After having hiked from A to B many times (or back to A again), I am now in the mood for a round trip. I still have four trails open from the booklet Hiking in the Green Heart. I choose the Braassem trail near Roelofarendsveen and Rijnsaterwoude in the Netherlands.
The last trails in the booklet are not very attractive. It has been almost a year since I hiked a trail (Willige Langerak trail). This is mainly because they are difficult to reach by public transport or because the trail itself is shorter than the trip to it. Nevertheless, I want to do all the hikes and my goal is to complete them this year (2021). So today I will go for the Braassem trail.
Starting in Roelofarendsveen
The trail, as it points out, goes around the Braassemer Lake. There are two towns along the Braassemer Lake: Roelofarendsveen and Rijnsaterwoude. You can start the trail from both places. The official starting point (with information panel) is in Rijnsaterwoude. I myself start from Roelofarendsveen, because it is a little more accessible by public transport. I do have a short distance to the starting point.
From Leiden, I get off the bus near the town centre. I start with the short distance to the trail. In the centre, there is a water tower with a tulip on the sides. I don’t think it is the most beautiful water tower, but it does stand out.
I go through Roelofarendsveen along Westeinde and then turn right along Noorderhemweg until I reach TOP Roelofarendsveen (Tourist Transfer Point). On the way, I pass beautiful houses with ditto gardens. I see many canals and ponds and therefore pass many small bridges. It is a lovely walk to the trail.
The European Football Championship is underway and that does not go unnoticed. In the water, there is a kind of football field with goals and with ‘Holland’ in orange inflated letters. What a remarkable scene.
Not much later, I reach the TOP with the well-known 3xGR (GReat GReen GRass straw). Several hiking and cycling trails start from here. Strangely enough, this trail is not mentioned (but there is a map on the website).
I turn right along the marina and then right along the Braassemer Lake on my left. I have a clear view over the lake.
The Braassemer Lake lies in the north of the province of Zuid-Holland in the municipality of Kaag and Braassem. Roelofarendsveen lies on the western shore and Rijnsaterwoude on the eastern shore of the lake. The lake is popular with water sports enthusiasts, as can be seen from the many marinas, water sports clubs, boat hire companies and places to eat and drink that have set up there.
Source (in Dutch): Wikipedia
I pass through an older part of Roelofarendsveen with a sluice and a small bridge. I cross the bridge and on the other side go back towards the lake again.
I go over a narrow shell path behind nice homes. Again, I have a beautiful view over the lake, with occasional boats or a platform. Just imagine living here! On sunny days, it is a good place to be.
Around the Braassemer Lake there are two places where you have to cross the water by ferry. The first ferry across the Paddegat is already in sight. Many schoolchildren take their bicycles with the ferry to the other side. I am allowed to go too, although I find the ferry quite crowded. Another lady prefers to wait for the next ride. On the other side, I take a break. Then I turn right and walk a little further away from the lake.
The inevitable polder
Now it is time for the inevitable polder. A Green Heart hike without a polder is impossible. At a large garden with peacocks and, on the other side, an old barn full of black crows, I have to turn left. However, there is no sign or trail marking here. I really have to look carefully at the map in the booklet to see where I have to go. If I had not paid attention I would have ended up in Woubrugge. But I really have to go left. The markings of LAW 3 Marskramerpad (Long Distance trail) do point in the direction of Woubrugge.
The road bends a little to the left and so I come closer to the Braassemer Lake again. On the right-hand side, I look out over the wide-open polders.
I walk along the dyke and pass the Hemmen nature reserve. I see several little islands on the edge of the lake where nature can take its course. The Braassemer Lake is hidden from view.
Not much later, I walk along the Leidse Vaart, where boats and Nile geese lie alongside the bank. Strolling along the canal, I reach Rijnsaterwoude.
I walk through the residential areas of Rijnsaterwoude and take a break at a little square opposite the church. This is also the official starting point of this trail. I turn left on a footpath and pass a big insect hotel.
A little later, I have a beautiful view over the lake again, but this time from the Rijnsaterwoude side.
For the first time since I started this blog with accompanying illustrations, I have left out an illustration. I am often not satisfied with illustrations, but I do post them because I make them in a sketchbook. So they don’t have to be perfect. But this time I thought it was just plain bad. I like the photo a lot better, so here is just the photo (of what should have been an illustration).
For a while I walk alongside the edge of the lake and turn right and then left again along a polder road until I reach the next junction. Here I pass the town of Leimuiden. I have to turn left again, but here too, no markings. Strange that at crucial points (in this case, turning left), there is no marking. I have to be very aware of this.
The inevitable windmill
In addition to polders, windmills are also often part of a Green Heart hike. This time I pass the Geestmolen. First, I see it from afar and then a little closer, although I cannot get very close.
I walk further until I reach the ferry service Oude Wetering – Leimuiden. The ferry operator asks if I still have far to go, but I have almost finished my hike. On the other side, I have another beautiful view of the Braassemer Lake.
With a last view of the Braassemer Lake, I return via the Plantage to TOP Roelofarendsveen. From here I go back to the bus stop.
This hike was exactly what I expected it to be: a somewhat boring trail around the Braassemer Lake on mainly paved roads. Of course, you can’t go without a part through the polders and past a windmill in the Green Heart. The ferry crossings make the trail a bit more interesting. A fine hike as far as I’m concerned.
Where: Roelofarendsveen and Rijnsaterwoude, Zuid-Holland, in the Netherlands
No of km: +/- 13 km
Hiking date: 25 June 2021
Materials used in illustrations: coloured pencils for the map, watercolour paints for the church
Hiking booklet (not for sale anymore):
You can hike this trail by following the 6-sided ANWB signs. Unfortunately, the trail is not marked well (anymore).
The hiking trail can still be found on the toproutenetwerk.nl (Toeristisch Overstappunt – Tourist Transfer Point): TOP Roelofarendsveen (in Dutch).
The trail can also be followed using the red-yellow numbers and arrows of the Zuid-Holland hiking trail network. From the bus stop Stationsstraat in Roelofarendsveen, follow the trail numbers: 13 – 18 (TOP Roelofarendsveen) – 79 – 36 – 42 – 45 – 48 – 76 – 78 – 74 – 11 – 18 (TOP Roelofarendsveen) – 13 (back towards bus stop).
Would you like more information about Hiking in the Green Heart? I wrote an extensive blog post about the booklet that is no longer for sale. Here you can find information about all the trails described in the booklet and where you can find them online now.
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