Today I will continue a little further along the Great Rivers trail. I start at the Spijkenisser bridge on the side of Hoogvliet. Last time I stopped here. I intend to walk at least as far as Heenvliet. If my legs want to go even further and I still feel like it, I can go further to Zwartewaal. It is a hike with lots of dikes, sheep and climbing over fences.
It is a beautiful summer day with a temperature of around 20 degrees. I cross the bridge to the side of Spijkenisse.
Immediately after the bridge, I have to turn right across a grassy dike. Another dike covered with thistles. I’m glad I’m not wearing shorts. At the end of the dike I climb over a fence and turn left. I have left the Oude Maas behind me.
I take the next road to the right. I don’t see any markings, most of the time this means: go straight ahead. I look in the booklet and I think I should indeed go straight ahead. It turns out that the road bends back to the Spijkenisser bridge. It’s the wrong way after all! I turn around and walk back into the road I first wanted to go into.
The road goes up a bit steeply and I end up at a small canal and there is the marking again. I have to turn right here. At the end of the path I can only turn left onto the Noordhoekseweg. I walk along the Voedingskanaal.
After a while I have to turn left into a piece of forest, this is the Hartelpark. The path winds through the forest, on the way I take a coffee break. At a T-junction I turn left. I walk a lot further but again I don’t see any markings. I take a look at Google maps. I’m going in the right direction to the Zoetwaterkanaal bridge. I keep on walking. The markings are nowhere to be seen. I went the wrong way again. I take a look at the trail booklet and compare it with Google maps. Aha! I have to go under the bridge, this direction leads me right over the bridge. Pff, I’m going back the same way again. At a certain point I see where I missed the mark: I should have turned right at the T-junction 🤦🏻♀️. The path bends to the left again and I can go under the bridge a little further on.
After the bridge I turn left again and have to cross a cattle grid. I already see two Scottish Highland cows further on. Fortunately they are not in the way. I turn right again into a piece of forest. In the distance, between the trees, there is also a cow grazing. At the end of the forest I turn right and then left into the Markenburgweg. Now I walk along the Voedingskanaal again.
Dike and sheep
At the corner of a field, I have to cross over a small fence. I walk through the grass to the dike. There are a lot of sheep here. Some walk away, but others stay on the path. Zigzagging between the sheep I walk further down the dike. The sheep look at me when I clumsily climb over the fences.
Different kinds of geese shoot quickly into the canal. I see beautiful grey-white geese with a black stripe on their head. Later on I look up what kind of geese they are: bar-headed geese! Of course the geese shoot into the water when I come closer to take a picture. So I made this illustration of a bar-headed goose instead.
The bar-headed goose is one of the world’s highest flying birds: they can fly at an altitude of up to 10 kilometres. Well, they can fly over the Himalayas!
Sources: Wikipedia en Vogelbescherming (in Dutch)
Geervliet and Heenvliet
After a long part over the dike I reach Geervliet and go left down the dike into the town. First I go with the bend to the right through a residential area and then I pass an allotment garden with beautiful sunflowers and butterfly bushes.
I walk between two hedges and further on I see the church of Geervliet. After the hedge I walk through old, picturesque streets of the village. This is a nicer part of the trail, the previous kilometres were quite boring.
I buy a sandwich at the bakery in the middle of the village. I turn right into the Kaaistraat and at the square opposite of the City Hall (Geervliet used to have city rights) I sit down on a bench to eat my sandwich. I am sitting at the water’s edge. Across the water I see chickens and ducks. A duck is curious and comes quacking into my direction.
After my lunch I take a few more pictures of the City Hall and continue again. I turn right into the Visserszijde. Soon I left the village behind me. I walk on the cycle path along the Toldijk in the direction of Heenvliet. At Heenvliet I decide to indeed stop my hike here. To get to the bus stop, I have to go through Heenvliet first. I turn left into the village. This village has a nice, historical Market Square.
These small cities (or villages, Heenvliet still has city rights, but Geervliet no longer does) were important trading places due to their location at the Bernisse waterway. As a result of the siltation of the Bernisse, the prosperity of the towns has dried up. Both places are government-protected townscapes. They have a historic centre with various national monuments.
Sources (in Dutch):
I walk along the square and turn left through a few old streets. Soon I go through a residential area again and I can find the bus stop further on.
It was a pretty boring trail this time. Although there was a nice ending with the villages (or should I say cities – I still don’t know for sure) Geervliet and Heenvliet. This hike is not really worth repeating.
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