense natural experiences from the still to the spectacular.

For example, a dense network of bicycling trails enables you to explore the region on Theme Tours with electric bikes and all sorts of adventurous TERRA.trails. In addition, excellent regional hiking trails as well as well-known long-distance trails guarantee splendid views and insights into a rich cultural landscape with tradition and a natural backdrop that surprises and inspires.

Of course, we can leave you on your own if you want. But, before your trip in our Nature and Geology Park, we can also provide you with all the information you need to find the places or routes you are most curious about. And if you want to be introduced to specific topics, simply join one of the excursions, courses, or outings offered by our Tourguides.

ca. km2

min. Mio. Years

Special attributes: 

  • The first German nature park to be awarded the "Geopark" award
  • First theme park with a focus on "Fascination of the Earth's History"
  • Over 100 natural monuments and geological phenomena
  • Over 40 designated European Premium Protection Areas (NATURA 2000 sites)

Special scenic features:

  • Teutoburger Forest and Wiehengebirge mountains
  • Moors and heaths
  • River landscapes and spring areas
  • Geotopes (rock formations, quarries, sand and clay pits)
  • End moraine trails and boulder fields
  • Archaeological monuments
  • Relics of old land use forms

Fascinating Earth History

Geology and soil sciences, stones, sand and gravel: Dry as dust science? Anyone who is not a specialist here but just following their hobby, may have their doubts about the fascination of Geoparks! That’s why we at TERRA.vita prefer to speak of “Earth History”, whose cycles and epochal events of the last 300 million years can hardly be documented and read in any other place as completely as in our region. That’s the reason the Nature and Geopark TERRA.vita became the first German, large-scale protected nature reserve in the UNESCO-sponsored, worldwide Geopark network, and was finally distinguished as a “UNESCO Global Geopark.” The prerequisite for this distinction is the existence of very unusual and multifaceted geological conditions – and the preservation of this heritage, including the man-made, thousand-year-old cultural landscape.

For visitors and local guests, we open windows into this Earth history, which in some places also means that you have to go underground. Most of the experiences and educational offerings are of exceptional nature and beauty and can be enjoyed above ground!

Once someone has explored the previously largest stone quarry in Europe, eavesdropped, at 266 meters above sea level, on the history of Tuesday and the Germanic gods, fished sharks teeth out of the ancient North Sea, visited the eternally crouching woman, absorbed the bewitching scents of thousands and thousands of spring blossoms, or hiked through a petrified seabed, they can be nothing but fascinated.

Protected Areas within the Nature Park

Bird sanctuaries

Alfsee Vogelschutzgebiet "Düsterdieker Niederung"


Achmer Sand Andreasstollen Bäche im Artland Börsteler Wald und Teichhausen Darnsee Düte (mit Nebenbächen) Else und obere Hase Fledermauslebensraum Wiehengebirge bei Osnabrück Gehn Gehölze bei Epe Grasmoor Habichtswald Hahnenmoor, Hahlener Moor, Suddenmoor Heiliges Meer - Heupen Hüggel, Heidhornberg und Roter Berg Kammmolch-Biotop Palsterkamp Kirche in Ledde (Kreis Steinfurt) Limberg Mausohr-Jagdgebiet Belm Mausohr-Wochenstubengebiet Osnabrücker Raum Mettinger und Recker Moor Nördliche Teile des Teutoburger Waldes mit Intruper Berg Obere Hunte Östlicher Teutoburger Wald Permer Stollen Piesbergstollen Sandsteinzug Teutoburger Wald Silberberg Stollen bei Ibbenbüren-Osterledde Stollen Lienen-Holperdorp Stollen Oberlübbe, Elfter Kopf Stollen westlich Leeden System Else/Werre Teiche an den Sieben Quellen Teutoburger Wald, Kleiner Berg Vogelpohl Wäldchen nördlich Westerkappeln 38 Wälder bei Porta Westfalica

