Short description of Schönbuch Nature Reserve
Schönbuch Nature Reserve comprises close to 156 km² and is almost 86% forested; as such, it is one of southern Germany‘s largest enclosed forests. Approximately 200- 250 animals inhabit the red deer territory that makes up around 40 km² of the area. Representatives of particularly sensitive and rare species are also found within Schönbuch. With a little patience at the right time of year, visitors with a keen eye can spot crested newts, hermit beetles, brown hairstreak butterflies, barbastelles and Alcathoe bats, wasp spiders, cranberries, Hungarian vetchling (Lathyrus pannonicus) or oak ceramic fungus. A remarkable seven of the nine species of woodpeckers are present here – the wryneck is particularly worth noting – and 16 of the 21 species of bat.
A special feature of the state‘s oldest nature reserve is the more than 240 small monuments (stone crosses, memorial stones, deer stones, soldiers‘ graves, wells etc.) and many cultural and historical points of interest, including the former Cistercian monastery and the Bebenhausen hunting lodge. Visitors can learn more about these special features right on site using the free app, “Schönbuchführer“ [Guide to Schönbuch]. Celtic entrenchments and grave sites, as well as an historical transport link (Via Rheni) are also located within the vast woodlands between Tübingen, Reutlingen, Aichtal, Waldenbuch, Böblingen and Herrenberg.
Located close by for more than 2 million residents of the central Neckar region who use the nature reserve as a recreation area and with close to 4 million visitors each year, this readily accessible nature reserve plays a vital role. It features an outstanding infrastructure for recreational activities, including many cycling and hiking paths, training and educational trails, resting areas, water treading pools, expanses of water, game viewing enclosures, special vantage points and distinctive feature trees; Schönbuch is deservedly a favourite getaways destination and hiking region for both young and old. The Nature Reserve offers several barrier-free options for the disabled; these are described on the website.
The Nature Reserve Administration in Bebenhausen is supported through funding from the Förderverein Naturpark Schönbuch e. V. Each year, projects of cities, municipalities and districts within the Nature Reserve, as well as applications from private individual and associations, receive support from nature reserve development funds from the State of Baden-Württemberg and the EU.
Keuper landscape (formed more than 200 million years ago during the Triassic). The sandstones of Schönbuch have been used for construction projects such as the Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom), the Ulm Minster (Ulmer Münster) and the Tübingen Neckar Bridge. This resource is still extracted today in very small quantities for use in restoring historical buildings.
Warm, dry, submontane
Annual average temperature: 8.7 °C
Precipitation: 740 – 860 mm annually
Special flora and fauna highlights
Plants: Adder‘s tongue, royal fern, cranberry, Hungarian vetchling (Lathyrus pannonicus), service berry
Fungi: cup coral, oak ceramic fungus
Bats: barbastelle, Bechstein‘s bat, Alcathoe bat
Birds: wryneck, collared flycatcher, kingfisher, dipper
Amphibians: fire salamander, crested newt
Beetles: hermit beetle, horned stag beetle
Butterflies and dragonflies: brown hairstreak, scarlet tiger moth, sombre goldenring
Spiders: orange wheelweaving spider, wasp spider
Nature Park Information Centre
The Infocentre is located in the historical listed building, the Bebenhausen monastery “Schreibturm“ (tower)
Every year, the Nature Park administration, together with the local district forest authorities, publishes a free programme brochure, in 2018 listing more than 100 events (link to the current programme; in German).
Distinctions and Awards
• Woodland of the Year 2014 (in Germany)
• Quality Nature Park (awarded by the Verband Deutscher
Naturparke [Association of German Nature Reserves])
Im Schloss, 72074 Tübingen-Bebenhausen