The altitude means you get a proper winter with good chances of a white Christmas and this is a great cross-country skiing area.
It also means that, on our doorstep, there are plenty of forest paths with challenging hills for cycling and running in all directions. You rarely meet another person but can come across deer, foxes and badgers along the way. The forest around us means the air is fresh and clean – Freudenstadt developed as a health resort over 100 years ago.
Open water swimming is popular here in summer and the reservoirs and lakes sit in spectacular wooded valleys.
The altitude means we have a slightly different climate and surroundings than we were used to in the UK. Temperatures vary more widely and there is more snow in winter, but we also often have sunshine when it is foggy back down towards sea-level. The flora and fauna reflect the higher altitude.
The history of exploitation by man has left an interesting landscape of managed forest and pastures. Large areas have now been designated nature reserves in order to preserve the particular habitats this has created.
The high moors or ‘Grinden’ lie just above our valley and the wild forest reserves around the glacial cirque lakes of the northern Black Forest are a short drive away.
Our house is actually in a cirque valley. The northern Black Forest attracts large numbers of visitors for outdoor activities, but the sheer size of the state forest and nature reserves means that you can walk for hours without meeting any other people and there are many miles of well-maintained and clearly signposted trails.
The town of Freudenstadt is above us at 740m, so it’s a good, hard climb up for an evening out and a nice downhill stroll home. If you are interested in fine cuisine, the village of Baiersbronn, only 10 minutes by car, has become a culinary hot-spot with several of the best chefs in Germany working there.