Nature preserve

Brinkmeyers Busch Eversburg Heger Friedhof, Rubbenbruch, Heger- und Natruper Holz Kilverbachtal Langelage LSG-Altkreis Luebbecke LSG-Baeche des Ostmuensterlandes LSG-Bielefelder Osning LSG-Duetetal LSG-Gabelin, Werser Holz LSG-Goldhuegel LSG-Grosser Tannenkamp LSG-Handarpe LSG-Hausberger Huegel- und Bergland LSG-Herthasee, Heiliges Meer, Bad Steinbeck LSG-Holperdorp LSG-Huckberg, Teutoburger Wald bis Tecklenburg LSG-Kaelberberg LSG-Kulturlandschaft Haus Mark LSG-Lada LSG-Langenbrueck LSG-LengericherOsning LSG-LienenerOsning (FFH-Gebiet) LSG-Martensberg LSG-Niederbockraden LSG-Noerdlicher Dickenberg LSG-Noerdliches Weser- und Wiehengebirgsvorland LSG-Oestlicher Schafberg LSG-OestlichesWiehengebirge LSG-Recker Moor LSG-Rudolphschacht LSG-Sieke des RavensbergerHuegellandes LSG-SuedlicheWeseraue LSG-Suedlicher Rand LienenerOsning LSG-Sundern, Habichtswald, Hagenberg LSG-Teutoburger Wald LSG-Teutoburger Wald von Tecklenburg bis Holperdoler Tal LSG-Weser- und Wiehengebirge LSG-Westerkappelner Flachwellenland LSG-Wiehengebirge und Vorland LSG-Wiehengebirge, Wesergebirge LSG-Windmuehlenweg LSG-Zollweg Meyer zu Broxten Naturpark Nördlicher Teutoburger Wald - Wiehengebirge Piesberg - Haster Berg - Klee Berg Schölerberg Schinkelberg Teutoburger Wald Westerberg Wiehengebirge und Nördliches Osnabrücker Hügelland

Nature preserve

Beutling Darnsee Feldungelsee Freeden Grasmoor Hahlener Moor Hahnenmoor Harderburg Im Fängen Im Teichbruch Maiburg Mehne-, Bruch- und Pottwiese NSG Alte Fahrt NSG AltteichCostedt NSG Am Schwarzwasser-Graben NSG Assmanns Bachtal NSG Auebachtal NSG Bramegge NSG Dieckwiesen NSG Doerenter Klippen NSG Duesterdieker Niederung NSG Egge NSG Finkenburg NSG Gartnischberg NSG Gehle NSG Grosser Berg - Hellberg NSG Habichtswald NSG Haseniederung NSG Heiliges Meer - Heupen NSG Heineberg NSG Hesselner Berge NSG Holzhauser Mark NSG Jakobsberg NSG Johannisegge - Schornstein und suedexponierte Kammlage NSG Kerbtal am Muehrenknapp NSG Knicksiek NSG Knollmanns Meerkott NSG Knuell - Storkenberg NSG Krebsbach- und Horstbachtal NSG LeedenerStiftsmuehlenwiesen NSG LengericherOsning NSG LienenerOsning NSG Limberg und Offelter Berg NSG Mettinger Moor NSG Mossmoerken NSG Nammer Klippen NSG Oberes Johannisbachtal mit Nebentaelern NSG Oestlicher Teutoburger Wald (LP BI-West) NSG Osterklee NSG Permer Stollen (unterirdisch) NSG Ravensberg - Barenberg NSG Recker Moor NSG Rote Brook NSG Schierenbeke NSG Schwatten Paul NSG Seester Feld NSG Sloopsteene NSG Sonnenwinkel NSG Steinbruch Gravenhorst NSG Steinbruch im Kleefeld (Canyon) NSG Steinbruch Schneiker NSG Sumpfwiesen am Kuesterkamp NSG Sundern NSG Talaue Haus Marck NSG Tongrube Fuchsloch NSG Vogelschutzgelaende Porta Westfalica NSG Wehmerhorster Wiesental NSG Wittekindsberg NSG WoehrenerSiek NSG WulferdingsenerMuehlensiek Obere Hunte Reservebecken Alfhausen-Rieste Silberberg Steinernes Meer Suddenmoor/ Anten Vallenmoor Venner Moor

Nature and Geo ParkTERRA.vita

Our Tasks and Goals

Nature conservation and landscape preservation
Sustainable tourism
Education and communication
Sustainable regional development

What is a Nature Park?

Nature parks are spacious, large-scale landscapes that consist mostly of landscape- or nature conservation areas. They are characterized by a great variety of species and biotopes as well as diverse uses – a cultural landscape in which man and nature are closely linked. There are landscapes to touch, to experience, and to participate in! Nature parks have set themselves the task of showing what distinctive features there are in the plant and animal worlds, in the landscape, and also in the cultural traditions of the respective regions.

As described in the guidelines for nature parks, the Nature and Geopark TERRA.vita has long been concerned with making nature and the environment tangible – a core theme, thereby, is geology. We are also committed to the promotion of soft tourism, nature conservation and landscape management in the sense of sustainable, regional development.

What is a UNESCO Global Geopark?

