The Senne landscape area extends over an area of approx. 350 km² and is located on the edge of the Teutoburg Forest between Bielefeld, Paderborn and Detmold. The Senne is located on the eastern edge of the Westphalian Bay natural area and is part of the natural spatial unit of Ostmünsterland. The core area of the Senne landscape is the military training area that has existed for over 100 years. Together with the Lippe Forest, part of the Teutoburg Forest, it forms a large contiguous area that is not populated and not divided by major roads. This area is almost 200 km² – unique in the otherwise densely populated North Rhine-Westphalia. Around 80 km² are located the areas of the Teutoburg Forest bordering to the north and east; about 120 km² belong to the Senne military training area. Surrounded by the municipalities of Schlangen, Augustdorf, Hövelhof and the cities of Paderborn, Schloss-Holte Stukenbrock and Bad Lippspringe, the military training area with its characteristic landscape plays a central role in the Senne.
This landscape is largely shaped by the nutrient-poor sandy soils. The Senne sand, which was deposited here about 200,000 years ago, at the end of the Saale Ice Age, when compared to the sands in other regions of northwest Germany, which are of more recent origin and are therefore not so strongly washed out by rainwater, is extremely poor in nutrients and is strongly acidic. The historical pest management on the heathland reinforced this development. When agriculture began to intensify with the introduction of artificial fertilisers at the end of the 19th century, part of the Senne was already a military training area. This area has never been used intensively for agriculture. These factors make the Senne the most nutrient-poor landscape in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Accordingly, we find here many plants, which have become rare today, which have specialised in existing on the acidic soil and with the lack of nutrients. Due to the extensive cultivation of the sandy soils, one plant in particular was able to establish itself in the Senne in the past centuries, which has shaped the landscape to this day: heather. In addition to the heathlands dominated by it, it is forests, bodies of water and moors that make the Senne and the adjacent Teutoburg Forest a mosaic of different habitats with an astonishing biodiversity.
With the Senne and the adjacent areas of the Teutoburg Forest, a landscape has been preserved that is not only extremely valuable for nature conservation, but is also of national importance for tourism, water management and other areas of public interest.