With its 6,100 hectares, Drents-Friese Wold National Park is the second-largest forest area in the Netherlands. But ‘t Wold, as it is also known, consists of more than just trees. Discover the area’s abundant variety by bicycle. Cycle from forested areas to heathlands and from sand dunes to small peatland areas and swamps. This signposted cycling route passes through the following areas of Drents-Friese Wold: Berkenheuvel, forest area Boschoord, Doldersummerveld, Aekingerzand (Kale Duinen) and Aekingerbroek, as well several villages, including the Frisian village of Appelscha.
The route starts at the Tourist Info office in the village of Diever. There is a spacious, free parking area opposite this office. You can also use the signposting present to start the route from other locations. The route follows the following cycling intersections: 80, 75, 37, 59, 14, 12, 21, 23, 82, 88, 85, 83, 91, 63, 61, 53, 67 and 69. The route can be shortened at the following cycling intersections: 80, 59, 23, 88 and 61.
Sights on this route
- The village of Diever originated in 1181. These days it is most famous for its open-air Shakespeare theatre. There is a dolmen on the eastern edge of the village.
- On Diever’s brink (a central open space to be found in many of Drenthe’s sandy settlements), you will find the former Schulte House from 1604. This house used to be a judicial building. These is where the prehistoric museum, “OERmuseum West-Drenthe,” is housed. Opposite the Schulte House is a remarkable building with two columns and a balcony. This is the former village hall of the Diever municipality. The St Pancras Church, dating back to the 14th century, is also located on the brink.
- Berkenheuvel is part of Drents-Friese Wold National Park. Noticeable are its Scots pines with crowberries underneath. In Wapserzand, which is part of Berkenheuvel, there is a restored fugitive hideout from the Second World War.
- The large forest area, Boschoord, belongs to the Maatschappij van Weldadigheid (“the Society of Humanitarianism”). Boschoord is where Hoeve Boschoord, the former Colony VII of the Society can be found. It is now a treatment and support centre for people with slight intellectual disabilities.
- Doldersummerveld is one of the Netherland’s most abundant heathlands in terms of the number of different species that inhabit it. It consists of wet heathlands and overgrown sand dunes. Adjacent Wapserveld is connected to Doldersummerveld. The heathlands in both areas are maintained by a herd of sheep. Information Centre Huenderhoeve is housed in a former sheepfold close to Doldersummerveld. In this centre, you can obtain information about heathland management, the Doldersum esdorp and the source area of the Vledder Aa brook.
- The village of Zorgvlied is right by Drenthe’s border with the province Friesland. The village owes its name to the Zorgvlied villa, which was demolished in 1930.
- Drifting sand area Aekingerzand—also known as Kale Duinen—is the largest active drifting sand area in the north of the Netherlands. The drifting sand has been caused by the over-grazing and cutting of the heaths. The area has unique flora and fauna, living in the area by virtue of the drifting sand. A watchtower belonging to Staatsbosbeheer (the Forestry Commission) is located in the middle of Aekingerzand. It is certainly worth your while to briefly deviate from the route or to take fresh plunge in the lake Canadameer.
- Along the edge of Aekingerzand, Aekingerbroek and Drentse Broek used to be an area rich in sesleria. It is also the source area of the Vledder Aa brook. From here, the brook meanders towards Wapserveensche Aa via Wateren, Doldersum and Vledder.
- The route continues to Terwisscha, which is where Staatsbosbeheer’s (the Forestry Commission) Outdoor Centre Drents-Friese Wold is located. In addition to obtaining information about the natural wealth of the park and its many recreational options, you can also enjoy a host of sensory experiences here; smelling, hearing and seeing—like you’re in the park itself. Catering establishments and recreational areas for children are also present.
- The first mentioning of the village of Appelscha was in 1247, when it was known as Appels. Its name changed to Appelscha in the 19th century. Appelscha means small apple forest. Oud-Appelscha’s church was completed in 1903. Its modern belfry houses a bell dating from 1435.
- The watchtower atop Bosberg in Appelscha is a unique experience. The tower stands on top of the highest point of the Frisian mainland; a 27-metre sand dune. The tower itself is 35 metres high. All the way at the top is a panorama deck, with glass “side branches.”
- From Appelscha, you cycle back to Diever through the Appelscha forestry and Smilde. En route, you can enjoy the forested area and views over the heathland. Right before you reach Diever, you can take a short break to have a look at the Shakespeare open-air theatre. Then, hop back on the bike heading towards Diever, with, right alongside the bicycle path, the old toll booth (recognisable by its round side window).
- Upon returning in Diever, there are ample catering establishments in which you can enjoy a bite to eat and a drink to recover from the cycling trip.