On with the next Green Heart hike. I still have three trails to go from the booklet Hiking in the Green Heart by the ANWB and I want to complete them all this year (2021). This time, I choose the Ursula trail in Nieuwveen (in the Netherlands). This is not the most attractive trail. The trail itself is only 5 kilometres and I have to travel more than two hours by public transport (from Rotterdam) to get there. That means another two hours back. I spend more time on the train and bus than I do on the hike. Also, the trail seems a bit boring to me. I guess I’m right about that.
Starting at the St. Nicolas church
I get off the bus at the bus stop near the RK Sint-Nicolaas church in Nieuwveen. This is also where the trail starts. It is nice that I do not have to walk to the starting point first. I go past the church and the parking lot. The church has beautiful stained-glass windows.
I walk onto a bicycle path and along the side I see a beautiful red flower. I have never seen a flower like that before. Of course I have to make an illustration of it. This time I have chosen pastel pencils instead of watercolour paints. The colours stand out beautifully on the grey background! For a first time working with pastels I’m quite happy with the illustration.
I continue along the bicycle path, which borders the estate of huize Ursula. This is a residential area for mentally disabled people (organisation Ipse de Bruggen). There is also a restaurant, but it is closed at the time of this hike. Of course, the trail is named after it.
The bicycle path goes left and so do I. Meanwhile, between the trees along the cycle path, the fields and greenhouses come into view. The path bends to the right and I leave the Ursula estate behind me.
Across a dike
At a bench, I take a break. Here I have to turn left through a fence onto a grassy dike. Here is a sign for the Ursula trail, but the markings of the ANWB trail from the booklet are no longer there. A little further on, on another dike, LAW7 Pelgrimspad (long distance trail Pilgrim trail) part 1 passes by here. I stick to the Ursula trail today.
At last, things are getting a bit interesting. Although, it is a bumpy grassy dike, which is not very pleasant to walk on. Oh well, there will always be something.
On my left, I can see a lower lying polder and on my right, large houses with large gardens and more greenhouses. A little later, the grassy dike becomes more passable, but that only lasts for a short while. After crossing another fence, the path is overgrown with tall plants and nettles. I make my way through the obstacles.
The dike bends to the left, around the low-lying polder. In the polder, I see a couple of hares running after each other. A few more minutes and the grass dike is over again. I am on the other side of Nieuwveen.
I go straight on for a bit because I see a picnic bench: time for a break. Here I see red and white markings of a long distance trail again, this time it is LAW3.3 the Marskramerpad (Merchant trail). Nieuwveen is popular with long distance trails.
Then I turn left and pass beautiful houses in Nieuwveen. Each house is even bigger than the next.
What a lot of churches!
I soon find myself in the centre of Nieuwveen and, at the main entrance to Ursula House, I sit down on a bench and consider where and when I can take the bus back. I actually thought that I was finished with the trail already, but I was too quick. I still have about one kilometre to go.
I pass a former church building and also the Reformed Community Church. What a lot of churches there are in this little town!
I pass behind the Community church and take an unpaved path through a field. I’m glad I did the last bit too, it gives a bit more charm to this hike.
Via a narrow path in between some houses, I reach the Sint Nicolas church again. The bus is not here yet, so I walk back to the centre and there I take the bus back home.
Just like the previous Green Heart hike – Braassem trail, this trail is exactly what I expected it to be: a bit boring and the length of the trail not worth spending 4 hours in the public transport (there and back). To complete all the trail in a booklet, you have to be willing to sacrifice a little. On to the next trail, two more to go!
Where: Nieuwveen, Zuid-Holland, in the Netherlands
No of km: +/- 5 km
Hiking date: 17 July 2021
Materials used in illustrations: coloured pencils for the map, pastel pencils for the flower
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: RouteYou.nl (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 RK Kerk in Nieuwveen, follow the trail numbers: 58 – 59 – 82 – 83 – 84 – 58.
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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