Eckbach between Dirmstein and Laumersheim
Confluence with Rhine at Worms,
|Progression||Rhine → North Sea|
|Length||39.27 km (24.40 mi)|
|Mouth elevation||90 m (300 ft)|
|Basin area||217.847 km2 (84.111 sq mi)|
|Left tributaries||Rothbach, Floßbach|
|Right tributaries||Höninger Bach, Schrakelbach|
The Eckbach (locally known as the Eck and in the lower reaches also as Neugraben or Leiniger Graben) is a small stream in the northeastern Palatinate and the southeastern Rhenish Hesse. It is slightly over 39 km long.
In the Middle Ages, the river was known as Leinbach. This name refers to the Leinbaum, that is, the Lime tree (Tilia × europaea L., not related to the Citrus aurantifolia, the tree that produces the lime (fruit)). In those days, both the Norway Maple (Acer platanoides) and the Large-leaved Linden (Tilia platyphyllos) were called Leinbaum in German. Both species were common on the banks of the Eckbach. One difference between the species is the shape of the leaves: maple leaves are five lobed, lime leaves are undivided. The coat of arms of the House of Leiningen shows a stylized tree with five-lobed leaves and five-pointed flowers clearly point to a maple. The House of Leiningen originated in the area around the upper Eckbach. It is entirely possible that they named their ancestral castle after the river. The family was later named after their castle and the area around the upper Eckbach is now called Leininger Land.
In the early 19th century, the local name of the river was Eck, as it is today. The Kingdom of Bavaria acquired the Palatinate in 1816. When Bavarian cartographers mapped the area, they were unaware of the meaning of the word Eck and wanted to make it clear that the "Eck" is a brook, so they recorded the name as Eckbach. Linguistically speaking, this name means "brook brook".
The Eckbach rises near Carlsberg in northern Palatinate forest. The spring is framed in sandstone and is located southeast of A6 (Saarbrücken-Mannheim) at a height of in the Kleinfrankreich ("Little France") section of the Hertlingshausen district of Carlsberg. The spring is marked by a so-called Knight Stone.
The area surrounding the upper Eckbach is known as the Leininger Land, after the noble family who dominated the area in the High Middle Ages. The Eckbach is the central watercourse in this area. This part of the river is managed by the Gewässer-Zweckverband Isenach-Eckbach, a division of the district Bad Dürkheim. The river initially flows in an easterly direction through Hertlingshausen, then northeast through Altleiningen, where it receives water from the artificial 20-Röhren-Brunnen ("20 tubes wells"). In the northeastern outskirts of Altleiningen, the Eckbach takes up the 4 km long Rothbach from the left, then the 5 km long Höninger Bach from the right.
After flowing through the Eckbachweiher reservoir at Neuleiningen-Tal, the Eckbach breaks through the eastern edge of the Palatinate Forest, the Haardt, between the village of Battenberg on the south bank and Neuleiningen on the north bank. It reaches the Vines-lined hill surrounding the German Wine Route at Kleinkarlbach. In Kirchheim an der Weinstrasse, the Eckbach, now flowing eastward, passes under the north-south-trending B271, then it flows through Bissersheim. From there, the Eckbach flows in a northeasterly direction to Großkarlbach, where it crosses the A 6 before flowing through Laumersheim.
In Dirmstein, the Eckbach takes up the 8 km long Floßbach, locally known as the Landgraben, which is the Eckbach's most voluminous tributary. To the left, that is, to the north of the Eckbach, the structure of the hills is clearly defined. There is a long stretch of low ridge with the three hilltops defining the divide between the Eisbach and the Eckbach: the Wörschberg (163 m) north of the road connecting Obersülzen and Dirmstein, the Schneckenberg (143 m) between Dirmstein and Offstein and the Stahlberg (134 m) between Dirmstein and the Heppenheim district of Worms.
The area south and to the right or the Eckbach is flatter and the Großkarlbach-Laumersheim-Dirmstein-Gerolsheim area used to be a swampy lowland, which was used as pasture land. Further south lies the divide between the Eckbach and its southern neighbour, the Fuchsbach. This was a lift tributary of the Isenach until the second half of the 20th century, when most of its water was diverted into Schrakelbach. The area between Laumersheim, Dirmstein, Gerolsheim and Heuchelheim contains a number of irrigation canals: Weihergraben, Altbach, Kühweidegraben, Altgraben, Bittinggraben and Lerchengraben. These ditches begin as distributaries of the Eckbach and return to the Eckbach 4 to 8 km downstream, some of them directly into Eckbach, some flow into Schrakelbach. East of Heuchelheim and to the north of the Frankenthal Interchange, the A61 crosses the Eckbach.
The Eckbach then flows past Beindersheim. Just north of Beindersheim, it accepts from the right the Schrakelbach, which contains water from the Fuchsbach and from some of the irrigation canals mentioned earlier. The Eckbach the flows through the western part of the Upper Rhine Plain, flowing northnortheast past the villages Großniedesheim and Kleinniedesheim. It continues northeast through Bobenheim, which is the northern part of Bobenheim-Roxheim. The next section is called Neugraben ("New Ditch") and flows straight north. To the southeast of Worms Airport, the Eckbach turns east.
The river then flows into the Wormser Ried nature reserve. It crosses the municipal border into Worms, where it is known as Leininger Graben. The last bridge across the Eckbach carries the B9. It flows past the recreational area Bürgerweide on the southern side, then into the Upper Rhine at .