The part of the Great rivers trail that I am hiking today goes through the Loet woodlands again. I have been there twice now. The first time was a bit of a disappointment, but the second time was a fairytale-like experience. Today, it is not a misty, mysterious morning, but a grey, dull day. I wonder if the Loet woodlands is also worth a visit now, or if it is because of the weather conditions. After the Loet woodlands, the trail continues to Bergambacht. At the bus stop just before Ammerstol I end my hike.
The Loet woodlands on a grey day
Unfortunately, I do not have a misty morning at the start of my hike. But on a cloudy day, it is also a good time to hike. I’m starting at the main parking lot of the Loet woodlands. Here is a TOP (Toeristisch Overstap Punt – Tourist Transfer Point) in the form of a little square with information panels and a large green blade of grass as a landmark. From here, various hiking and cycling trails can be followed in the nearby surroundings. Check out the website (in Dutch) for more information.
After the parking lot, I walk past a clearing in the forest with grassy areas and here I see the giant mole I mentioned before. The mole is sticking its head and legs out of a molehill. Opposite of the mole is a picnic spot called ‘Hoedje van Loetje’ with a sloping roof.
The mole is a play object made by Bureau RIS, a design and consultancy firm for play nature, commissioned by the Green Alliance Midden Holland. The mole is part of a major revamp of the Loet woodlands in 2019. In the revamp, a play trail has also been constructed and toilet facilities and the above-mentioned picnic area have been added.
Sources (in Dutch): Blowups.nl ands hetkontakt.nl
Just past the toilet blocks and the Hendrikshoeve, I turn left. Here is a beautiful wooden sculpture of an eagle. Then I turn right and cross a small bridge. This time I follow the official trail through the woodlands. Nevertheless, I walk on different paths than last time. Despite the clouds, I still find the woodlands very beautiful. I walk a bit faster now, and I don’t take many photos at this point. Below are the photos I took this time. Do you want to see more photos and an extensive report of the Loet woodlands? Then take a look at the wonderful hike from the Loetbos to Gouderak.
On the other side of the Loet woodlands I take a break on a bench. The break is very brief and I follow the markings from the Loet woodlands to the left towards the township of Zuidbroek.
Polder road in the direction of Bergambacht
Soon the trail turns to the right and I arrive in the township of Zuidbroek. The township is actually just this straight polder road with a lot of farms, in the direction of Bergambacht. At a certain point, the Zuidbroek road changes into the Benedenberg road.
I pass beautiful farms of all shapes and sizes. Both new and monumental farms, and there are also several cheese farms. Near one of the farms, a group of starlings sits in a tree pretending to be leaves.
This road is a boring part of the trail, it is only straight ahead and I am regularly on the roadside for passing cars. After a while, I can see the windmill Den Arend (the Eagle) near Bergambacht. The polder road is almost at its end. According to the trail guide, I should have turned left once before and then reach Bergambacht via Kadijk. Not only straight ahead after all, now it is really my own fault 🤦🏻♀️.
At the mill I go straight ahead again, but further on, where I should have come from the left, the road is broken up. I will have to make a detour. I wanted to have a look in the centre of the town anyway, so this is good timing. At least it is not straight ahead any more 😂.
In the town centre, I walk around the church and continue my way fairly quickly. The centre is not very big. I try to find my way back via several residential areas. With the help of Google maps, I found the trail markings again, but the street in the residential area soon becomes a dead end. I have to go back a bit. I should have turned left and followed the cycle path. I overlooked a marking again, what is wrong with me today? It can’t be that difficult!
On the cycle path, I come across a group of white-grey ducks with a red beak. They must be muscovy ducks. I suspect that these ducks are kept in the water next to the cycle path. In any case, these are not wild ducks. They remain sitting quietly on the cycle path as I pass.
At the end of the cycle path, I have to turn right and I have already left Bergambacht. I am now passing through the wide-open polders. In the distance, I can see the little city of Schoonhoven. I will go there in my next hike. For now I decide to take the bus back home at Ammerstol. For that I have to go to the right. At first, there doesn’t seem to be a road in that direction, but when I walk further, I see a bicycle path appearing.
High up in the sky, I see a kestrel flying. He lands in a tree for a moment, but when I come closer, he flies on again. In the canal next to me swims a group of Eurasian widgeons.
The Eurasian widgeon is a small duck species that can be found in large numbers in the Netherlands in the winter. Because only a small population breeds in the Netherlands, this bird is on the Red List of threatened breeding birds.
The male has a reddish-brown head with a cream-coloured stripe on top. Furthermore, the male has a pink breast, grey bill, grey with white flanks and some black in the tail and wings. The female is less colourful, being rosy brown with a grey bill and white belly. The birds are mainly found in wetlands and usually rest in large groups on lakes and ponds during the day.
Source (in Dutch): Vogelbescherming
Across the N210 motorway the trail reaches Ammerstol. Next time, I will go that way. For now, I stop at the bus stop just outside the town. The hike is over for today.
The Loet woodlands was still beautiful, even on a cloudy day. The rest of the trail I found boring, apart from a few beautiful farmhouses. I can also tell from the length of the blog and the number of photos that the trail was not too interesting. Without the Loet woodlands I would probably have given it a 1 star rating. So if you’re going to hike this part of the trail one day, keep on walking fast, but be sure to follow the markings 😃.
Where: from Loetbos via Bergambacht to Ammerstol, Zuid-Holland, in the Netherlands.
No. of km: +/- 12 km
Hiking date: 27 November 2020
Materials used in illustrations: Coloured pencils for the map and watercolour paints for the other illustrations
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