In this blog post, I describe three hikes in one. In other words Under the spell of the blossom part 1, 2 and 3. This is because I have done the same hike three times on the Great rivers trail: from Beesd to Tricht, from Tricht to Beesd and again from Beesd to Tricht and then on to Buren. This is in the Betuwe region of the Netherlands. All sorts of things went wrong with my blossom mania, hence three times the same hike. Though it is handy that I can ‘jump’ ahead a month, because I am already a year behind with my blog posts.
Part 1: Beesd – Tricht, missed opportunity
The time has finally come: it is 23 April (2021) and the fruit trees are in full bloom, so I travel to Beesd to hike the next part of the Great rivers trail. I have checked whether there are some nice extra detours to do along the trail. And that’s true: I can do an extra round through the town of Beesd, as I had skipped that last time. The trail also passes through the estate of Heerlijkheid Mariënwaerdt and I think it would be fun to do an extra detour on the estate. I find a map on the estate’s website that shows several trails and I decide to add a combination of the trails to my hike.
Extra detour through Beesd
But first the detour through Beesd. From the railway station, I walk past the estate of Heerlijkheid Mariënwaerdt, where there is a large entrance gate and on the other side of the road, there is a shop that sells products from the estate. It is still closed early morning. I already pass a fruit orchard where the blossom is in full bloom. That promises something for later on!
At a farm with a day care centre in it, I have to turn left according to the trail, but I first go right towards Beesd. I walk along the Linge river and go under a viaduct. I see a stork’s nest on a high pole and along the dike there are beautiful houses.
I turn right into the town centre. On the corner of the street is a stand with products for sale. I buy a jar of jam and continue through the centre. I walk through picturesque streets with two churches. A small church and the larger St Peter’s Church. The latter church has a stubby tower that was never finished. The dials of the clock rise above the tower. I walk around the church and then take a break.
I walk back to the Linge river via another nice little street. I pass a kind of roofing, which turns out to be a wooden horse stable. Handy for stabling your horse and for having a drink at a nearby
Extra detour through Mariënwaerdt estate
I walk along the Linge river again and under the viaduct back to the trail. This is also where the Mariënwaerdt estate begins. I have brought my photo camera along to take even more beautiful photos.
Heerlijkheid Mariënwaerdt is a private country estate of some 900 hectares. It is a wonderful area for walking and cycling, with fields, meadows, woods, lanes and willow woodlands. At the estate shop, you can buy products from the estate. There are several party and meeting locations on the estate and a country fair is organised every year. See the website for more information.
Sources (in Dutch): Heerlijkheid Mariënwaerdt en Lingestreek
First, I walk past the fruit orchard I saw earlier and along an old farmhouse. I then walk along the Notendijk with tall trees on both sides and a little later with a view of the now familiar griend woodlands. I have walked through and along many griend woodlands in the previous parts of this trail. Mariënwaerdt estate is already very varied, I am curious about the extra detour trough the estate.
At a t-junction, I hesitate whether to go left and follow another path into the estate or go straight ahead first. I choose the latter. A little further on, according to the map, I can go left again. The Notendijk changes into the Hooidijk with nice lampposts. The Linge river comes into view again with windmill The Butterfly on the other side of the water. On my left, I pass a building called the High Barn and a piece of woodland. There are several paths into the woods and I cannot resist taking one to the left. I had to go there anyway.
After a bit through the woods, I arrive at the Mariënwaerdt House, a large country house. Not far from the manor are several small yellow houses on stilts. They are a dovecote, if you ask me it is a whole pigeon village!
Then I arrive at the Notenlaan (Nut Lane), a stately avenue that suits such an estate, with two rows of walnut trees on either side. I read somewhere that in harvest time you can collect nuts here for free. Nice to go back there in autumn. I walk all the way down the lane and arrive at the gate I saw this morning.
Just past the gate I turn right onto an unpaved path. This is one of the few unpaved paths I will come across today. I walk a long way across the estate and encounter all kinds of things: beautiful houses and farms, lovely Lakervelder cows, fields, marshlands, woodland edges and orchards.
