Located at the Toelleturm (Toelle Tower) in the eastern part of Wuppertal’s Südhöhen (southern hills), this almost 6-hectare landscape park can be found at the edge of a historical villa district not far from the Barmer Anlagen parkland. The Vorwerk family park was founded around 1907 and has a spectacular topography that affords wonderful views over the Murmelbach valley to the south. The park terrain features a difference in height of around sixty metres which extends from the large garden area at the entrance and down a 20-metre slope with a rock garden to the water landscape of the Murmelbach stream valley. The highlight of the garden is the magnificent blossom of the large rhododendrons in a variety of colours in early summer.
A “natural park of rare grace and beauty” – this is how the once private landscape park was described in a commemorative publication of 1927 for company founder Adolf Vorwerk. To this day, visitors are enraptured by its location, diversity and the colours of its rhododendron blossom in spring.
In 1895, Adolf Vorwerk had a private summer house built to the south of the Toelleturm for his family. It later became the main residence of his unmarried daughter Emma (Adolf-Vorwerk-Straße 23). The garden at “Villa Emma” (occupied until 1959 and later demolished) was landscaped and planted picturesquely with a wide variety of deciduous and coniferous trees. In order to extend the villa garden, Adolf Vorwerk acquired a former quarry from which building material for the villa district “Am Toelleturm” had previously been extracted. Together with a large area surrounding the quarry, Vorwerk had a total area of about 30 hectares at his disposal.
This former quarry and the adjacent area were transformed into a park designed by Vorwerk, who died in 1925. Today, it is known as the “Vorwerk Park”. The park’s landscape design incorporated the terrain’s already existing considerable differences in height, the rocks, stream and cultural landscape (forest, meadows, wetlands).
The Vorwerk Park can be accessed from the Barmer Wald and Barmer Anlagen by way of an arcade. The date on the steps, 1895, is a clear indication of when it was built. This arcade, which is open on all sides, was constructed before the quarry, whereby the aim of Adolf Vorwerk’s design here was to create a transition from his villa garden to the Barmer Wald.
The park is located on three different levels. An extensive garden entrance with expansive lawns, an orchard, old trees and rhododendrons and the restored arcade opens out to give a view into the low-lying Murmelbach valley. The 20-metre rock face of the former quarry forms the centre of the park. Several viewing platforms to the side and above it form sheltered spots with sweeping views of the Bergisches Land, from which the park seems to grow like an organic extension. A magnificent rhododendron landscape, a water-lily pond and a southward-flowing stream can be found at the foot of the rock face. The third level is characterised by the Murmelbach valley waterscape with its damned ponds, waterfall and historical grotto.
The extraordinary stock of rhododendrons was co-founded by the well-known Wuppertal cultivator and nursery owner Georg Arends.
Damage caused by the Second World War was cleared during restoration of the park by Adolf Vorwerk’s son, Wilhelm Vorwerk, and various changes to the design were also made. The “rhododendron ravine” to the south of the rock garden, for example, can be traced back to his initiative, as can the island pond. These elements of design implemented by the Vorwerk family after the Second World War were a continuation of Adolf Vorwerk’s work. Today, the large collection of rhododendrons in particular gives the overall impression of a colourful landscape park.
The history of the park is closely linked to the development of the “Am Toelleturm” villa district. More villas were built at the beginning of the 20th century on the eastern side of Adolf-Vorwerk-Straße according to plans by architect Carl Kuebart. The eleveted location of these properties was used to create attractive views from the villas to the Barmer Wald and Vorwerk Park as well as far-reaching views over the Murmelbach valley. The upward view from the Vorwerk Park and Murmelbach valley, in turn, was of the composition formed by the backdrop of trees of the historical villa gardens and, in part, of the villas themselves on the higher level. The villa gardens are partly interconnected by paths and there are also private entrances to the Vorwerk Park. Villa residents were thus allowed to enter and use the private park. In this respect, there is a relationship between these villas with their valuable gardens and the Vorwerk Park in terms of spatial planning, design and function.
Fees: Free entry
Opening times: The park is open all year round
Guied tours: Check website for guided tours
- Restaurant: close to the park
- Toilet: Opposite Toelleturm (Eisenlohrstraße)
- Parking: Adolf-Vorwerk-Straße
- Barrier-free access: The partly steep paths are difficult to access for people with mobility disabilities. The upper part of the park is barrier-free.
- Dogs: Dogs must be kept on a leash.
- Cycling: For topographical reasons, the park is not suitable for cycling.