At a glance:
Freizeitkarte: Südlich des Mains Teil 1
Tour 7 - Two rivers, one region
The river landscape between the Rhine and the Main offers us an interplay of hydropower, industrial culture and idyll. The legacy of Adam Opel meets dreamy, tranquil oxbow lakes. A highlight of this tour is the Mainspitze – the mouth of the Main – with a broad view of the two rivers that give this region its name.
An extensive river delta with numerous individual water streams, sometimes raging floods, then again slowly splashing trickles – that was the natural estuary of the Main into the Rhine. This dynamic water landscape with riverside woodlands and reed beds offered diverse habitats for black alders, irises, kingfishers and nightingales.
It took mankind a long time to inhabit and cultivate this difficult to access but very fertile landscape. The two rivers had to be tamed and made navigable. Much of the extensive estuary still tells of this today and it is worth taking note of the indentations and elevations in the terrain: Large hollows near Bauschheim were formerly flood channels and ponds and the Horlachgraben between Rüsselsheim and Raunheim used to belong to a former ”Altmainarm“. The dykes, which are characteristic of the river landscape, guide us through the tour in wide sections.
Beyond the dykes, Rheinaltarme seem very tranquil nowadays. Here, near Ginsheim-Gustavsburg, a small jewel is anchored in the Regionalpark, a lovingly reconstructed historic ship mill. For centuries, people used the constantly available hydropower to grind grain on such ship mills. In their heyday, more than twenty of them populated the local Rhine. They only lost their importance during the course of industrialisation.
Industrialisation not only changed the appearance of the rivers, but also that of the landscape as a whole. Buildings such as the Hochheim railway bridge, the Kostheim barrage or the Hof Schönau south of the Wüster forest provide impressive testimony to this. In Rüsselsheim and the surrounding area, however, no other name embodies the industrial transformation of the city and the landscape as much as that of Opel.
So of course, our tour also includes several encounters with the company Adam Opel AG. One of them is the old Opel racetrack. In the 1920s, the world was able to admire the latest racing models such as the futuristic rocket car driving at full speed here. But after only a decade, the cars were too fast for this track; the racetrack quickly became insignificant and its glory faded. Today, it is nothing but a ruin in the forest. The hint of a curve and cracked concrete can still be seen, with grass and bushes sprouting from its crevices.
The Opelsteg bridge directly above the Main, on the other hand, is presented in a new and modern way and rattles wonderfully underneath the wheels of our bicycles. The almost 450-metre-long steel construction was built in 2015 in cooperation with the Regionalpark and now allows a nonstop ride along the Main, passing the Opelwerk factory on the way.
The stately Opel villas, which are also located on the banks of the Main in Rüsselsheim, have meanwhile become a place for art, culture and enjoyment that is accessible to the general public. They are located in the immediate vicinity of the medieval Rüsselsheim fortress, which accommodates, among other things, a town and industrial museum as well as a café. This is where the industrial culture comes full circle amidst a river landscape steeped in history.
1. The TOUR START is at the train station in Rüsselsheim: The tour leads diagonally to the left towards the Adam Opel monument and along the red brick building. Shortly afterwards, turn left at Weisenauer Straße and follow the cycle path to Gustavsburg, then immediately right again into Ludwigstraße and to the Main. From here, use the cycle path to Gustavsburg and Mainspitze.
2. Ride over the OPELSTEG BRIDGE and follow the red triangles of the Regionalpark: past the Schleuse Kostheim lock and under the bridge after 1.5 km. The street ”An der Mainspitze“ announces your destination: Turn right and continue to Mainspitze – Mouth of the Main. Return to the tour, take the same route for about 1 km – but beware:
3. You are going to switch to the REGIONALPARK RUNDROUTE shortly after the section by the railway track: To do this, turn right onto the gravel path, which first leads through the castle park Gustavsburg, before the main destination Altrheinufer Ginsheim is signposted on the Rundroute.
4. After 2 km, the route turns to the right to the HISTORICAL SHIP MILL. From there, continue to the Ginsheimer Altrheinufer. The REGIONALPARK RUNDROUTE leads to the Hessisches Ried. But only follow the symbol until you reach Bauschheim:
5. Leave the Rundroute at the GARTENANLAGE FROHBORNPFAD: The cycle path 10 and the red triangles lead you to Königstädten: Turn left into Kleeweg, then into Lengfeldstraße (right), Im Grundsee (left) and Am Weiher (left) until you reach Brunnenstraße: Turn right and follow the cycle path for a good 1.5 km along the roadside towards Königstädten. Before the A60 underpass, the red triangles turn sharp right to NSG Wüster Forst. Follow the interim destinations Fünfmärker and Wasserwerk Hof Schönau to …
6. … the OLD OPEL RACECOURSE. The red triangles guide you to Wiesen – Blauer See: Continue until you reach Stockstraße: Turn left towards Flörsheimer Warte. After the Rüsselsheimer Dreieck, the red triangles guide you to the left onto the Regionalpark trail: 2.5 km along the Horlache to the Mainuferweg via Sainer and the Hainbuchen tunnel. When you reach the Main, turn left onto the cycle path to Rüsselsheim.
7. The OPEL VILLAS and the fortress are located on the top left. To return to the starting point, take the Uferweg to the Leinreiter sculpture and then turn left to the station.