Jagst hike & paint, Etappe 5


JAGST hike & paint, Etappe 5, Neidenfels, Kernmühle bis Heinzenmühle

This 5th part of the journey dates originally from the end of February. It was the first unusually warm day this year. My report of that comes only now, as I would like to keep the story in the right order along the flow of the river.

For this journey I took a whole day off and changed my painting stool against a picnic blanket as well as sufficient provisions to have it comfortable on the way. My car was parked in Neidenfels.

At the start of the hike I could hear the noises from the nearby quarry. After passing a mill called Kernmühle I descend into Jagst valley. At first you would think you are in a fairytale forest with extremely green moss on trees and stones. The valley is steep like a canyon. You can see ruins (like in my sketch above) and you can see limestone formations on both sides of the valley. 


I see the first crocuses of the year which I definitely needed to paint. Further behind these little flowers there was a wooden stem that looked like a sleeping swan. It feels like being in an enchanted forest. After some time of continuing my way I see a scenic viewpoint where I make my first picnic. Quite luxurious to drink a good coffee and have a bite in the wilderness.

Muscheln aus der Jagst

After that the area of the valley becomes much wider and a large gravel bed opens up in front of me. A short time beforehand (maybe two weeks before) it had been inondated by the rivers highwaters and I find a lot of green-brown shells that matches the colour of the water. The stones however are not very polished, but rather angular and rugged (see my watercolour above)

After a while I reach the inflow of Gronach creek into Jagst river. If you would follow the creek you would reach within about half an hour an ancient forge called Hammerschmiede (this could be another side story…). I make a second coffee stop and paint a small covered bridge over Gronach creek.

Brücke über Gronach

After all those smaller size watercolours I change to an A3 to be able to get most of the bridge onto my sheet. The trees are very mossy and still have no leaves. The Gronach creek splashes into Jagst river at this point. Below you can see a photo of my sketch on site.

I continue, crossing the bridge towards my endpoint. Still a hike below the Autobahn bridge to Heinzenmühle. There I make two swatches of the colour of the riverwater and it is time to hike the whole way back to the car.  I am done and it was a long, long day, but the good thing is that I can feel the sun on my skin.

Material: Clairefontaine grain fin 20 x 20 cm und Canson A3

Seen: 1 grey heron, 2 ducks, 5 deer, 7 hikers and a few brimstones

Duration: A full day

Weather: Early spring weather at about 18 degrees C, sunny!!!

Thoughts: Total luxury. Great picnic. Can’t wait to be back on the track.

Jagst hike & paint, Etappe 4


JAGST hike & paint, Etappe 4, from Barenhalden to Neidenfels

After a period of very cold weather, the weather finally seemed promising for my next hike.

Starting point was Barenhalden, the connection to my last hike & paint adenture. This time I planned a round tour by bike. To get back to where I started from, I have to cross two old stone bridges over Jagst river.

The upper watercolour shows my starting point with the partly renovated buildings of ancient Barenhalden Quarry.

From there I continue to follow the direction of flow of Jagst river to the left of the stream. The ups and downs in the landscape are great fun and the Jagst cuts deeply into the valley.  I see a tiny wooden bridge over a small creek (Schmiedebach) that flows into Jagst river. A scenic place, time to rest. 

wet-in-wet - nearly washed away by the rain

I observe water running smoothly over some steps of the creek. It looks like a flat cascade and from the moment I saw it my full attention was on the moving water.

Unpacked my watercolour equipment and started a direct watercolour without preliminary drawing.

After two washes of colours it began to rain. In the beginning I did not care and thought „nice and authentic“, but soon it became more heavy and extremely wet. I fled under the nearby small bridge and sat there for half an hour before I could continue. I packed my still wet watercolour (see photo above) into a bag and hoped to be able to save it later. Below you can see the finished piece.

Cascades close to Barenhalden

Let’s continue on muddy paths, up and down the valley. Direction north-west I come by a lovely pond and turn right to Neidenfels on a road which feels like heaven (beneath my bike tires). It is an asphalted road and leads downwards with a nice view to Burleswagen castle. I cross the stone bridge (first crossing of Jagst river and starting point for my next tour).

From here, I am on my way back direction Sattelweiler, Burleswagen on the official „Jagst Trail“ to Barenhalden. Then I had to cross the beautiful Barenhalden stone bridge, to get back to where I started from.


Material: Clairefontaine A3 and the flower sketches are smaller size

Seen: ducks, geese, bugs, 3 hikers, 1 biker, heard: lots of birds (one of them sounded like a car alarm), white sloe blossom is beginning and there are also some different flowers like wild orchids, cowslip and anemones of which I sketched some in watercolour. A light scent of wild garlic is in the air.

Duration: Nearly full day

Weather: A sometimes sunny and in other times wet-in-wet adventure, about 15 degrees C. (Clothes wet and dirty, in the end dry and dirty)

Thoughts: Found a new favourite place to add to my list of good places. Everything is so calm. Need to make a new support board for my watercolours, as mine broke while hiding under the bridge.

Learning: An umbrella could have helped against the rain…and never give up in difficult painting situations…

Wilde Orchidee

Made a few small sketches of an anemone and a few orchids I saw during my hike.

There were also white orchids in the shape of the pink one and so much more flowers…

Jagst hike & paint, Etappe 3

Steinbruch an der Heldenmühle
Steinbruch at Heldenmühle

JAGST hike & paint, Etappe 3, Auhof to Barenhalden

The best thing about my self set challenge is that it gets me out to see familiar places with fresh eyes and explore the nature close-by. 

Starting point was at Heldenmühle, which is very close to Auhof, where I ended last time. This next tour, for a change is done by bike, otherwise I would not be able to do this long hike in half a day.

I follow the signs of „Jagststeig“ and turn left after the quarry and follow its edges (which is left/west of Auhof).  The quarry digs deep furrows in the terrain and in some places you can see the rock layers quite well. The stone colours vary from light grey / rose to yellow ochre and dark grey-brown in shadow parts.

As you look down there are a few waterponds which have a wonderful green colour. A nice contrast to the stones around. It is like Grand Canyon (or Superpit) in a smaller format ; ) My sketch of the quarry looks somehow like an abstract watercolour.


A nice short bike ride through the forest with Jagst river to the left, I end up on a large lea with reed to the sides of the river. A few ducks can be seen there and at the edge of the forest you can perceive the scent of wild garlic in the partial shade of the trees.

After another few hundred metres you reach Weidenhäuser Mühle and this is where  I started an A3 Format watercolour.  The colour of the water ranges from white in agitated places by the weir to calm place which are very dark blue-green-violet. Below you can see my pencil drawing.

I continue the road up into the forest and as I reach Barenhalden I cross the bridge, get past the Motocross area and crossing Tiefenbach to get back to my starting point. This was a long and fulfilling sportif half day which as well made the creative juices pump.

Material: A3 and 20×20 cm watercolour paper

Seen: Ducks,  Beetles, 6 bikers, a few hikers, spring bloomers, wild garlic

Duration of stay: A very long half day – my longest Etappe so far

Weather: Spring is in the air, about 15°C

Thoughts: So great to be outside, making sports…I decided to continue…this part of the journey was very sporty and if you had a full day on hand you could also do it by foot.

Learning:  Good things are quite close in our very natural and calm area by the river.