Bergen 18km – Groene Wissel

Nature area with sand dunes, heather, forest and beach – March 2018

A highland cow – Bergen aan Zee

Summary

This hike goes through one of my favorite nature areas in the Netherlands, the Schoorlse Duinen. This area is quite extensive and has a lot of variety. It combines sand dunes, which are the highest of the Netherlands, with forest, beach and open heather grounds. The nice village of Bergen lies on the route and is a good place for a lunch stop or a drink on a terrace. Overall we enjoyed this hike very much in the beginning of springtime and we think it is even better in summertime.

Bergen, the old ruin church

Description trail

The hike starts in or close to Bergen, depending on where you park your car or which bus you choose (see general/ details for how to get there). We started just outside the village of Bergen and therefore added the Sparrenlaan to this hike. Originally this is not part of the Groene Wissel hike but definitely worth to go through it. The old Scots pines have become interesting shapes which make this lane very photogenic.

Bergen, Sparrenlaan. Impressive old high Scots pines.

A bit further you enter Bergen, nowadays a touristic spot and often the starting point of hike or bike tours through nature. It is also known for the hub of artists, from painters to writers of poetry. Bergen is claimed to have The Light that enables the creation of beautiful paintings.

In Bergen you pass the old Ruin Church, which was initially built in the 15th century. It was burnt down during the Eighty Years’ War (1568-1648) but later on partially rebuilt.

There are a lot of nice terraces in Bergen so it might be a very good stop for a drink or lunch.

Nature area Schoorlse Duinen

Once you leave Bergen, you enter the pine forest. This forest was planted around 100 years ago. At that time the sand dunes only consisted of very lose sand that was easily controlled by the wind. By planting pine trees and marram grass the dunes became a solid barrier and protection against the sea.

The closer you get to the sea, the more open spaces you will see, with somestimes also heather on it.

Bergen aan Zee beach, horse riding

Almost halfway the trail you enter the beach on which you continue the hike for ~3,5 kms. The beach is quite wide and nice. You will see people letting their dogs but also a lot of horseriders who can go very fast in this big open space. I think this place is very photogenic and therefore a good place to take pictures.

Bergen aan Zee beach, a photogenous place

In the summertime, or often already starting beginning of April, the beach tents are open for a drink or something to eat. We were there end of March and they were still busy rebuilding those tents for the new season.

At the end of the beach the path goes back into the dunes again and you can see the village Bergen aan Zee just on the side of it. There we came across the impressive highland cow which even posed for me.

Me in the pine forest in the Schoorlse Duinen nature area.

The hike then continues through the beautiful Schoorlse Duinen with its open spaces and dunes of lose sand and ends in the pine forest and back at the parking spot.

General/details:

Overview of the route Bergen 18km – Groene Wissel. For the gpx file please see further below

Start and Finish: Bergen center of the village

Type: circular route

Length: 18 km

Difficulty: easy

Terrain: mostly sandpath, sometimes very lose sand, hills of  25-30 height difference.

How to get there? By car: you can easily park your car in Bergen, at parking place Binenhof, but is expensive and can cost you as much as 1,90 EUR per hour. However, we found a free parking spot on the Eeuwigelaan, just outside Bergen (see map). Public transport: You can also get there by bus, several buses go to Bergen, e.g. nr 6 which comes from Alkmaar, busstop Bergen-Plein.

Restaurants underway? Yes, close to the starting/finish point in Bergen and during april-september also halfway on the beach. Alternatively, you can go slightly off track and find restaurants in Bergen aan Zee, next to the beach.

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Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen 12,5 km

Lots of deer at close distance – Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen

Deer and sometimes foxes in beautiful dunes – March 2018

Summary

Hiking in the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen is one of my favorite activities. I like the landscape of dunes mixed with forest but even more the almost 100% chance to see wildlife, at least deer but also possibly foxes. It is a great place to take pictures, so do not forget to bring your camera! The route described follows wider asphalt roads, trails next to the canals but also small sandpath trails that are slightly harder to hike. They all have their charms and bring variety to the hike. Highly recommended!

Description trail

Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen

The hike starts at the entrance Oase where you can buy your ticket to enter the park (1,50 eur each person). The first part of the trail follows a wide sandpath. Usually, close to the entrance, you will see a lot of other visitors since the park is very popular.

A deer in the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen

Once the hike turns into a smaller trail, it gets more quiet and the chance of seeing deer becomes much higher. The pictures of deer in this blog were taken with a digital srl camera with a 75-300mm lens combined with a tripod. I would recommend to take at least a 200 mm (zoom)lens with you in order to be able to make close ups. The deer are not extremely shy but when you get closer than ~20-30 metres they will run away.

Footpath in the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen

This time while hiking in the Waterleidingduinen we didnot see any foxes but 1 out of ~5 times that I hiked there I did see some, so next time better luck.

Deers in the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen

During the trail you will notice that the water in the canals of the dunes is cristal clear. This water is used for drinking water and the sand of the dunes works as a filter to further clean the water. 70 million m3 of water is filtered in these dunes on a yearly basis and this water makes up 2/3 of the drinking water in Amsterdam.

A canal in the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen

The park itself is only accessible for hikers and not for bikers or cars. This makes it a very quiet and attractive park for hiking. Further, it is allowed to go outside the trails which you might want to in order to get that really “wow” picture!

General/details:

Map of the trail, further below you can download the gpx file

Start and Finish: Entrance Waterleidingduinen at Oase, Vogelenzang. At the entrance you will need to buy a ticket of 1,50 Eur as a fee for the park.

Type: circular route

Length: 12,5 km

Difficulty: easy

Terrain: mostly sandpath, some asphalt trails, small hills (not more than 30-50 meters high)

How to get there? By car: you can easily park your car next to the entrance Oase, which costs you 2,- Eur parking fee. ¬†Public transport: You can also get there by bus, nr 9, stop “Vogelenzang, Waterleiding” (this bus comes from trainstation Heemstede-Aerdenhout.). The busstop is located ~150 meter from the entrance of the parc.

Restaurants underway? Only at the starting/finish point, restaurant “Uitspanning de Oase”.

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Noordwijkerhout ~8km

Forest, dunes and beach, 14 february 2018

Noordwijkerhout beach

A nice stroll which starts in a forest and goes via the dunes to the beach. On the beach you can see the skyline of Noordwijk in the distance.

Noordwijkerhout, dunes

During wintertime, no beachclub has opened yet on this route. If you want to go for a drink, the Fletcher Hotel Restaurant “de witte raaf” is located close to the parking lot.

Noordwijkerhout, forest with totem poles

In the forest there are lots of trails and some of these contain interesting totem poles.

General/details:

Overview hiking trail Noordwijkerhout 8km, see for gpx file further below

Start and Finish: Noordwijkerhout, parking lot “Duindamseslag”.

Type: circular route

Length: 8 km

Difficulty: easy

Terrain: mostly sandpath, flat with some 20m hills

How to get there? By car: you can easily park your car on the parking lot “Duindamseslag”, no fees to be paid. No public transport close by.

Restaurants underway? Yes, close to the starting/finish point. On the beach restaurants are only open during the season ~april until ~october.

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