Appeldijk and Lingedijk
It is quite a long stretch across the estate, but I am enjoying myself and I am already looking forward to the next part of the trail over the Appeldijk. Along this dike, the most beautiful apple trees are in blossom. But I don’t pay attention and end up in the wrong place, halfway along the Appeldijk! I don’t feel like going back over the dike. A road block on the dike makes a nice break spot.
Not to worry, the second part of the Appeldijk is also beautiful and my camera is working overtime. The blossom is now clearly visible, although I think it is a little too early for a light pink sea of flowers.
It is now very busy with cyclists and other hikers, often with a camera around their neck. This is a popular destination in the spring. The Appeldijk comes to an end and I see that there is a diversion due to work on the pumping station. After the diversion, I come to the Lingedijk. There are no apple trees along the dike now, but pear trees. These trees are in full bloom and have many white flowers.
I am getting closer and closer to Tricht, which is my destination for today. But first I pass more orchards mixed with fields and views over the Linge river.
I am now almost at the end of my hike, Tricht is coming into view and here once again are the most beautiful houses and farms. But the splendour of the flowers is not over yet; the magnolia and the golden rain trees are also in bloom.
At a little park with flowerbeds, I sit down on a bench and check what time the train leaves for Geldermalsen. From Tricht, you can easily walk to Geldermalsen station. Just go under the viaduct and follow the train tracks to the right.
It keeps nagging at me that I have missed a part of the Appeldijk. But I have an idea: I will go back a week later, but now I will follow the trail in the opposite direction. So from Geldermalsen/Tricht to Beesd, and then I can still see the Appeldijk. No extra round trip, just straightforward. No sooner said than done…
Part 2: Tricht – Beesd, hike goes down the drain
So I travel to Geldermalsen station a week later, but I haven’t looked closely at the weather forecast. When I start my hike, the rain comes pouring down. Despite the fact that I’m not wearing any rainwear, I set off anyway. It will probably clear up later on. A bit of rain doesn’t stop me, I’m not made of sugar! With good spirits I walk towards Tricht.
Once at the viaduct to go to the Lingedijk, I see that it is closed. Huh, how can that be, last week it was still open! I have to take a complete diversion to get to the Lingedijk. This diversion further along the railway is also used by cyclists, so I have to be careful where I go, which is not easy in the rain. At the next railway crossing, I have to turn left. The road workers look at me with pity, but say hello cheerfully anyway. The rain has not improved. In Tricht, I do not pay much attention to the diversion signs and take my own trail towards the Lingedijk. I’ve never been here before, so I’m sure I know the way… 🙃
I think I am on the right track, but it is a road between Tricht and the Lingedijk. In the end, I found it with the help of Google maps. By now, my spirits have failed me, but I keep walking steadily. Occasionally, I take shelter under a tree to check the weather app to see if the weather is improving. It doesn’t look like it. I am now near the pumping station and work is still going on there too ( these things are not finished after a week, Margrita 🙄). It says there is a diversion and I don’t know if pedestrians can still get through. I’m sure I’ll be able to pass, but I don’t feel like it at all anymore. I stop here and with rapid steps I return to Geldermalsen via a shorter route. This is not going to work.
By now I am completely soaked and have to cross the train tracks again. The road worker looks at me and says: “It wasn’t a good day for walking.” I can confirm that. I arrive at Geldermalsen station like a drowned cat and wait for the train back home. On the way, the rain clears up and the sun begins to shine…
Part three: Beesd – Tricht – Buren, a little too late?!
Two weeks later I am trying again, three times is the charm! Now again ‘normally’ from Beesd to Tricht and then straight on to Buren. No extra detours, just follow the trail. I walk from the station of Beesd in the direction of Mariënwaerdt estate.
Once again: Mariënwaerdt estate, Appeldijk and Lingedijk
I take a short cut through the beautiful entrance gate and enter the estate via the Notenlaan. Now I pay attention to where I end up. At the Biersteeg, I turn right and end up at the junction of the previous time. I continue on the nice brick road of the Hooidijk.
Ik passeer weer de Hoge schuurI pass the High Barn again and windmill the Butterfly is also visible in the distance. It is no problem to hike the trail again, although the weather is not as nice as the first time.
