Useful Information

Location: Between Bockenem and Sehlde (L498), turn off to the Restaurant Jägerhaus, signposted.
Open: Closed, key from the restaurant.
Restaurant: all year daily 11-19.
Fee: free.
Classification: SubterraneaCave Church
Light: bring torch
Dimension: A=236 m N.N.
Guided tours:
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: steep stone staircase requires some surefootedness
Address: Herr Helmut Maibom, Hundemarkt 6, 38279 Sehlde, Tel: +49-5341-338162.
Jägerhaus im Hainberg, Wiebke Strohmeyer, 38279 Sehlde, Tel: +49-5067-1562.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1727 relief created.
1729 place visited by Fürstbischof Clemens August.
1733 Hubertuskapelle dug.
1838 Waldgaststätte Jägerhaus built.


The Hubertuskapelle (St. Hubert Chapel) is a small underground church cut into the Hilssandstein. It is located below the beergarden of the Restaurant Jägerhaus, the key is available at the restaurant.

East of the small town Bockenem on a forested hill called Hainberge, huge sandstone cliffs named Bodensteiner Klippen can be found. They form towers and cliffs with overhanging faces, mushroom shaped rocks and cracks. Several cracks are cave-like, but they are mostly small. There is even a rock with a huge seat, probably shaped by humans. The Hainberge are crossed by numerous trails, so it is possible to walk from one rock to the next. The soft rock was altered by man at numerous places.

The reddish sandstone is named Hilssandstein and was formed during the Mesozoic, in the Lower Cretaceous some 110 Million years ago. Fine sand was deposited close to the coast in a shallow sea and fixed by clay and iron minerals. The result is a soft rock with reddish, brown, or green colours. The rock is found only in this area, and was quarried because of its softness, which made the processing easier. On the other hand the softness is the reason why the rock is easily weathered and in times of agressive air pollution it is far too weak. As a result the rock is not quarried any more.

A road is branching off to the Restaurant from the L498 between Bockenem and Sehlde. Beneath the restaurant is the Hubertuskapelle, an underground structure cut into the sandstone. It was built by Johann Friedrich Anton Freiherr von Bocholtz Droste zum Wohldenberg in 1733. It was intended as a chapel for the hunters roaming the forest.

The first artificial change of the rock was probably a hut, from which a 1 m high niche with a sort of chimney remains. Holes, where the roof was affixed, and some remains of walls can still be seen. The exact age of this structure is unknown. Some say it was a hermitage, other say it was a hut for hunters built by Johann Friedrich Anton Freiherr von Bocholtz. There are legends that this place was used as a sacred place even earlier, but here is no archaeological evidence.

In 1727 an artful relief showing the conversion of the hunter Hubertus by God in the form of a stag was cut into the cliff face. Hubertus is kneeling and the stag is standing elevated on a rock, with a cross in his antlers. This central scene is surrounded by the dogs and the horses of Hubertus, there are trees in the background.

Saint Hubertus or Hubert lived in Belgium and was the first bishop of Liège in the early 8th century. Hubertus is the patron saint of hunters, which is a result of an episode in his youth. He was a nobleman living at the court of Austrasia at Metz where he married Floribanne, daughter of Dagobert, the Count of Leuven. She died giving birth to their son Floribert, and out of grief Hubert retreated from the court to hunt in the Ardennes. He hunted without caring for the calendar and so he pursued a magnificent stag on Good Friday morning. The animal turned around and he saw a crucifix standing between its antlers, while he heard a voice saying: "Hubert, unless thou turnest to the Lord, and leadest an holy life, thou shalt quickly go down into hell". He dismounted and prostrated before the stag and asked: "Lord, what wouldst Thou have me do?" He was answered: "Go and seek Lambert, and he will instruct you." So he went to Maastricht, where Lambert was bishop, distributed all his personal wealth among the poor, gave up his birthright as a nobleman, and started studying for the priesthood.

Only six years after the relief was created, in 1733, the chapel was dug into the rock. From the outside the place looks like all other sandstone cliffs in the area, with an entrance cut into the rock. The main room is 1.60 m wide and 2.90 m long, the ceiling is 2.60 m high. There is a second tunnel opposite the entrance leading to the top of the rock, close to the restaurant. It is 12 m long with a steep staircase. We know when and how the chapel was created because of a Latin inscription at the wall on one side:

Ego Johannes Friedericus Antonius L.B. (Liber Baro) de Bocholtz
Satrapa in Wohldenberg
Haec Fieri Feci.
Dilecti Posteri Mementote Mei
Et Orate Pro Me.

In the Year 1733
I, Johann Friedrich Anton Freiherr von Bocholtz
Droste zum Wohldenberg
ordered the construction of this.
Dear Followers, remember me
and pray for me.

On the opposite wall of the chapel is a massive altar which was cut out of the rock. In the wall behind the altar is a niche with a shell like form, probably to place a crucifix or a sculpture inside. It is flanked on both sides by putti. It is crowned by the all-seeing eye of God.

The building on top of the rock was built in 1838 by Graf Ernst Friedrich Herbert von Münster. In 1881 a tower was added to the building and in 1936 a long hall was erected. This place was visited by famous people, including several bishops, and in the 1930s Hermann Göring visited the place regularly. Today the building is used as a restaurant with beergarden.