Dark-green fir trees, lush meadows dotted with shingle-clad cottages, grazing cows, and country roads where you often find yourself puttering along behind a tractor or a huge timber lorry... ahh, there’s no place like home! The Black Forest – also the highest and most extensive continuous low mountain range in Germany – is famous for cherry-chocolate cake, smoked ham, potent schnaps, naughty gnomes, cuckoo clocks, and ladies in Bommelhut hats. There’s an important distinction there, by the way: unmarried women wear red hats, and those spoken for wear black. We should also note that while the old customs and traditions are still maintained in many parts of the Black Forest, the Bollenhut is no longer an everyday fashion accessory. You won’t see your average supermarket cashier wearing one, for example. But we digress! Once upon a time, mining and forestry were the two main pillars of the Black Forest economy. It was the abundance of timber in the region that provided a foundation for other sectors of industry, but unfortunately, most of these have since dried up. Forests were the place where charcoal burners would build their kilns, for instance, and the results of their toils (along with potash) were used for things like making glass. Meanwhile, the Black Forest’s first clocks were produced back in the latter half of the 17th century. They were made – you guessed it! – entirely of wood. Business continued to boom until the middle of the 19th century, at which point the heavy use of the region’s trees had nearly rendered the Black Forest unworthy of the name. Having previously been home to a variety of species, the area was then reforested mainly with monocultures of firs. These days, it often needs time to recover from the significant damage caused by storms.
the WILD BLACK FOREST
Dark-green fir trees, lush meadows dotted with shingle-clad cottages, grazing cows, and country roads where you often find yourself puttering