Wandelspoor 2

3 hours 40 minutes (18.0 km)
Managed by: Recreatieschap Drenthe

The 18-kilometre ‘Wandelspoor 2’ walking route partly follows the former rail track of the Assen-Gieten railway. After Anderen, you can choose to shorten the route to 12 kilometres. If you get hungry or thirsty along the way, rest assured; there is plenty of food and drink on offer at the starting point in Gieten and along the way in Anderen.

Dolmens, burial mounds, heathlands, unique flowers, hedgerows, stately old trees, typical Drenthe villages, old farmsteads: it’s all on offer during this varied walking route.

Drenthe has 52 dolmens. The start of this walk leads you past a small dolmen with a special story, and a portal dolmen. The route runs along the dolmens by size, starting with the smallest and passing by one of the longest dolmens on the way back. There are more than 50 burial mounds in the Zwanemeerbos just outside Gieten.

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The 18-kilometre ‘Wandelspoor 2’ walking route partly follows the former rail track of the Assen-Gieten railway. After Anderen, you can choose to shorten the route to 12 kilometres. If you get hungry or thirsty along the way, rest assured; there is plenty of food and drink on offer at the starting point in Gieten and along the way in Anderen.

Dolmens, burial mounds, heathlands, unique flowers, hedgerows, stately old trees, typical Drenthe villages, old farmsteads: it’s all on offer during this varied walking route.

Drenthe has 52 dolmens. The start of this walk leads you past a small dolmen with a special story, and a portal dolmen. The route runs along the dolmens by size, starting with the smallest and passing by one of the longest dolmens on the way back. There are more than 50 burial mounds in the Zwanemeerbos just outside Gieten.

Anderen is the location of a farmstead that features the oldest known wooden trusses in North-West Europe. In fact, these trusses proved to be so strong that the farmstead could be rebuilt using the original beams after a fire occurred in 2011.

If you choose the long walking route after Anderen, you will continue through the stunning woods of the Gieten-Borger forestry area. The short route takes you back to Gieten along the former railway track.

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Sights on this route

Starting point: Brink 8
9461 AS Gieten

Oude Groningerweg 18
9461 BP Gieten

Middenstraat 3
9463 PP Eext

Dolmen D13

9463 Eext

Dolmen D12

9463 Eext

Anlooërweg
9468 CN Anderen

Hagenend 3
9465 TS Anderen

Provincialeweg 2
9463 TK Eext

Hoornse Bulten
9449 PC Nooitgedacht

Staatsbos
9461TW Gieten

Staatsbos
9461 TW Gieten

Dolmen D14

9463 Eexter Halte

Hazewind

Naweg/Eexterweg 0
9461 BD Gieten
End point: Brink 8
9461 AS Gieten

Directions

Starting point: Brink 8
9461 AS Gieten
  • The former Assen-Stadskanaal-Emmen railway line was built in 1904-1905 by the Noord Ooster Locaal Spoorweg Maatschappij (NOLS, North-Eastern Local Railway). The NOLS was established in Zwolle in 1899. One of the most significant founders was Mr. J. Willink, a textiles manufacturer from Winterswijk who had previously been involved with the construction of railways in Twente. The railway line was part of the NNOLS route network that stretched from Zwolle to Delfzijl. The purpose of these lines was to achieve better accessibility for rural areas in Drenthe and Groningen. This way, both people and agricultural products could be transported cheaper and faster. As was the case for many local railways, passenger transport suffered a terrible slump in the 30s due to the arrival of automobiles and buses and due to the Great Depression. Passenger transport was set to be cancelled as early as 1939, but due to the Second World War, passenger trains continued to run until 1948.
  • The walking route starts at the Brink in Gieten. Gieten is first mentioned in 1221, but is thought to be much older because of the burial mounds in the Zwanemeerbos to the north of Gieten. The church was built in the 15th century and its rather unmedieval character can be attributed to alterations carried out around 1850. Adjacent to the church is the former Braams hotel, first built as an inn in 1617 on the medieval Groningen-Coevorden route. Part of this route still exists; it is now the sandy lane that runs through the Zwanemeerbos. ‘De Hazewind’ mill was built in 1833.
  • The route now leaves Gieten and leads you through the Zwanemeerbos. The erratically growing trees in this forest have been grown for coppicing for centuries. The wood was used in the stoves and ovens of the local residents. The oak bark served as raw material for tanneries. The forest is an archaeological treasure trove: there are more than 50 burial mounds, an Ice Age farmland system, and the ruins of a Roman settlement were discovered as well. The broad sandy road through the forest is part of the old prehistoric road from Coevorden to Groningen.
  • The route passes by the village of Eext, with dolmens D12 and D13 located on the edge of the village. Dolmen D13 is one of the smallest dolmens in Drenthe. Here is a splendid incident involving this dolmen that has been recorded in history: in 1736, a farmer from Eext was looking for rocks using a prod. He used his stick to prod the earth above the dolmen, still covered with soil at that time. He was dismayed to hear a hollow sound. These sounds gave the dolmen its nickname: ‘De Stemberg’ or Voice Mound. Dolmen D12 is a portal dolmen that was examined and restored in 1952. It is in a rather remote location at Kamp Akkers, a village green just outside of Eext.
  • From the dolmens, the route continues to the Eexterveld. The Eexterveld is varies greatly in height: there is a height difference of almost 6 metres between the sandy ridge of the Drents Plateau and the Scheebroek with its Scheebroekerloopje. Thanks to this height difference, the area is home to marsh marigolds, marsh gentians, orchids, pileworth and wood anemones. To the south, some of the original heathland remains, with some bordered blue moor grasslands on the edges. Blue moor grasslands can be identified by the blueish tint of carnation sedge (a type of grass).
  • The next village on your walk is Anderen, first mentioned in 1217. The route passes a farmstead at Hagenend 3, featuring the Anderen sheepfold. This farmstead has the oldest known wooden trusses in North-West Europe. Wood dating has shown that the trees for the construction of the farm were cut down during the last quarter of the 14th century. The truss construction itself also indicates the use of ancient techniques. The farm was destroyed by fire in 2011, but could then be rebuilt in 2015 using the original beams. The oak beams were heavily damaged by the fire, but the old wood turned out to be so tough that after scraping away the charred parts, there was still enough strength left in them to bear the enormous weight of the thatched roof.
  • Please note: after Anderen, the route leads you towards the provincial road N33. The route can be shortened at the point where the walking route and the N33 meet. The short route takes you back to Gieten along the former railway track.
  • The longer 18-kilometre walking route takes you to the west side of the Gieten-Borger forestry area and along the Andersche Diep brook valley. Hedgerows and small copses of mainly ash trees dot the route here. The private estate De Heidehof consists of grassland and heathland clearings, surrounded by stately old trees and a magnificent small group of burial mounds on a field which is sadly not accessible.
  • In the forestry area, follow the yellow posts first and then the white posts. The trees here were planted for logging at the start of the last century. A number of small ponds are hidden between the trees, surrounded by heathland. The white route leads you past a number of pingo ruins, as well as the medieval road from Rolde to Gieten.
  • When leaving the Gieten-Borger forestry area, the route continues to Eexterhalte, which used to be home to a train station. Part of the railway here has been restored to its former glory. The route now takes you along the track of the former railway, along the Boekweitveentje towards Gieten. Dolmen D14 is nearby; one of the longest dolmens in Drenthe.
  • The former railway track leads you back to Gieten. The ‘Wandelspoor 2’ walking route finishes here. Recharge your batteries in a local cafe or restaurant to reflect on this amazing walk.
End point: Brink 8
9461 AS Gieten