Along the river Wupper you’ll find many remains of so called Kotten. What’s a Kotten? It’s a small workshop where grinders whetted knifes, scissors, swords and other blades. From the Late Middle Ages until the 19th century these workshops were typical along the Wupper. All types of blades were produced in the surrounding hills in charcoal kilns. It was a business for the whole family. The men worked the blades, the women took the products in baskets of about 20 kilos down the hills to the grinding shops situated along the river Wupper or the many burns mouthing into the Wupper. The huge grinding stones were driven by hydropower through water wheels.
Of course theses grinding shops are all history now. Many of them are in ruins or even overgrown by vegetation. However, some of them remained because there were people who cared. One of those is the Wipperkotten. It’s maintained by a friends’ association. The huge wheel inside the small half-timbered house is still running. Even some grinders are working there – almost with the same machinery as hundred years ago. If you like, you may take your knives and scissors there to be sharpened for little money. I assure you, I’ve never had such sharp knives before and a sharp knife makes work in the kitchen very easy!
You may walk through the natural forest with thick high old beeches on one side of the river and some asparagus and tulip fields on the other side. If you are lucky you may see common kingfisher, dipper, common heron, mallard and nutria.
If you are hungry you may enjoy a hot chocolate and a piece of cake or one of the famous waffles at the newly reopened Haasenmühle. If you are up to something hearty you order a steak and a beer from the tap at the Wipperaue Hotel and Restaurant. They even provide 12 beautifully decorated spacious rooms to sleep in.
Be prepared for a treasure and enjoy history in combination with nature!