Dwingelderveld

3 hours (45.0 km)
Managed by: Recreatieschap Drenthe

This 45-kilometre-long route runs from Dwingeloo through one of Drenthe’s most attractive natural landscapes. Dwingelderveld National Park is one of the largest, wet heathlands in Western Europe. The August-blooming heath colours the area a beautiful shade of purple. But the bicycle tour also takes you through forested areas and peatlands.

 An unmissable feature en route is the impressive Dwingeloo radio telescope. Did you know that this telescope discovered two small galaxies? A meeting with Drenthe’s heathland sheep is probably also on the cards.

 You can dismount in Pesse, where the oldest-known boat in the world was discovered in 1955. It is exhibited in the Drents Museum. Cosily located in the middle of the forest, Theehuys (Tearoom) Anserdennen is an ideal place to catch your breath.

 After Ruinen, …

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This 45-kilometre-long route runs from Dwingeloo through one of Drenthe’s most attractive natural landscapes. Dwingelderveld National Park is one of the largest, wet heathlands in Western Europe. The August-blooming heath colours the area a beautiful shade of purple. But the bicycle tour also takes you through forested areas and peatlands.

 An unmissable feature en route is the impressive Dwingeloo radio telescope. Did you know that this telescope discovered two small galaxies? A meeting with Drenthe’s heathland sheep is probably also on the cards.

 You can dismount in Pesse, where the oldest-known boat in the world was discovered in 1955. It is exhibited in the Drents Museum. Cosily located in the middle of the forest, Theehuys (Tearoom) Anserdennen is an ideal place to catch your breath.

 After Ruinen, you pass by Visitor Centre Dwingelderveld. Here you will find a recreational forest and a water playground for young adventurers. You can also obtain information about the flora and fauna in the area here.

 The route starts at number 26 (Hotel Wesseling) in Dwingeloo. Parking along the brink is only permitted for short periods using a parking disc. There is free parking behind the brink on Weverslaan or by the Brug-Es Church. You can also use the signposting present to start the route from other locations.

 The route follows the following cycling intersections: 93,78, 84, 86, 56, 57, 54, 53, 85, 91, 61, 34, 09, 58, 32, 43, 83, 86 and 93. The route can be shortened at the following cycling intersections: 57, 54, 61 and 32.

 

 

