Useful Information

The Weiße Wand (White Wall), Heimensteinhöhle, Deutschland.
Upper entrance, Heimensteinhöhle, Deutschland.
Location: 73272 Neidlingen.
On the Heimenstein opposite the Reußenstein ruins. A8 exit Aichelberg/Weilheim-Teck, L1214 3 km to Weilheim/Teck, turn left L1200 through Neidlingen 8 km, turn right K1430 towards Lenningen-Schopfloch. Park at the "Bahnhöfle" hikers' car park, 1 km/15 minutes walk.
(48.5591772, 9.5537909)
Open: no restrictions.
AUG to DEC lower entrance open.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave SpeleologyRiver Cave through-cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=80 m, A=756 m NN, VR=20 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Wilhelm Hauff (): Der Reußenstein, In: Die Fackel, Lesebuch für höhere Schulen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht online Deutsch - German
Address: Tourismus Marketing GmbH Baden-Württemberg, Esslinger Straße 8, 70182 Stuttgart, Tel. +49-711-238580. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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~1240 Mention of a Gerboldus Diktus de Haimenstein.
1251 Mention of Ulrich von Hamesthain, retainer of the Dukes of Teck.
1296 Mention of a Gerboldus von Heimenstein.
1477 Mention of Margarete vom Stain from Heimenstein.
1596 Heimenstein Castle depicted on Gadner's map.


Gate at the lower entrance, Heimensteinhöhle, Deutschland.
You can only see the ruins of Reußenstein once you have left the cave, Heimensteinhöhle, Deutschland.
Erosional forms, Heimensteinhöhle, Deutschland.
Aussicht vom Heimenstein auf Neidlingen, rechts die Ruine Reußenstein, Heimensteinhöhle, Deutschland.

The Heimensteinhöhle (Heimenstein Cave) is named after the Heimenstein, a prominent rock opposite the Reußenstein castle ruin. The rock is the site of a barely recognizable castle. From the 13th to the 15th century, inhabitants of this castle were repeatedly mentioned in documents, and the castle itself is marked on a map from the 16th century. The Heimenstein Cave, which is located inside this rock and is a through-cave, was probably integrated into the defence system. The almost completely destroyed castle is also known as Burgstall Heimenstein (Heimenstein Castle). Only the remains of the moat are still recognizable today.

This is the edge of a valley, the end of the Lindach Valley, where the village of Neidlingen is located. The hard limestone of the White Jurassic (Malm) forms the escarpment of the Swabian Alb, and it also forms an escarpment here at the edge of the valley, which consists of a vertical rock face made of limestone. This was named, not very creatively, the Weiße Wand (White Wall). However, the wall is not straight, it forms individual protruding rocks and also some columnar rocks. The Weiße Wand Natural Monument begins at the end of the valley at the Bahnhöfle hiking car park. If you follow the path from the car park to Heimenstein, you will find yourself directly above it, which unfortunately means that you cannot see the rocks at all. Below the rocks is the karst spring of the Lindach, which forms the Neidlingen waterfalls immediately below the spring. These are probably the second-largest waterfall in the Middle Jura after the Urach waterfall, and are well worth seeing with their tufa deposits.

The Heimenstein Cave is a former river cave, which has very beautiful passage profiles and erosional forms. Water level marks and scours are particularly striking. The cave was cut through by the erosion of the Albtrauf and probably destroyed for the most part. The 80-m-long remainder forms a through-cave. It descends steeply from the mountain side, with several bends, until it finally reaches the second entrance 20 metres below. This is located in the rock face towards Reußenstein rock and offers a wonderful view of the Reußenstein ruins. The tour requires surefootedness, but is otherwise easy.

However, the lower entrance is closed from January to July because the rocks are breeding grounds. This time it's not about bat protection, it's about birds such as peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus), jackdaws (Corvus monedula), ravens (Corvus corax) and eagle owls (Bubo bubo), which build their nests on inaccessible ledges of the limestone cliffs. Because the breeding seasons overlap but are not the same, this results in a six-month closure. Of course, this ban also applies to rock climbing. There is an iron bar door at the bottom of the cave, which is closed during this time so that the rock face area cannot be reached. The cave itself can even be visited in winter, it is not a bat cave.

