Ellertsveld

3 hours 30 minutes (51.0 km)
Managed by: Recreatieschap Drenthe

Ellertsveld used to be the rugged area where this Drenthe saga took place. This is where the plundering giants Ellert and Brammert used to roam. Water fun and dolmens also feature during this varied cycling route—making the root appealing to both young and old. You start the route in Emmen, which is most famous for its impressive WILDLANDS Adventure Zoo Emmen.

Cycling into the Valthebos forest, you immediately find yourself surrounded by nature. There are numerous burial mounds and three dolmens here. Observant visitors might even find a fugitive hideout from the Second World War. In the villages of Valthe and Odoorn, you cycle past beautiful Saxon farms. In Schoonoord a visit to open-air museum Ellert and Brammert is absolutely worth your while. Drenthe’s rich history comes to life here.

Possibly t…

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Ellertsveld used to be the rugged area where this Drenthe saga took place. This is where the plundering giants Ellert and Brammert used to roam. Water fun and dolmens also feature during this varied cycling route—making the root appealing to both young and old. You start the route in Emmen, which is most famous for its impressive WILDLANDS Adventure Zoo Emmen.

Cycling into the Valthebos forest, you immediately find yourself surrounded by nature. There are numerous burial mounds and three dolmens here. Observant visitors might even find a fugitive hideout from the Second World War. In the villages of Valthe and Odoorn, you cycle past beautiful Saxon farms. In Schoonoord a visit to open-air museum Ellert and Brammert is absolutely worth your while. Drenthe’s rich history comes to life here.

Possibly the most beautiful part of this route are the forests of forestry Sleenerzand, alternating between peats and heaths. After the forest, the church tower of Sleen is visible in the distance. Did you know that this is Drenthe’s highest church tower? The idyllic esdorpen (an esdorp is a type of village in the Netherlands, often originating in medieval times, bordering on an area of sandy soils) Sleen and Noord-Sleen invite you to enjoy a cup of coffee on one of their terraces.

The route starts at the station in Emmen at the Stationsstraat-Stationsplein crossroad at intersection 21. You can park for free at the station—but keep in mind that its parking capacity is limited. Other parking places have paid parking. You can also use the signposting present to start the route from other locations.

The route follows the following cycling intersections: 21, 41, 37, 39, 38, 36, 59, 77, 75, 33, 07, 08, 28, 27, 32, 16 and 21. The route can be shortened at the following cycling intersections: 37, 36, 33 and 8.

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Sights on this route

Starting point: Stationsplein
7811 GB Emmen

Dolmen D35

7871 Valthe

Westerweg
Valthe

Dolmen D34

7872 Valthe

Odoorn

Open air museum “Ellert and Brammert”

Tramstraat 73
7848 BJ Schoonoord

Dolmen D49

7848 Schoonoord

Slenerweg 114
7846 Noord-Sleen

Brink 7
Sleen

Sleen

Steenbakkersweg 3
7843 RM Erm

Raadhuisplein 99
7811 AP Emmen
End point: Stationsplein
7811 GB Emmen

Directions

Starting point: Stationsplein
7811 GB Emmen
  • Emmen in situated on De Hondsrug; a geologically interesting area. Large glaciers from the second-to-last ice age shaped the landscape here. Shifting continental ice sculpted the straight De Hondsrug from Emmen to Groningen. In September 2013, the De Hondsrug area was given the status of European Geopark by UNESCO. This made it the first UNESCO Global Geopark in the Netherlands.
  • The area has been popular as a place to settle for some time. Its archaeological history is proof of this fact. The presence of mysterious, prehistoric, five-thousand-year-old dolmens and burial mounds clearly point towards its early habitation.
  • Emmen is sometimes also referred to as the open, green city. New neighbourhoods have been built at a distance from the city’s core to maintain the city’s natural areas. WILDLANDS Adventure Zoo Emmen has generated global fame for the city and given it its nickname “Butterfly City.” Using the signposting provided, leave Emmen in a northerly direction.
  • Just outside the city, you’re right back in nature. The forest Valthebos was planted in 1930 on a heath. The forested area is abundant in birds of prey—among them hawks, kestrels and buzzards. It’s also a true archaeologist’s paradise. There are numerous burial mounds in Valthebos. Drenthe’s prehistoric inhabitants used to bury their dead in these mounds. There are many more mysterious, prehistoric objects in this forest. At one open spot in the forest, you can spot no fewer than three dolmens. These too are old graves that were constructed using granite boulders. They were built by the so-called Funnelbeaker culture, a Neolithic culture that inhabited parts of Northern Europe from around 4,350 BC until 2800/2700 BC. A far more recent feature in the area is the fugitive hideout from the Second World War.
  • Cycle in the direction of Odoorn through the village of Valthe. A great place to take a breath along the road is Eppiesbergje. This is also a burial mound. An information board displays the history of this place. Enjoy the expansive views from on top of this mound.
  • Odoorn was first mentioned in 1327. It originated along one of the old connecting roads between Coevorden and Groningen. Odoorn is home to beautiful Saxon farms. The Reformed church is also worth a visit. The 12th-century core is covered in boulders up to a height of three metres. The wall itself is more than a metre thick. The rest of the church is from 1856. After a break and a tasty traditional Drenthe snack, hop back onto the bicycle to head towards Schoonoord. You cycle past the forestry of Odoorn, varied terrain consisting of forests and heaths.
  • Set the clock back a century in open-air museum Ellert and Brammert. This museum displays the lives of Drenthe’s inhabitants in the past in a variety of ways. In the little school, the saga of Ellert and Brammert, the two giants guarding the entrance to the open-air museum, is told. There is a large playground and petting zoo especially for children.
  • Hop back on the bike to rediscover tranquillity. Silence aplenty in the forest of Sleenerzand. There are dozens of bird species living in this forest. The southern part is an old sand dune area, interspersed with the occasional erratically-shaped juniper. In some places, patches of heath and small areas of peatland unexpectedly pop up among the sand. The forestry is atop Rolderrug, and is surrounded by slightly lower-lying agricultural plots. Sleenerzand boasts a rich history. It is home to a so-called mega dolmen called De Papeloze Kerk (“church without clergy”). Its capstone weighs 25,000 kilograms. Galgenberg is also special. This is where the chief of Sleenerzand was buried 3,500 years ago. His golden earrings, bronze axe and arrows accompanied him into his grave. A circle of pillars was erected around his grave to tell passers-by not to disturb his grave.
  • Shortening your route at intersection 33, you pass bathing lake De Kibbelkoele. You can enjoy dipping your feet in the water here or take a refreshing dive in the water.
  • Picking up the original route again, the church tower of Sleen appears in the distance. It’s the highest church tower in Drenthe. The idyllic brinkdorp (another word for esdorp) invites one to dismount. View the Reformed church up close. It dates back to the beginning of the 15th century. The tower is 59 metres high.
  • Aboard your iron steed once more, an opportunity to cool down presents itself. At Erm, take a plunge in bathing lake Ermerstrand. You can also waterski and wakeboard here.
  • After so many experiences, it’s time for the fun to come to an end. Cycle back towards Emmen’s bustling city life.
End point: Stationsplein
7811 GB Emmen