The bifurcation at Krollbach

The characteristic of the rare bifurcations is that a stream divides, whereby both arms do not meet again in the further course. This is where the Krollbach divides: the left main arm reaches the North Sea via Haustenbach, Lippe and Rhine, the right one first flows through the centre of Hövelhof and then also flows into the North Sea via the Ems. There was a natural bifurcation about 1.5 km upstream north of Hasendorfweg. In particular, the right arm there formed a wild stream network with numerous ponds (the name Kroll, in Low German: “Krull”, is derived from it). The cause of this inland delta was an Ice Age hill in today’s town centre, which blocked the path of the stream.

Since this northern arm also fed the moats at the Prince-bishop’s hunting lodge with water, the moats were maintained after it was built in 1661. Neglected after 1800, the area of today’s town centre was swamped increasingly, however the right Krollbach arm fell dry. As a result, a devastating “marsh fever” set in at the end of the 1820s. Many people from Hövelhof fell ill, a large number died.

The royal government sent doctor Dr. Schmidt to Hövelhof. In addition to his actual task, treating the symptoms, he also researched the causes and, more importantly: He made specific suggestions for remedial action! As a result, aisles were cut in the forest to ventilate the area, a gravedigger was hired and a new bifurcation was created here at this point. The artificially created canal branched off to the right, from then on supplied the town centre with running water, whereby the bordering swamps fell dry again by means of it. At that time there were about 50 buildings in the town centre, without the construction of this bifurcation in connection with the canal, further settlement would have been impossible.

Die Bifurkation des Krollbachs in Hoevelhof (Foto: T. Henning)