The cave became famous thanks to a romantic guache by Louis Mayer from 1836which was also published as an engraving. It shows the lower entrance with a view of the Reußenstein castle. Even though it is quite photorealistic, it shows a scene that does not actually exist. The Reußenstein is too close and too large, and it is actually not visible from the angle from which the cave entrance is depicted from the inside. We had to take two photos, one of the entrance portal, and one further out to see the castle ruins. Moreover, the cave itself is depicted in such a way that the spectacular erosion forms, which the painter obviously did not understand, are not recognizable at all. However, the engraving is an expression of a developing romantic view of natural monuments, which also finds expression in the fairy tale collections of Wilhelm Hauff. He published a local legend which tells of the giant Heim, who once lived in the cave at Heimenstein. Hence, the name Heim's Rock.

View out of the portal without castle ruins, Heimensteinhöhle, Deutschland.
Ausblick aus der Heimensteinhöhle auf den Reusenstein. Engraving, Mayer 1836.

Reußenstein Castle is perched on jagged rocks high up in the air and has no neighbours but the clouds and, at night, the moon. Just opposite the castle, on a mountain called Heimenstein, lies a cave in which a giant once lived. He had an enormous amount of gold and could have lived in splendour and joy if there had been more giants and giantesses besides him. Then it occurred to him that he wanted to build himself a castle like the ones the knights had on the Alb. The rock opposite seemed just right for him.

But he himself was a poor builder. He dug house-high rocks out of the Alb with his nails and placed them on top of each other, but they kept falling in and wouldn't make a skillful castle. So he lay down on the Beuren rock and shouted down into the valley for craftsmen: carpenters, bricklayers and stonemasons, locksmiths, all should come and help him, he wanted to pay well. His cries were heard throughout Swabia, from the Kocher river up to Lake Constance, from the Neckar to the Danube, and masters and journeymen came from everywhere to build the giant's castle. Now it was funny to see him sitting in front of his cave in the sunshine and building his castle on the high rock above the valley; the masters and journeymen were quick at work and built as he shouted across the valley to them; they had all sorts of jokes and merry amusement with him, because he knew nothing about building.

At last the building was finished, and the giant moved in and looked out of the highest window down into the valley, where the masters and journeymen were assembled, and asked them whether the castle looked well to him when he looked out of the window like that. But when he looked round, he became angry, for the masters had sworn that everything was finished, but there was still a nail missing from the top window where he was looking out.

The master locksmiths apologized and said that no one had dared to sit in front of the window and hammer in the nail. But the giant would not hear of it and would not pay the wages until the nail had been hammered in.

So they all went back into the castle. The fiercest of the lads presumed it would be a small matter for them to hammer in the nail. But when they came to the top window and looked out and down into the valley that lay so deep below them, with nothing but rocks all around, they shook their heads and departed in shame. Then the masters offered tenfold wages to anyone who hammered in the nail, but for a long time no one was found.

Now there was a nimble journeyman locksmith who loved his master's daughter, and she loved him too, but her father was a hard man and would not give her to him in marriage because he was poor. He took heart and thought he could earn his bride here or die, for life was miserable for him without her. He went before the master, her father, and said: "Will you give me your daughter if I hammer in the nail?" But he thought to get rid of him in this way if he fell down on the rocks and broke his neck, and said yes.

The nimble locksmith's apprentice took the nail and his hammer, said a pious prayer and prepared to go out of the window and drive the nail for his girl. Then a cry of joy arose among the builders, so that the giant awoke from his sleep and asked what was the matter. And when he heard that someone had been found who was willing to drive the nail, he came and looked at the young locksmith for a long time, and said, "You are a good fellow, and have more heart than that riff-raff there; come, I will help you." Then he took him by the scruff of the neck, so that it went through their marrow and bones, lifted him out of the window into the air, and said, "Now hit it, I will not let you fall." And the servant drove the nail into the stone, so that it stuck; but the giant kissed and caressed him, so that he nearly died, and led him to the master locksmith, and said, "To this one you give your little daughter. Then he went over to his cave, took out a money-bag, and paid each of them in pence and farthing. At last, he came to the nimble journeyman locksmith; to him he said, "Now go home, you hearty fellow, get your master's little daughter and move into this castle, for it is yours."

Wilhelm Hauff: Der Reußenstein, In: Die Fackel, Lesebuch für höhere Schulen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht