Green oases and blooming wasteland

The countryside and the nature of the Ruhr Metropolis were rigorously used in the coal and steel industry era. This encroachment is still evident today, but it also lends the Ruhr region an unforeseen appeal. The woodlands and nature reserves, river valleys, channels and water expanses are popular excursion destinations in the urban landscape today.

Where goods trains used to roll along, there is greenery today. Photo: RVR/Ehses
Picture: Overgrown railway tracks. Photo: RVR/Ehses

The Industrial Nature Trail

The “Industrial Nature” theme trail deals with the new greenery on former industrial sites. At 19 interesting locations, information boards explain the special natural diversity. Because some, often rare, plants and animals prefer the barren conditions of the areas of industrial wasteland. Nature has created new green oases and reserves of its own beauty on tips, collieries, coking plants, smelting works and landscape parks.

Forest landscape in the Elfringhauser Schweiz in the south of the Ruhr Metropolis. Photo: RVR
Picture: Forest landscape in the Elfringhauser Schweiz in the south of the Ruhr Metropolis. Photo: RVR

Active in the forest

Great woodlands fringe the Ruhr Metropolis, especially in the north and south. Excursions into the flora and fauna are worth it for strollers, joggers, cyclists and also riders. 350km can be covered on horseback in the region. The riding paths lead over fields and through forests, including extended circuits through the Haard and the Hohe Mark in the north of the region. A forest section which is accessible for all was developed by the Ruhr Regional Association in the Üfter Mark near Dorsten. There is a wheelchair-friendly circular path with information tables in Braille.

When the weather is good, there is a lot of activity at Heidhof. Photo: RVR
Picture: Barbeques at Heidhof. Photo: RVR

Heidhof imparts forest competence

The Heidhof is central to the nature of the Kirchhellen heath. The former farm is a forest competence centre with the exhibition “Wald-Baum-Holz” (forest-tree-wood), a youth camping site, a forest playground and three barbeques. Particularly the children gain insight regarding the forest and its inhabitants.

Bislicher Island on the Lower Rhine. Photo: RVR
Picture: Bislicher Island on the Lower Rhine. Photo: RVR

Bislicher Island

As one of the last near-natural meadow landscapes, the Bislicher Island in the Lower Rhine is under nature conservancy. This wilderness is a favourite resting place for birds: Up to 25,000 arctic geese move into their winter quarters on the island, which is also home to a colony of cormorants. An exhibition in the NaturForum on Bislicher Island discusses the habitats of the birds, plants and insects on Bislicher Island.

The Regional Association Ruhr (RVR) plans, develops and builds together with the municipalities of the Ruhr Metropolis


Be our guest! Ruhr Tourismus (RTG) answers all questions related to travelling in the Ruhr Metropolis


The regional business development company, Wirtschaftsförderung metropole Ruhr GmbH (wmr), is the service partner for companies and investors


Transport information

Local public transport:
The Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr transport association

The situation on the motorways:

Renting a bike: