So far, this is the least enjoyable part of the Southern Waterline trail: from Prinsenbeek to Terheijden. The trail itself is a bit boring, but all sorts of things did happen while hiking, including an encounter with a bird and a nice meeting with two doggies. The highlight of the trail, the Kleine Schans in Terheijden, comes at the end, so it makes this blog worth reading 😉
Weimeren and highways
From Prinsenbeek, I first take an approach trail to get to the actual trail. This approach is mainly on paved polder roads. I pass through a nature reserve under development: the Weimeren. Digging machines are working hard along the way.
Once on the trail, I have to turn right. It is not clear to me whether I should go along the dike with high vegetation or over the dike. The fence is open, so I decide to go over the dike.
Halfway down the dike, a bird flies up from a meadow. I recognise it as a pied avocet. The bird is not charmed by my visit and seems to fly straight at me. It makes alarming noises. The bird deviates from its charge and then makes another attempt to scare me off. Perhaps he thinks it succeeds or I am a little too big after all. Squeaking, the bird flies away into the distance.
I have had a clash with a bird before, noticeably on the Migration birds trail. You can read all about it in the blog.
The pied avocet is a black and white bird on long legs and with a long, upturned bill. Its bill is ideally suited for finding worms and shrimps in muddy grounds. The avocet is particularly common on the coast in the Netherlands, but also inland on short grassland and open farmlands.
Pied avocets breed in colonies and have one clutch of three to four eggs per year. When the young are hatched, they often take shelter under mother’s wings and it looks like mother has more than two legs.
Source (in Dutch): Vogelbescherming
I made the wrong decision at the beginning of the dike. On the other side, my way is blocked by barbed wire and no fence to climb over. I don’t feel like going all the way back. Where the barbed wire is a bit lower I throw my vest over it and am able to step over the barbed wire with some caution.
Now comes the boring part of the trail. First I walk along a highway for quite a while, then I go under the highway and a train track to the other side. Then I have to walk between two highways. Even the part of the Southern Waterline trail over the Moerdijk industrial area I liked better. That’s saying a lot.
Other trail guide about the same region
But not to worry, the Weimeren nature reserve under development will be completed sometime in 2023. Hopefully, the trail will be diverted later when the nature reserve is completed.
Finally, I leave the raging highways behind me. Now the hike gets really interesting.
A wonderful companion
I see two dogs (I think a brown and a blonde labrador) in a field staring at me. The brown dog is already making its way towards me, the blond one is waiting it out.
I usually don’t like it when dogs are running loose and I am glad there is a stream of water between them. But it turns out to be a ditch and the dog is in front of me. He or she is just curious and very sweet. Meanwhile, the blonde also comes waggling along.
The brown labrador walks in front of me as if to say: I know the way! I have no idea where his home is, but he will know it himself. But the dog keeps walking in front of me and does not go to any house. At an intersection, I hear from a lady that the dogs run loose more often, so I am not worried now that the dogs might have been dumped. By now, the blonde has fallen far behind and I try to shake off the brown dog. It doesn’t succeed and I have almost run into the town of Terheijden by now.
An oncoming pedestrian piques the dog’s curiosity and I take off. I hope the dogs have returned home safe and sound. Because of this madness, I completely forgot to take a photo of the dogs. You’ll just have to take my word for it that this happened.
In Terheijden, I take a break at a cute little windmill. I need to recover from meeting the dogs.
I finally come across something related to the Southern Waterline again: the Kleine Schans on the outskirts of Terheijden. I walk all the way around it.
The Kleine Schans is a defensive structure built in 1639 to protect shipping on the Mark river. The surrounding polders could be flooded. Heavy fighting took place between the Spanish and Dutch Statesmen in the past.
Source (in Dutch): Zuiderwaterlinie
A bit later I am at the little marina in Terheijden on the river Mark. As I have to recharge my public transport pass, I first go in search of a supermarket and therefore walk around the centre. I come across two beautiful churches.
After the round trip through the town, I pick up the trail at the Mark river and I get to walk along this river for the first time for quite a while. I have nice views at the river among the reeds.
I walk all the way around Terheijden and near the N285 provincial road I stop my hike for today. Here I can catch the bus back home.
From Prinsenbeek to the outskirts of Terheijden, the trail is nothing to write home about. You walk at least 5 km along and between highways at junction Zonzeel. Once in Terheijden, peace has returned and you can take your time checking out the sights, such as windmill de Arend and the Kleine Schans.
More info:Trail: Section 5 Southern Waterline trail
Where: from Prinsenbeek to Terheijden, Noord-Brabant, the Netherlands.
No. of km: +/- 15 km
Hiking date: 1 July 2022
Materials used in illustrations: Coloured pencils for the map and watercolour paints for the illustrations
More so-so hikes
Sometimes things just don’t work out, even while hiking. Usually due to too high expectations or bad weather. Still, I don’t want to share only the nice experiences. See some other mediocre hikes below. Do you have a better experience? Let me know in a post below this blog.
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