Castles are cool despite their original intent to control, intimidate and project power over people. Now, they are romantic and can offer great views over an area.
This Ride was the first scouting of a potential castles road tour and here we visited the ruins of the Rusteberg and the Gleichen.
When built in the 12th century the Rusteberg helped guard a trade and military route through the area, it didn´t last long before a feud (typical of the area) battered it.
Rebuilt as a smaller fortress the ill-fated Peasants Army during the Peasants Rebellion of 1524 marched past the Rusteberg without showing it much attention.
It was an administrative centre for many differing lords etc., and during the Thirty Years War it was surrendered to Protestant Hesse/Kassel forces and then later abandoned, much of it being quarried to provide stone for the new buildings below.
Although a castle in name the new Rusteberg (1749) acted mostly as an ´office block´ and is today a clinic for young people with issues such as drug addiction.
The ruins are romantic including a chapel, a wall, and a moat, although the tower is an 19th century addition.
Two castles once stood atop the Gleichen Hills from the 12th century, and they simply fell into disrepair during the 15th century when the Knights of the Gleichen preferred the comforts of their manor house in Appenrode.
The Ride – 55km
We rode out Göttingen along the B27 cycle path to Niederjnesa, then onto Obernjesa, Klein Schneen, Friedland and into Hesse near Marzhausen. After crossing the Autobahn we picked up a proposed future tour at Reckershausen (this route will come from the Jühnde and Berlepsch Castles). Next, we crossed from Lower Saxony into Thuringia (old DDR border) at Kirchgandern, then it was more cycle path riding before turning up toward Marth and the Rusteberg.
From here we headed to Bremke, into Lower Saxony after Rorhberg (crossing the defunct DDR border once more) and climbed the Gleichen Hills where the ruins of two castles are located and which we have visited on a previous occasion on gravel bikes.
At Benniehausen it was a left turn and we headed home, but a further scouting ride will take us right at this point to Sattenhausen with the Plesse and maybe the Norten-Hardenberg in mind whilst skirting the Gö Wald.
Next on the list is a tour including the Grone, Jühnde and Berlepsch Castles.