Then I am at the beginning of the Appeldijk. Much of the blossom is not on the trees, but lies on the ground. The blossom is past its prime! Damn, I’m not that lucky. In the end it is not so bad, several trees still show their light pink blossom. I left my photo camera at home, but I do take photos with my mobile phone.
Halfway along the Appeldijk, at the road blocks from last time, I take a break. This is now my regular break spot. Because a year later, in 2022, I will return and take a break here too. I was too early for the apple blossom again 🙈.
I continue along the second part of the Appeldijk. An oystercatcher is looking pretty sitting on an old tree trunk between the blossoms. He actually stays put for the photo.
Again, I pass the pumping station under construction (I could have passed it after all on the rainy day) and for the third time in a short while I walk along the Lingedijk. Unfortunately the pear blossom has completely dried out. I walk along the orchards, a field with sheep and, of course, the Linge river in the background.
The viaduct at Tricht is still closed, so I walk via the diversions into the town. At the railway crossing I go straight on and then turn right. Via a residential area I arrive at the church of Tricht. On the little square near the church, under a blossom tree with pink snow from the fallen leaves, it is time for a break. I have a look in the trail booklet to see how the trail continues.
After a short distance along the Linge, I leave the river behind me. I will cross this river one more time in the next part, without realising it.
Just past Tricht I pass through the town of Buurmalsen and then I walk through the polder for a change, with an orchard here and there as a variation. I pass a pond called Reygersfoort where once stood a castle with the same name.
The Hooglandsche and Assche Wetering
Just over a small bridge, I can turn left onto a grassy path along the Hooglandsche Wetering. At last, an unpaved path for once. The grass is high, so it is not easy to get along, but the view is worth it. I can see orchards on both sides. Nice to walk between them instead of alongside them.
At the end of the path, I cross a motorway and continue along the Assche Wetering. I walk along the edge of a stretch of woodlands on my left and on my right I have a view at the water, polders and farmlands.
Occasionally, I have to pass an obstacle in the form of a fallen tree or an overhanging bush. This makes it a nice path.
The stretch of woodlands ends and I have a wide view over the polders. The path gets a little muddier here. The unpaved path is already at its end and I turn right onto a farm road. This is a very boring road straight on. Later on I see that I have gone a bit the wrong way again. Somewhere I should have turned right (less straight ahead is always better 😁), hence I also lost the markings.
Pit of Buren
I am at the Tichelgaten nature reserve, also popularly known as Pit of Buren. Here I find the markings again and enter a grassy path through a small fence. I walk along a camp site where a school outing is taking place.
The Tichelgaten nature reserve was created by clay and sand extraction from the former brick factory that stood in the same area. Due to the calcareous sand in the soil, special plant species, such as grass of Parnassus, wood anemone, great rattle and centaury, are found here. Butterflies, dragonflies and insects also feel at home here, such as the icarus blue, the swallowtail, the sand bee and the heather dragonfly.
Source (in Dutch): IVN
I turn left and walk along beautiful, flowery fields. Butterflies, bees and other insects fly from flower to flower. I walk along the grassy path between the trees, with occasional glimpses of a pond. What a beautiful nature reserve. It makes the boring parts worthwhile again.
I follow the markings on winding paths. That’s how I like to see it, but I also hear all sorts of things. A cuckoo calls from a tree and the frogs croak in harmony.
I walk out of the nature reserve through a small fence. I cross a road and walk through a small forest. The verge is full of beautiful purple and blue flowers. Lovely winding paths lead me through the forest. I pass a small church, through a park and along a cemetery. Then I arrive at the town of Buren and here my hike ends.
It was quite a three-walk experience. Many things went wrong, but in any case I did two great hikes (we’ll quickly forget the second one). The part between Beesd and Tricht I can easily give a 5 star rating, also outside the blossom season it is wonderful. The Mariënwaerdt estate is worth an extra detour.
Some parts between Tricht and Buren I found a bit boring. All in all, I think the full hike is worth four stars, a super hike indeed!
Where: from Beesd via Tricht to Buren, Gelderland, the Netherlands.
No. of km:
Tricht – Beesd +/- 15 km
Tricht – Beesd – Buren +/- 18,5 km
Hiking date: 23 and 30 April en 14 May 2021
Materials used in illustrations: Coloured pencils for the map and watercolour paints for other illustrations
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