Heerlijkheid Ruinen

2 hours 50 minutes (44.0 km)
Managed by: Recreatieschap Drenthe

The Heren van Ruinen (“Lords of Ruinen”) were at the head of Heerlijkheid Ruinen long ago. A heerlijkheid was an area in which public authority was “loaned out” to a third party by, for example, a bishop. In this case, the rulers of the area were the Lords of Ruinen. You quickly discover the area’s beauty and appeal while cycling this route.

The signposted route starts in Ruinen on the spot where Drenthe’s oldest monastery used to stand—currently the location of the St Mary Church. Leaving Ruinen, you cycle through the large and beautiful forests and heathland of the Ruinen forestry. A beautiful havezate (a kind of fortified manor) can be found in the old esdorp of Echten: Huize Echten (“Echten Manor”).

Passing through K…

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The Heren van Ruinen (“Lords of Ruinen”) were at the head of Heerlijkheid Ruinen long ago. A heerlijkheid was an area in which public authority was “loaned out” to a third party by, for example, a bishop. In this case, the rulers of the area were the Lords of Ruinen. You quickly discover the area’s beauty and appeal while cycling this route.

The signposted route starts in Ruinen on the spot where Drenthe’s oldest monastery used to stand—currently the location of the St Mary Church. Leaving Ruinen, you cycle through the large and beautiful forests and heathland of the Ruinen forestry. A beautiful havezate (a kind of fortified manor) can be found in the old esdorp of Echten: Huize Echten (“Echten Manor”).

Passing through Koekange and the hamlet of Blijdenstein, with its Ruinerwold Church, you end up in Ruinerwold. Characteristic features of Ruinerwold are its stately, monumental farms along Dr. Larijweg, which runs towards Ruinen. A little further and you’re back in Ruinen—its lively and charming terraces waiting to welcome you. Just outside Ruinen, Visitor Centre Dwingelderveld and Ruinen’s sheepfold are worth a visit.

The route starts at the brink (a central open space to be found in many of Drenthe’s sandy settlements) in Ruinen. There are various places that have free parking; behind the former town hall along Brink, for example. You can also use the signposting present to start the route from other locations.

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Sights on this route

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Brink 11
Ruinen

Oosterstraat 16
7963 AC Ruinen
85 76

Postweg 3
7963 PD Ruinen
91

Ruinerweg 7
7932 PD Echten
77

Ruinerweg
7932 PD Echten

P-plaats Bovenveen
Ruinerweg
7932 Echten
84

Velingweg
7932 PK Echten

Zuidwolderweg 2 a
7932 PP Echten

Zuidwolderweg 2 a
7932 PP Echten

Prinsesseweg 8
7958 RT Koekange

Blijdenstein 3
7961 LH Ruinerwold

dokter Larijweg 21
7961 NL Ruinerwold

Wolddijk 23
7961 NA Ruinerwold

Brink 11
Ruinen

Benderse 36
7963 RA Ruinen

Benderse 36
7963 RA Ruinen

Zuidwolderweg 2 a
7932 PP Echten
75

Zuidwolderweg 2 a
7932 PP Echten

Zuidwolderweg 1
Echten

Buitenhuizerweg 10
7961 LX Ruinerwold

Dijkhuizen 74
7961 AM Ruinerwold

Dijkhuizen 111
7961 AJ Ruinerwold

Dokter Larijweg 86
7961 NP Ruinerwold

Dokter Larijweg 134
7961 NS Ruinerwold
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Directions

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  • From the Middle Ages until the French era, Ruinen was referred to as Heerlijkheid Ruinen. In a 1139 deed, Otto van Ruinen is mentioned as one of the vassals of the bishop of Utrecht. Benedictine monks founded a monastery here in 1140. The monastery later was moved to Dickninge. Remnants of the old monastery can be found in and around the current St Mary Church. The church’s interior is without a doubt worth a visit. Museum farm Pasmans Huus in Ruinen will give you a feel for life before 1900.
  • Following the route from Ruinen automatically takes you to the Ruinen forestry. This 1,000-hectare area consisting of forests and heathlands formed in 1940. The forestry predominantly consists of pine trees. During its reclamation, its nature was left undisturbed. As a result, the wet, heath vegetation of the Gijsselter- and Pesserkoelen, as well as the drifting sands of Echterzand, with its thickets of juniper bushes and erratically-growing Scots pines, have remained preserved. You might also encounter adders, grass snakes or viviparous lizards here.
  • Have you seen high-altitude watchtower Post 7x3 rise above the trees yet? This tower was built in 1953 by The Hague architect M. Zwaagstra, and is in remarkably good condition. The tower was functional during the Cold War but now belongs to the Forestry Commission, which uses it for telecommunication purposes.
  • After leaving the forest, the old esdorp of Echten appears in the distance. This village arose around 1180 and used to be part of the property of the Ruinen monastery. In the 13th century, descendants of the Coevorden family settled here and built the havezate: Huize Echten (“Echten Manor”). The oldest part of this house is estimated to date back to the 15th century. Installed in 1992, the garden around the house is much more recent. If you’re looking for some more tourist information concerning the area, farm shop ‘t HUUS met de BELLE is your go-to point.
  • The bicycle route continues towards Koekange. An attractive landmark can also be seen here: Landgoed Welgelegen (“Welgelegen Estate”), with its can museum and tea room. The front house of Welgelegen was built in 1881 in the Eclectic style. There’s a beautiful red beech in the front garden. We recommend consulting the estate’s opening hours in advance of your visit.
  • First mentioned in the charter book for Drenthe and Groningen in 1141, Koekange used to be part of the large bog between Ruinen and Meppel. Koekange is a former peat settlement—a fact that can still be observed in the positioning and shape of its estates.
  • Beautifully located, the hamlet of Blijdenstein is home to Ruinerwold’s Reformed church. The church building dates back to the 12th century. Big parts of the church building’s history are still shrouded in mystery. Some think there used to be a monastery at Blijdenstein, while others theorise the tower was set alight after being struck by lightning in the 18th century. The thick oak beams of the tower’s top floor still show clear signs of fire damage. The church’s interior contains a Van Oeckelen organ.
  • Having arrived in Ruinerwold, we are struck by the diversity of farms. The village arose around the former Ruinen monastery. The area was peatland until the 10th century. The area was partially reclaimed and inhabited in 1141—a fact made clear by old deeds showing that the area had to pay tiende (a type of profit tax) at the time. The estates surrounding Ruinerwold used to be used by farming business; keuterboertjes (small-scale part-time farmers) and herenboeren (gentlemen farmers). The gap between rich and poor used to be much wider.
  • Along Dr. Larijweg in Ruinerwold, which was built in 1925, lie a string of different farms—among them, Farm museum De Karstenhoeve at number 21. This Saxon farm is where the wealthy farming family Karsten resided from 1680 to 1841. Concomitant with the road’s construction, a thousand tall cone pear trees were planted alongside the road. Their flowering is a sight to behold each spring. On the first Saturday in October, their rich harvest is auctioned off to the highest bidder.
  • Via Dr. Larijweg and Meppelerweg, it’s time to cycle back to Ruinen. Or will you stop off for an ice cream at leisure and ice-cream farm De Drentse Koe? Once back in Ruinen, you can visit Visitor Centre Dwingelderveld at the edge of Dwingelderveld National Park on the outskirts of Ruinen. The discovery of Western Europe’s largest connected, wet heathland starts here. The sheepfold of Ruinen’s sheep herd is located close to the Visitor Centre. The watchtower by the Ruiner sheepfold offers an amazing view of Dwingelderveld.
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