Nature Trail

The Nature Trail invites you to discover the beauty of the diverse agricultural zone in Basel’s Bruderholz district.

The 32 stations on the Nature Trail give visitors an insight into the wealth of experience of the people who have been involved with nature and agriculture in Bruderholz for many years. The stories tell of local changes, climatic influences, and the deep connection between people and nature.  

Discover unspoilt nature, farmland, viewpoints, barbecue areas and much more – all in close proximity to the city. Bruderholz is a place where plants, people and animals interact and shape their habitat together.  

The Nature Trail was created in collaboration with the Basel Social Club and the University of Basel. 

The stations can be visited in any order. The locations of all 32 stations on the Nature Trail are marked on the map.

The Bruderholz as a jigsaw

As a result of inheritance laws and tenures, Bruderholz is divided into small, scattered fields farmed by several farmers. 

In spite of the circumstances

Trees are felled for safety or pest protection, but continue to provide new habitats as tree stumps, demonstrating the resilience of nature.

See, hear, smell, feel...

Bruderholz invites you to pause and consciously experience nature with all your senses by watching, listening, smelling and feeling. 

Life is movement

Life means change: organisms go through life cycles, and the seasons shape Bruderholz and its inhabitants. 

Locally produced

Bruderholz is home to farm animals and a variety of plants. Many products are processed locally or used elsewhere, with each cultivation decision undergoing careful consideration. 

There for all of us

As a place to work, live and relax, Bruderholz offers diversity for everyone and everything – from farmers to Sunday walkers to certain plants – and reminds us to treat nature responsibly. 

Gone with the Wind

Fewer and fewer poplars define the landscape, as many need to be felled due to storm damage in order to keep people and buildings safe. 

The laws of nature?

Farmers need to adapt not only to natural conditions, but also to legal regulations such as the Swiss Federal Act on Rural Land Rights, which can be challenging, especially in times of climate crisis. 

Peace under the linden trees

As well as providing places to relax and linger, the linden trees in Bruderholz are also living monuments to peace and calm on account of the gentle rustling noise they make and their imposing size.  

Humans and nature

Humans shape nature in many ways – by building or by working the land, for instance – but our actions can have both positive and negative impacts on the environment; we therefore need to treat nature responsibly in order to keep it functioning and preserve its beauty. 

Biotopes as small oases

People shape nature by creating biotopes and ponds as artificial habitats that provide retreats for plants and animals and encourage biodiversity.

Nature without us?

Nature is a complex system characterized by a remarkable ability to regulate itself, where various ‘stakeholders’ – nature conservation associations, forestry commissions, animals and plants, wind and rain, and microorganisms – play a fundamental role in maintaining the ecological balance.  

Sleeping fields, inhabited bushes

Agricultural policies give farmers in Switzerland various options for creating sanctuaries on their agricultural land, such as letting fields lie fallow in the traditional way or creating strips for beneficial organisms, which provide important habitats for biodiversity and promote sustainable land use. 

An ‘ivy tree’ in transition 

This carrier tree exists in a symbiotic relationship with ivy, which overruns it, offering small animals and birds an important habitat.

Constant work and foresight

Bruderholz offers local recreation thanks to a well-planned infrastructure of paths, benches and catering facilities – all of which require regular maintenance.

Is this nature?

Nature in Bruderholz is characterized by a wide variety of definitions and perspectives – from local recreation area to agricultural land – depending on individual points of view and experiences.

A wild cherry tree

A wild cherry tree in Bruderholz, renowned for its magnificent blossoms in spring and gleaming fruits in summer, symbolizes the rich cultural history and culinary tradition of the Basel region, cultivated by generations of farmers.

Baselbiet without its cherries?

The climate crisis is threatening the cherry trees in Bruderholz and throughout the Basel region – early flowering, frost damage, hailstorms and plagues of insects are badly affecting harvests and putting farmers’ livelihoods at risk.

Making adjustments 

In order to combat the changing climatic conditions in Bruderholz, rangers implement specific measures such as the targeted planting of various tree species to encourage the rejuvenation of the forest and boost its resilience.

Vermicelli instead of cherry pie?

Chestnut trees are being introduced in Bruderholz – to replace cherry trees that are becoming unprofitable due to the changing climatic conditions. This process involves preserving the old cherry tree stocks while gradually integrating the new trees.

Living deadwood

Even ancient and frail trees can continue to provide habitats for a variety of animals and make an important contribution to the ecosystem by giving nutrients back to the cycle of life as they decay.

Maize on a detour

The impressive maize maze not only offers fun and excitement, it also highlights just how versatile corn is as a food for livestock and people. Corn originated in Mexico and came to Europe following the colonization of America.

Look up to the sky!

A variety of bird species can be seen in the sky above Bruderholz, including swallows, birds of prey, crows and storks, all of which have different flight patterns and hunting techniques.

A universe by the wayside

People need to pay attention to where they are walking and watch out for creepy-crawlies and wild flowers, all of which are vital if the insects are to play their part in maintaining a balance.

Between cantonal and field boundaries

Farmers adjust boundaries every 10 years, often with the assistance of surveyors and sophisticated measurement technology such as GPS and laser instruments, in order to mark fields and correct any unintentional shifting of boundaries, which can affect harvests.

Between planning and letting grow

Forestry measures boost forest health and the diversity of tree species, while the forestry sector adapts to the current climatic conditions and increasingly intervenes in emergencies in order to maintain a good mix in the woods and reduce the rotation period.

Ecological infrastructure as a balance

Ecological compensation areas such as the brush piles are havens for biodiversity, providing small animals with nesting opportunities and protection, while hedgerows, wild meadows and small bodies of water encourage ecological diversity and create a sustainable infrastructure. 

Living with or from the oak

Oaks are key to supporting biodiversity, as they can affect up to 1,000 species, including lichens, insects, woodpeckers and other animals that live and nest in these trees.

Of roads and animals

Interconnecting areas are vital for biodiversity, as they offer animals and plants ecological corridors. A lack of structures such as wildlife bridges leads to tragic losses.

The laws of the forest

The forest is a protected public space that is legally safeguarded against wrongful use. Exceptions are only possible if it is in the public interest, such as the construction of the Bruderholz hospital a few decades ago. In this case, the necessary clearing of woodland was compensated for by mandatory reforestation elsewhere.


Bruderholz has a wide, open landscape that conveys a feeling of freedom and provides space for rest and relaxation – both for visitors and for the wildlife living there.

The foundation beneath us

The soil is an essential resource, comprising various layers and functions that have been created as a result of lengthy processes and are influenced by agriculture in order to maintain fertility and yields.