Wandelspoor

5 hours (25.0 km)
Managed by: Recreatieschap Drenthe

The 25-kilometre ‘Wandelspoor’ walking route more or less follows the former rail track of the Assen-Gieten railway. This walk consists of three routes: the 8-kilometre Assen-Deurzerdiep route, the 5-kilometre Deurzerdiep-Rolde route and the 12-kilometre Rolde-Anderen route. You can choose to walk one, two or three routes. The walk allows for turning back towards Assen if you choose routes one or two. 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 Assen or along the way in Balloo, Rolde or Anderen.

History is palpable and visible during this wa…

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The 25-kilometre ‘Wandelspoor’ walking route more or less follows the former rail track of the Assen-Gieten railway. This walk consists of three routes: the 8-kilometre Assen-Deurzerdiep route, the 5-kilometre Deurzerdiep-Rolde route and the 12-kilometre Rolde-Anderen route. You can choose to walk one, two or three routes. The walk allows for turning back towards Assen if you choose routes one or two. 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 Assen or along the way in Balloo, Rolde or Anderen.

History is palpable and visible during this walk. The route takes you past former country estates, through ancient forests and typical Drenthe villages. The Tumulibos is home to prehistoric burial mounds. Halfway through, the route leads you to Rolde and its 14th-century gothic church. Rolde is one of the hubs of the Pieterpad walking route. At the edge of the village, there are two dolmens (D17 and D18) just 200 metres apart.

After Rolde, the route leads to Anderen, the furthest point of this walk, where it loops back to Assen via the surrounding rural area.

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Sights on this route

Starting point: Stationsplein 2
9401 LB Assen

Adelaarsweg 1
9404 CW Assen

Amelte
9404 EL Assen

Asserstraat 63
9451 TA Rolde

Balloo
9458 TC Balloo

Tumuliboslaan
9451 TC Rolde

Stationsstraat
9451 AH Rolde

Stationsstraat 16
9451 AJ Rolde

Kerkbrink 5
9451 AL Rolde

Hagenend 3
9465 TS Anderen

Hoofdstraat 11
9451 BA Rolde

Lindelaan 49
9404 KR Assen
End point: Stationsplein 2
9401 LB Assen

Directions

Starting point: Stationsplein 2
9401 LB Assen
  • 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 the 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 Assen railway station, and soon takes you past the Valkenstijn country estate. Valkenstijn country estate is a green oasis of almost 10 hectares in the centre of Assen-Oost, with old trees, lanes, hedgerows and large meadows. Until 1966, this spot was home to a manor house by the name of ‘Vredeveld’. It was built in 1650 by the Van Welvelde family. Later, the Drenthe governor Petrus Hofstede lived in the manor house. Around 1850 it was inhabited by the couple Augustinus van Valkenstijn (1806-1882) and Louise Darancy (1809-1871), suspected to be an illegitimate daughter of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. The driveway and the entrance gates, the moat and the cast-iron burial monument and the brick vault of the Van Valkestijn family still remain.
  • Taking to the Amelterbos, the route leaves Assen behind and leads towards the Kamps country estate bordering the route on both sides. This country estate consists of a small heathland with juniper trees, a pond, many burial mounds and an attractive farmstead dating back to 1588, surrounded by a forest with old hedgerows. The estate is situated between the Deurzerdiep brook valley and the Balloo common green.
  • Please note: if you only wish to follow the first route from Assen to Deurzerdiep (8 km), you can make your way back towards Assen from here: take the route that runs between the Amelterbos and the Kamps country estate. This way, you will join up with the last part of the Wandelspoor walking route.
  • If you wish to carry on towards Rolde, the route will take you past the Tumulibos. Tumuli is the plural of the Latin word tumulus, which means burial mound. In this area, more than 35 prehistoric burial mounds have been discovered to date. There once used to be more than 150. The mounds are located in a wooded area between the Assen-Rolde road around Balloo,
  • And when you pass Balloo, the Balloërkuil monument is sure to catch your eye. This is a low-lying sand drift area that was bought by the province in 1846. Thanks to the romanticising of history and unreliable sources, the truth about the place is unclear. This mystical pit is said to be where jurisprudence was carried out in the past, although from a purely geological perspective, this cannot have been the same pit where meetings took place in medieval times. Even so, the Balloërkuil is an interesting place with an exciting myth attached to it.
  • The route continues along the former railway track and carries on into Rolde. The old Rolde railway station building as built by the NOLS is now in use as a residential home. The Dutch Reformed Church dates back to the 15th century, but excavations proved that a wooden church occupied this spot as early as the 9th or 10th century. This church was replaced by a stone church in the 13th century. The choir windows are embellished with stained glass. These windows symbolise the six ‘dingspelen’ (jurisdictions) of Drenthe. Drenthe was divided into ‘dingspelen’ for the purpose of jurisprudence.
  • The most well-known dolmens (D17 and D18) are situated to the east of Rolde. The boulders form the inner burial chamber, covered by a mound. Dolmens were used as common graves.
  • Please note: if you only wish to complete the second route (Assen to Deurzerdiep, 8 km) + Deurzerdiep-Rolde (5 km), you can make your way back to Assen from Rolde. This way, you will join up with the last part of the entire Wandelspoor walking route.
  • After the dolmens, the route continues at pace towards Anderen. The route passes a farmstead at Hagenend 3, with the Anderen sheepfold. This farmstead features 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 was then 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.
  • The route leaves Anderen behind and leads you along the south of the sprawling heathlands of the Balloërveld and back to Assen via Rolde. The ‘Wandelspoor’ walking route finishes here. Recharge your batteries in a local cafe or restaurant to reflect on this amazing walk.
End point: Stationsplein 2
9401 LB Assen