The Rhine and Rhineaue wetlands
Unspoilt wetlands are still frequently found in the arms of the Old Rhine and, needless to say, are under special protection. The wetland landscapes are home to a wide variety of animal species. For instance, there are types of birds found in this relatively confined space that are only found in other landscapes – if at all – widely dispersed over large areas. Many different species of butterfly, beetle and dragonfly are found in the wetland landscapes, which are also a sanctuary for rare types of fish that can survive in water that is low in oxygen or even dried up temporarily.
The riparian forests, which are alternately flooded and dry in season, give rise to unique ecosystems.
Riparian forests also have an important function in times of flooding, serving as natural flood control areas that help the water to drain slowly as well as cleansing it of organic and mineral materials.
Plants that grow directly beside the water include purple willow, rosemary willow, white willow, grey alder, black poplar, aspen and reed canary grass.
Higher up in the alluvial forest, you will find common oak, ash, field elm, European white elm and field maple as well as shrubs such as hawthorn, sloe, dogwood and spindle.
The Hördt wetlands nature reserve is the second-largest in the Palatinate and one of the oldest in the entire federal state of Rhineland Palatinate.
As part of the nature reserve, the “Leimersheim Old Rhine” runs parallel to the main Rhine embankment, surrounding the “Karlskopf”.
The nature reserve is an impressive example of the kind of natural and artificial wetlands that are now rarely found on the Upper Rhine. It is home to many rare types of animals and plants that are threatened by extinction, such as the old world swallowtail (Papilio machaon), the European tree frog (Hyla arborea), the white waterlily (Nymphaea alba), the Siberian iris (Iris sibirica) and many different types of orchids, such as the red helleborine (Cephalantera rubra). Cormorants and grey herons also nest here.
Please adhere to the Rules of conduct for visitors to nature reserves.