The Schloss in Bleckede
Since May 2002, this baroque half-timbered building has housed the information centre for the Biospere Reserve ‘Lower Saxonian Elbe Valley’. It contains an exhibition, covering over 1,000 m² which serves to to display the unique nature of the Elbe countryside as well as the efforts being made to preserve it. The centre also organises special events and guided tours. There is a 20 m high tower next to the ElbSchloss which provides a view over the riverside marshes.
On Vogelstimmenklavier, wind machine, flooding model and much more young and old learn on a playful journey of discovery the characteristics of the biosphere reserve Niedersächsische Elbtalaue know. From April to August, the Storchen live camera gives you a very special insight: from the first egg, to the hatching of the chicks and the full-fledged young storks, you can follow the family life of the Adebars in their corner of the nest.
In the aquarium landscape you experience the inhabitants of the fish-rich Elbe from eel to zander close up. Even the primeval sturgeon is bustling here! Next door, Baumeister Biber - a real character animal of the Elbtalaue - can be seen live in his castle or while swimming in the pond. You should not miss a detour to the 20 meter high observation tower.
The‘Umweltwerkstatt’ – the‘environmental workshop’ – has been set up to give children from kindergartens and schools the opportunity to discover nature at first hand. The Schloss also contains the regional tourist information centre. Here, visitors can find out about the most attractive spots to see, obtain help in finding accommodation and get up to date news on current local events. A souvenir shop and a playground round off the list of attractions.
The SchlossCafé smells of home-baked cake - the perfect place for a quick breather before continuing, perhaps to historic downtown Bleckede or the fascinating Elbtalaue. Both can be reached in just a few minutes' walk from the biosphere.
In Contact with the Countryside
There is a wide variety of different ways for visitors to explore the rural beauty of the Elbe Valley. You can choosee between walking, cycling, fishing, riding or even travelling in a horse drawn wagon. Don’t forget to bring a pair of binoculars with you, as there is always something worth having a good look at – an Elbe beaver or saplings which it has felled, a group of frogs spawning together or the diverse bird world, for instance. Well worth recommending is a boat trip along the Elbe. And for those who wish to get some exercise at the same time, guided canoe tours are a guarantee for a worthwhile experience. A cycle trip along the dykes provide an especially good way of gaining an impression of the Elbe countryside. You will pass by broad meadows, still waters, farmhouses and fruitgardens. The Elbe itself can be crossed via ferries and over the bridges at Dömitz and Lauenburg, making it easy to plan a round trip. Accomodation and places offering something to eat and drink can be found all along the routes, and those who like to be as close to Nature as possible have a selection of camping and caravan sites within easy reach ot the Elbe
The river Elbe and its Surroundings
Even today, the river Elbe remains relatively close to its original, natural condition. Many natural bank structures, flood channels and oxbow lakes have been preserved. The Elbe regularly floods the surrounding countryside. Alluvial forests with willows, reeds and shrubs line the banks of the waterways. This is the home of the Elbe beaver, the population of which has increased to more than 300 individuals in the Lower Saxonian river section. Also, otters are to be found in many places. Over 100 pairs of storks breed in the biosphere reserve. The wetlands of the floodplain guarantee a sufficient supply
of food and a high rate of breeding success. The flooded water meadows represent resting areas of
international significance for migrating and overwintering wading and water fowl.