Earth history up close and personal is our motto! UNESCO Global Geoparks, especially, are large-scale areas that feature particularly exceptional geological developments as well as significant, rare, or uniquely beautiful phenomena. Their common goal is to protect the geological heritage and to make the history of the earth tangible. This is intended to bring people closer to their region and to promote identification with their “home.”
The essential questions we are dealing with are therefore: Which layers of rock from which phases of the earth’s history can we find here? What makes our landscape so special? Which geological forces were at work? What do they signify for today’s natural topography, vegetation, animal world, and soil development? Which raw materials are there, where, and why? How were they or are they used? To bring the consideration of these questions and their answers alive for visitors and locals alike, we have given our creativity free run.

For example, we have created adventure trails and information placards, audio recordings for lookout points, thematic cycling and hiking routes, educational materials, excursions, geological tours, and theme brochures and leaflets. For lively exchanges of ideas and experiences with our partner Geoparks, we turn to our international networks at: European Geoparks and Global Geoparks.

What is a UNESCO Global Geopark? Here you find an explanation video by the German UNESCO commission (in German).

Here you find a video on the UNESCO Global Geoparks by the Global Geopark Network.

Tour Planer Calendar of Events

The Master Plan for the Nature and Geopark TERRA.vita Develops Strategies for the Future

The Nature and Geopark TERRA.vita has been active for humans and nature for more than 50 years, and has undergone various development phases during that time. Most recently, a further developmental step has been launched: a Master Plan that should answer questions such as: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the park?, How do things continue in the intermediate-term?, What is the central focus for the future?, How can we make the best use of the new EU funding period?, and Are the internal structures and management sustainable in the future?

To draw up this Master Plan, TERRA.vita formed a working group of people from the fields of tourism, nature conservation, business development, and municipalities. In five workshops, the group prepared and delivered contributions on such subjects as regeneration and regional development, education and communication, nature and landscape, and management structure. Under the chairmanship of Thomas Wilken from Kontor 21 in Hamburg, a final, future-oriented document was submitted in the summer of 2015.

The entire Master Plan can be viewed or downloaded from the download area. Here, we present our mission statement and guidelines as the mail essence of the Master Plan:

Our guiding principle, our vision is:

The Nature and Geopark TERRA.vita is the leading region for earth hstory- oriented experiences and education in Germany.

The following guidelines present fundamental ways of achieving this objective.
They form our framework for action:

The great number and variety of witnesses to earth’s history form the unique selling point for our landscape. Earth’s history is therefore also the central theme of our Nature and Geopark.

Based on the increased, and expected to continually increase, expectations of our guests, we focus on the quality of our offerings. The assurance of quality of existing offers has priority over the development of new offers.

We take into account both the compulsory and self-imposed tasks of the Nature and Geoparks, but we also set our own priorities that mirror a limited number of topics and objectives in our five central fields of action.

Nature and the landscape are our central tourist capital. As a Nature and Geopark, we have a special responsibility for its preservation and ecologically sustainable development.

We offer our visitors not only intensive insights into nature, but also impart to them knowledge of the background and context in a clear and contemporary form. In this way, we promote understanding and appreciation for nature.

By enhancing the touristic offers in our region and specifically cooperating with nature park-relevant institutions and establishments, we support our regional economy.

Our offers are directed primarily to active, nature-interested day trippers and short-term vacationers. In the field of environmental education, we are also particularly interested in school classes.

Our Nature and Geopark is only as strong as the support and network of its partners. That is why we actively involve regional stakeholders in our work, coordinate our activities with partners, and participate in existing networks.

We carry out our own projects above all when they affect or core competency in the area of geological history-oriented experiences of nature and landscape, and/or are relevant for the entire Nature and Geopark system. In other cases, we consider ourselves as providers of impulses for the sustainable development of our region

More that a thousand kilometers of hiking and biking trails, educational and waking paths, lookout points, sightseeing landmarks, climbing possibilities, excursions, guided tours, and adventure offers: Welcome to the biggest outdoor fitness and wellness studio as far as the eyes can see! Welcome to the Nature and Geopark TERRA.vita!

We don’t intend to present you a crash course in geology, or to lecture you, or serve you up with boring details. On the contrary, we are of the opinion that outings, tours, and excursions are much more useful and much more fun ways to experience and understand TERRA.vita.

But… our animated TERRA.genesis films about earth history are really entertaining, and in our exhibition TERRA.vision there are so many surprises to discover. Furthermore, school lessons can be really exciting with our TERRA.box, or in one of our TERRA.parks. And… it can’t really hurt to know that an end moraine is not a fish, right?

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