Hiked: May 16, 2016
You can download the route descriptions in Dutch and the GPS coördinates here and here. You can find the GPS coördinates here as well (scroll down to “Wandelen over de Utrechtse Heuvelrug”). These routes can also be found in the hiking guide “Wandelen over de Utrechtse Heuvelrug”.
For today’s hike I returned to a familiar part of the country: the forests around the tiny village of Lage Vuursche in the center of the country. Several of the long-distance trails I have hiked in the past year pass by here and I sometimes combine a hike in this area with a visit to family living not far from there. Every time I come here for a hike, I still find new paths, hidden corners and beautiful views. Today was no different: throughout the hike I followed stretches familiar from previous hikes, but I also discovered parts that were new to me.
I combined two routes from the hiking guide “Wandelen over de Utrechtse Heuvelrug” that overlap on a small stretch, so it was easy to jump from one to the other route. I started early in the morning at Hollandsche Rading train station and walked through the woods towards Lage Vuursche, by and large following the Marskramerpad trail. A few kilometers before the village, I turned off the route to the village and walked through the woods of the Maartendijkse Bos, the westernmost habitation of badgers in the Netherlands (no, I didn’t see any traces of them). During my hike last week, I noticed that the rhododendrons were just starting to bloom, but now I could tell how much difference a week makes. The weather was nice; it was warm, there was a nice breeze and hardly any sunshine.
After about 3.5km, on a quiet tree-lined country road, the two routes came together and I jumped from one to the other. This second route begins and ends in the village of Lage Vuursche, but I picked it up a few kilometers before the end. I followed small footpaths and broad tree-lined sand lanes through the woods to Lage Vuursche, a tiny village mostly known for its many pancake restaurants and its most famous inhabitant, Princess Beatrix, former Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. I passed through the village and entered the woods again, passing the fence surrounding the gardens of Drakensteyn Castle, the home of Princess Beatrix. Here I ran into an elderly couple with the same hiking guide in their hands, obviously planning to hike the same route. I let them pass and waited a while, so we wouldn’t be trodding on each other’s heels all the time. After about an hour, I passed them again when they were taking a break.
For a while I followed tree-lined sandpaths on the edge of pastures and woods, making for very nice views across the fields. As soon as the sun broke through the clouds, everything would light up bright green, as if I was walking through a long, green tunnel. Then I entered the woods again, passing by many blooming rhododendron bushes. Again, I followed a mix of narrow footpaths and broad sand lanes lined with beech and oak trees. I ended up at a busy road, which I had to follow for a few hundred meters. This was also the point where I left the second route and returned to the route I had started out on, which would bring me back to the Hollandsche Rading train station.
For a few kilometers, once again I followed long, straight sand paths lined with oak trees among the fields before I entered the woods near the village of Bilthoven. I walked along the edge of the village, turned away from the village and started heading north again towards the village of Maartensdijk, first through the woods and then on another sandy country road among the fields. All of a sudden, I could hear the noise of the nearby A27 highway. I walked through Maartensdijk and followed a busy cycling path to the village of Hollandsche Rading, where I got on the train back home.
All in all a very diverse and enjoyable hike mostly along unpaved footpaths and country roads.