Mainhardt Forest

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Mainhardt Forest
The Mainhardt Forest in the middle west of the Swabian-Franconian Forest Mountains natural area

The Mainhardt Forest in the middle west of the Swabian-Franconian Forest Mountains
natural area

Highest peak Hohe Brach ( 586.9  m above sea  level )
location District of Schwäbisch Hall , Hohenlohekreis , District of Heilbronn , Rems-Murr-Kreis , Baden-Württemberg ( Germany )
part of Swabian-Franconian forest mountains
Coordinates 49 ° 2 '  N , 9 ° 33'  E Coordinates: 49 ° 2 '  N , 9 ° 33'  E
The hammer forge on the Rot near Mainhardt

The hammer forge on the Rot near Mainhardt

Steinknickle with observation tower

Steinknickle with observation tower


The Mainhardter forest is up to 586.9  m above sea level. NHN high low mountain range in the districts of Schwäbisch Hall and Heilbronn , the Hohenlohe district and the Rems-Murr district in Baden-Württemberg ( Germany ). The Mainhardt Forest is named after the municipality of Mainhardt in its center .



The Mainhardt Forest is located in the north of the natural spatial unit of the Swabian-Franconian Forest Mountains . It is one of the five forest regions of the Swabian-Franconian Forest Nature Park , which largely includes the western part of the Swabian-Franconian Forest Mountains.

The wooded mountain landscape (forest share: 47%) is about 50 km northeast of Stuttgart and about 35 km east of Heilbronn (both as the crow flies ). It extends roughly between Pfedelbach in the north, Michelfeld in the northeast, Gaildorf in the southeast, Sulzbach an der Murr in the southwest and Wüstenrot in the northwest and occupies the plateau, which flattens out from the Löwenstein mountains to the east.

In the north, the Mainhardt Forest borders on the Hohenlohe Plain , in the northeast on the Waldenburg Mountains , in the east on the Limpurger Mountains , in the southeast on the northern foothills of Frickenhofer Höhe and Welzheimer Wald , in the south on the Murrhardter Wald and the Löwenstein Mountains in West.


The highest elevation of the Mainhardter Forest is between the Big Lacher districts Erlach and grave preferred High Brach ( 586.9  m ). The Steinknickle ( 527.1  m ) near Wüstenrot also belongs to its mountains . At Großerlach, the unwooded top of the old forest ( 552.3  m ) offers a view far beyond the Swabian-Franconian forest mountains. On the wooded summit of the Flinsberg (also Flehnsberg ) ( 535  m ) near Oberrot , mighty flint blocks emerge . In the southeast, the Mainhardt forest runs out between the valleys of Rot and Kocher in the mountain ridge of the Kirgels ( 459.4  m ), from which the Kernerturm offers a view. The Steinbühl ( 486.5  m ) stands on its eastern edge near Westheim above the Kocher valley .

Flowing waters

The Mainhardt Forest is drained to the north by the rivers Ohrn and Brettach , both of which strive to the lower Kocher , the Bernbach , a smaller southern tributary to the Brettach itself, as well as to the east by the Rot , which flows to the upper Kocher, and to the south by smaller tributaries of the Murr .



The Mainhardt forest crossed straight through from south-southeast to north-northwest of the Limes on the line Murrhardt – Mainhardt – Gleichener See . He divided the Mainhardt Forest into Roman terrain in the west and Alemannic territory in the east. In the village of Mainhardt, the remains of a Roman fort were found during excavations.

In the vicinity of the village of Seehäuser bei Gailsbach , a wooden Roman watchtower was built on the course of the Limes at a historical location and can be viewed there.

In the valley floor of the Rot, below Hüttens , a small Roman fort was discovered in the immediate vicinity of the former Hankertsmühle , which was named after the Hankertsmühle small fort .

The remains of a hexagonal tower can be found in Pfedelbach-Gleichen . Around the former tower, from which the base is visible, the moat and rampart are still clearly visible in the area of ​​the Gleichener Forest. Digital terrain models , which were generated on the basis of data collected during Lidar measurement flights in 2009 , show two structures in the ground relief near Lake Gleichen , which could be small Roman forts based on the ground plan . The Upper-Rhaetian Limes is an archaeological monument and since 2005 a World Heritage Site of UNESCO .


The glassmaker's fountain in front of the town hall in Mainhardt

In the Middle Ages , the forest glassworks contributed significantly to the settlement and agricultural utilization of the Mainhardt Forest .

The forested mountains are rugged and barren and difficult to access. Even the abundance of wood was hardly economically viable for the sovereigns, as forest workers who would have had to be settled for it could not provide for themselves sufficiently there. Only the hunger for potash and fuel in the forest glassworks made the lonely forests economically attractive.

Coming from Bohemia , wandering smelters settled with their smack people ( glassmakers ) in wooded, remote regions, where they found their most important raw materials, sand and firewood, almost on their doorstep. The sovereigns promoted the settlement of the glassworks, as they earned a lot from the profits of the glass masters and, on top of that, their impassable forests were partially cleared and thus opened for agricultural use. The hut locations often developed into small towns and villages, where farmers also settled.

