A hiking tour for explorers, families, culture lovers and nature lovers
Our tip: Please make sure to check your train connection and the expected capacity before you start your journey.
From Laufach station, follow the sign of the European Cultural Routes for the entire tour: a yellow EU boat on a blue background - here with a railway in the middle. Take Bahnhofstraße in an easterly direction. After crossing the Laufach stream, keep going uphill on the Buchenlandstraße until you reach the path halfway up, which runs above the Düker ironworks.
Above Laufach, it is worth pausing. From here, the view of the village and the surrounding area is particularly beautiful. At the same time, the changed routing of the railway line through the Spessart, for which a total of four tunnels were newly bored, has started here since 2017.
Laufach has its origins in iron ore and is one of the oldest industrial locations in Germany. Industrialisation in the 19th century changed the situation in the region considerably. Production migrated to conurbations such as the Rhine-Main area, leaving the people of Spessart behind and impoverishing them. However, the construction of the Würzburg-Aschaffenburg railway line brought full order books to the factory in Laufach until 1854. With the completion of the "Ludwigs-Westbahn" between Bamberg and Hanau in October 1854, a new change began. The Spessart communities were connected to the wider world and living conditions improved.
The railway line and tunnels still stand out in the landscape today. In 2017, the Schwarzkopf Tunnel, opened in 1854, was closed and a completely new route was bored through the main ridge of the Spessart.
Have you had your fill? Then continue along the railway line to the Spessartrampe leisure and recreation facility, where you will soon have the opportunity to eat your fill as well. In good weather, you can enjoy a hearty meal at the "Seebachblick" inn (Tel. 06093 993180).
Due to the construction of the railway, the Seebach valley was exposed to great changes within 100 years. In 1854, the embankment of the railway line cut through the valley. A viaduct, called the Chausseebogen, formed the passage for the Seebach and today's B26. In 1958, a sports field was built, ten years later the Seebach Valley leisure and recreation area.
In 2013, the railway construction measures for the new construction of the tunnel began with the filling of the entire area. The former recreation area disappeared under the fill, and the viaduct was given a modern bridge at its side. On the site of the former tennis club, a new recreational area was created with, among other things, a geology stone path and geo-lodge.
The culturally and historically significant railway connection is not forgotten, but remains visible in the design. To this end, the last passenger transport on the old line brought a local railway carriage to the recreation area. Afterwards, the line was finally closed down and the rails removed. The wagon has remained and serves as an information centre that provides information both about the construction project of the century 160 years ago and about the new line.
Im Seebachtal 1
Laufach/ OT Hain
The tour crosses under the tracks and leads into the Laufach district of Hain. At the entrance to the village, during the construction of the railway, the young building contractor Philipp Holzmann took up residence and carried out his first major contract here. Later his company Holzmann rose to become the largest German construction company and one of the big global players.
The route continues through the Schwarzbach valley, along the water for a while and then uphill with a moderate incline. On the way, it is worth making a detour to the "Panoramaplattform Bahn" cultural trail station before taking another detour to the "Tunnelportal West".
In the middle of the 19th century, the construction of the 926-metre-long Schwarzkopf Tunnel presented the engineers and miners with great challenges. The tunnel was to be constructed with almost no inclines, and the geographically shortest mountain crossing point was chosen. Geologically, however, this location was unfavourable because numerous water veins ran through the rock. This caused considerable maintenance costs. In 1957, the line was electrified and the tunnel was extensively rebuilt. After the end of railway operations in 2017, the miners' hard work was reversed and the tunnel is now backfilled for safety reasons.
You climb a little further uphill to the literal highlight of the tour. A wonderful viewpoint awaits you at the Pollaschdenkmaler.
The memorial at Pollasch is 400 metres above zero. On the road between the "Sieben Wege" junction and Heigenbrücken, it commemorates 140 Spessart friends who fell in the First World War and urges peace. The memorial dates from 1927 and is striking for its very modern design, which is simple and modern. The Spessartbund commemorates its dead there every year on the second Sunday in October.
The impressive view from the Pollasch reaches far into the Laufach and Aschaff valleys, over Aschaffenburg to the Odenwald. In 1934, a hut was built here in memory of the head forester Christian Wodianka, which still offers hikers shelter today.
From Pollasch, the descent is sometimes quite steep through dense Spessart forest - at first parallel to the road and then on a comfortable forest path. It's just as well that there is an opportunity to cool off at the entrance to Heigenbrücken. In 1929, a spring swimming pool was opened at the bottom of the valley, which was a much-visited attraction for decades. In 2009, the natural swimming pool was reopened after extensive modernisation work. You can cool off from the inside, enjoy fresh local cuisine or culinary delights right next door at the Landgasthof Hochspessart (tel. 06020 - 9720) or the Villa Marburg (tel. 06020 979990).
While at the starting point of today's tour iron ore was decisive for the development, in the destination and today's climatic health resort Heigenbrücken glass production used to be the main focus. Here there was sufficient red quartz sand and wood as energy suppliers for the glass melting process.
Take a look at the old Heigenbrücken railway station from 1890 with the second tunnel portal before finally heading to the new stopping point on the railway line.