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Sights on this route

Starting point: Brink 26
7991 CH Dwingeloo

Brink 29
7991 CH Dwingeloo

Brink 29
Dwingeloo
Dwingeloo Radio Telescope

CAMRAS - Dwingeloo Radio Telescoop

Oude Hoogeveensedijk 4
7991 PD Dwingeloo

Achter 't Zaand 4
7991 NG Lhee

9417 Spier

Dorpsstraat 57
7933 PB Pesse

Postweg 3
7963 PD Ruinen

Oosterstraat 16
7963 AC Ruinen

Brink 11
Ruinen

De Zaandplatte

Engeland 9
Ruinen

Benderse 22
7963 RA Ruinen

Benderse 36
7963 RA Ruinen
End point: Brink 26
7991 CH Dwingeloo

Directions

Starting point: Brink 26
7991 CH Dwingeloo
    • Ancient writings first make mention of Dwingeloo in 1180. The esdorp (an esdorp is a type of village in the Netherlands, often originating in medieval times, bordering on an area of sandy soils) has one of Drenthe’s most beautiful protected brinks. The Reformed Saint Nicholas Church is a brick, Gothic aisleless church dating back to the start of the 15th century. Part of the church collapsed in 1630. In 1923 the church was struck by a large fire; only a few of the walls remained standing. A replica of the 1631 original, the spire is shaped like an onion. This is why the church also used to be called Siepelkerk. Siepel is the Drenthe word for onion.
    • The statue in front of the church represents the saga of the Juffer van Batinghe (“Young Lady of Batinghe”). She would pass almost daily when the church was being renovated almost four hundred years ago. Each time she passed, she would smile at the architect, influencing his work as a result. In the end, the drost (a high-ranking local official position) blessed both of them. If it hadn’t been for the Juffer and the architect, the building would never have been as beautiful as it is.
    • Next to the church are the French houses that were built around 1690 to house the Hugenoten. Opposite them lies the manor Havezate Westrup—also dating from the 17th century. The Schulte House and the characteristic Saxon farms are around the brink.
    • Now hop back onto your bike to leave the village and head towards Dwingelderveld National Park. ASTRON is located at the edge of the park. This is where the Netherland’s Institute for Radio Astronomy is housed. Its mission is to make radio-astronomical discoveries possible. ASTRON has the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope, one of the world’s most sensitive telescopes and LOFAR (Low Frequency Array).
    • While cycling through Western Europe’s largest, wet heathland area Dwingelderveld, there’s always something interesting to see or experience. You might see the kestrel praying, an adder on the bicycle path, hear the cry of the skylark or spot a crane in the distance. Wet hollows are dry sand ridges alternate. This is why the area’s flora and fauna is so diverse. The wettest parts are home to heath, cottongrass and marsh gentian, while the dry parts are populated by heather and mouse-ear hawkweed. The wet parts are partially dependent on the groundwater bubbling up here. You can find bog asphodel growing in these places. The European stonechat, the curlew and the woodlark are but three of the dozens of species of bird that call the heaths their home. Peatlands have arisen in the deeper-lying areas. A number of these are the remains of hydrolaccoliths. These geological features developed in the ice age following the melting of an ice lens underground—resulting in a bowl with a small wall.
    • Not to be missed is Dwingeloo’s radio telescope with a diameter of 25 metres. Take a break to read the information board. You can also take a look in one of the oldest rotatable radio telescopes in the world and listen to signals from the galaxy. Information about opening hours can be found here: http://www.camras.nl/bezoekersinfo.
    • The sheepfold Achter ‘t Zaand is coming into view. The shepherd has probably taken his sheep out onto the heath. The sheep make sure grass in the area doesn’t get out of hand. Check the times the herd leaves and returns in advance. Children are permitted to stroke and hug the sheep during the “cuddling break” when they return.
    • A little further and you arrive in Pesse. A real Drenthe esdorp, this village was already known as Petthe as far back as 1141. The name originates from Peltha, an old word for swampland. When the A28 motorway was being constructed in 1955, a hollowed-out tree trunk was found in the median strip by Pesse. A unique find, which was later discovered to be the world’s oldest boat. Carbon dating revealed that this tree trunk canoe dates back to between 8,200 and 7,600 BC. The canoe was preserved this long because it had sunk into a riverbed in peaty soil. It can be visited at the Drents Museum in Assen. Take a well-deserved break on one of Pesse’s terraces before continuing the long cycle ride back to Ruinen.
    • You cycle past the forest Spaarbankbosch, a beautiful and old forest—even by Drenthe’s lofty standards. It was once planted by a bank that thought there should be more ways for savers to be able to profit from their savings. Via Fluitenberg, the forestry of Ruinen and Gijsselte, Ruinen is coming into sight. Are you interested in birds? Just outside Ruinen lies Vogelpark (bird park) Ruinen. Make sure to check its opening hours on its website in advance: http://www.vogelparkruinen.nl/openingstijden.
    • Dismount in Ruinen to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee or tea and a pastry at one of its many catering establishments. From the Middle Ages until the French era, Ruinen was referred to as Heerlijkheid Ruinen—a heerlijkheid being a landed estate that served as the lowest administrative and judicial unit in rural areas in the Dutch-speaking Low Countries before 1800. Benedictine monks founded a monastery here in 1140. The monastery was moved to Dickninge later. Remnants of the old monastery can be found in and around the current St Mary Church. This church’s interior is certainly worth visiting. Museum farm Pasmans Huus in Ruinen will give you a feel for life before 1900.
    • Feeling well rested? Continue your bike ride towards Visitor Centre Dwingelderveld at the edge of the national park. The discovery of Western Europe’s largest connected, wet heathland starts here. Here you will also find a recreational forest and a water playground for young adventurers. The willow hut village is an excellent place for a good game of hide and seek!
    • Can you hear the bleating of the sheep? The sheepfold of Ruinen’s sheep herd is located just after the Visitor Centre. The watchtower by the Ruiner sheepfold offers an amazing view of Dwingelderveld.
    • Hop on your bicycle to cycle into Dwingelderveld National Park. A last stop before entering Dwingeloo is possible at Theehuys (Tearoom) Anserdennen. It is beautifully located in the middle of the forest.
    • From Dwingelderveld, cycle onto Westeinde. Located near Dwingeloo, this hamlet has a small-scale, historic structure of agrarian yards and distinguished houses—with manor Havezate Oldengaerde at both its literal and figurative centre. This farm was first mentioned in 1420, and used to be inhabited by the Heren van Echten (“Lords of Echten”). The Oldengaerde estate consists of a collection of national heritage buildings, gardens, garden objects and forested areas. The building was given its current Classical appearance in 1717. Oldengaerde was originally one of eighteen havezaten (a kind of fortified manor, possession of which was a requirement for knighthood in the 17th century) in Drenthe. Seven of these eighteen buildings are still in existence. Oldengaerde is among the most exquisite and well-preserved of these havezaten.
  • A little further and the Siepel of Dwingeloo will come back into view. You can enjoy the afterglow of this sublime bicycle ride on the brink or along Drift.
End point: Brink 26
7991 CH Dwingeloo