Many of the place and field names found in the Mainhardt Forest still bear witness to the glass production and the former hut locations, such as the place names Hütten , Aschenhütte bei Hütten and Aschenhütte bei Stock , Scherbenmühle , Neuhütten , Alt- and Neufürstenhütte and many more.

The robbers from the Mainhardt Forest

In the Middle Ages, two important trade routes met in the Mainhardt Forest near Hohenehgarten: One came from Stuttgart and followed the course of today's federal highway 14 via Sulzbach and Großerlach. The other came from Heilbronn via Weinsberg , Löwenstein , Finsterrot and Ammertsweiler on the route of today's B 39 . From Mainhardt they led together to Schwäbisch Hall and from there to Nuremberg .

Towards the end of the 18th century, a band of robbers made the Mainhardt Forest unsafe for several years, attacking travelers and trading trains. The head of this gang was Heinrich Weiß , owner of the Waspenhof hostel near Mainhardt. Weiß, landlord by trade, ducal- Württemberg customs officer in Neuhaus or Neuwirtshaus and also a local councilor, did not personally take part in the robberies, but acted in the background as gang leader, thief manager and fence. The gang consisted of three squads, the Ammertsweiler , the Neuhütter and the Fuchsschwänzer squad. In 1772, the arrested Martin Haas vom Gögelhof betrayed the gang under torture. Theft, postal and street robbery and murder were proven against a total of 68 defendants. 16 of the defendants were beheaded with the sword in Pfedelbach in 1773, their bodies braided with a wheel and their heads put on the stake. Seven death sentences were pronounced and carried out in Maienfels. Seven robbers did not survive the interrogation.


The modern face of the Mainhardt Forest was significantly shaped after the Second World War by the work of Willi Gayler (1906–2001), from 1948 to 1971 head of the Mönchsberg State Forestry Office. The forester consistently implemented the silvicultural principles of the Working Group on Natural Forest Management (ANW) .

One of the largest sawmills in Europe is located in the Mainhardt Forest , the Oberrot plant of Klenk Holz AG . Wood processing companies such as sawmills and folding rule manufacture are just as much in retreat as full-time agriculture. The electrical industry finds sales at the packaging machine manufacturers in Hohenlohe .

The region is a local recreation area for the metropolitan areas of Stuttgart, Ludwigsburg and Heilbronn. In the medium term, the tourism industry in the Mainhardter Wald is expected to grow. The elevation of the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes to the World Heritage Site on July 17, 2005 by UNESCO made the region even more attractive.


The Mainhardt Forest was visited by painters from the "Stuttgart School" as early as the 18th century. A Merian booklet from 1968 describes their paths that have been forgotten.

An amateur theater group in Mainhardt performs the Mainhardt robbers at the original Gögelhof location as a so-called station theater on seven stages. In Großhöchberg and Spiegelberg , the robber theme is also taken up theatrically.


There is a ski lift with floodlights in Großerlach . Some cross-country trails are groomed between Mainhardt and Grab in winter. There are various leisure facilities at Lake Starkholzbach, at Waldsee near Dornsbach and at Diebachsee near Fichtenberg .


  • Egil Pastor: The robbers from the Mainhardter Wald: a crime story from the 18th century . Publishing Haller Tagblatt GmbH, 1986
  • Swabian forest . Merian 1968
  • Fritz Schall: Forest maintenance in the Mainhardt Forest , in: Schwäbisch-Franconian Forest Nature Park. Reprint of the Allgemeine Forst Zeitschrift, No. 41/1980, p. 1102f

Individual evidence

  1. Map services of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation ( information )
  2. ^ LGRB Baden-Württemberg, Geotopes profile
  3. Stephan Bender: Traces of small forts at Lake Gleichen? In: Der Limes, 3rd year, 2009, issue 2, p. 10f. (PDF; 3.3 MB) accessed on January 23, 2010
  4. Glassworks in the Mainhardter Forest
  5. ↑ Comments on huts ( Memento of the original from December 4, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. on Mainhardt's community website. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. The place name Aschenhütte comes from the potash required for glass production , which was obtained in so-called ash houses or huts by dissolving and subsequent evaporation of wood ash (cf. Marianne Hasenmayer: Die Glashütten im Mainhardter Wald and in the Löwensteiner Mountains . In: Paul Strähle (Ed.): Schwäbisch-Fränkischer Wald Nature Park . 4th edition. Theiss, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 3-8062-2033-6 , p. 111)
  7. on ( Memento of the original from September 17, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  8. Pfedelbach 1037-1987. From past and present . Edited by the community of Pfedelbach. Thorbecke, Sigmaringen 1987, ISBN 3-921429-30-7 , ISBN 3-7995-7630-4 ( Research from Württemberg-Franconia . Volume 30)
  9. Egil Pastor: The robbers from the Mainhardter Forest. An 18th century crime story . Haller Tagblatt publishing house, Schwäbisch Hall 1986
  10. The robbers from the Mainhardter Forest
  11. Homepage of the Mainhardter Wald area