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Brechtse Heide

  • Author: Roger

Brechtse Heide

This walk introduces you to three beautiful nature reserves in the Brechtse Heide. You walk along the Dessel-Schoten canal to the Kooldries nature reserve. Winding paths lead you past old clay pits through an oak birch forest and willow thickets. Further along the route you can discover a part of the nature reserve Hoofsweer at a viewing wall. Then you walk through a varied open landscape to the Marbeleven nature reserve. You only catch a glimpse of the fen itself because the area is fenced off, but this piece of nature that is part of the Vraagheide is certainly also worthwhile.

Distance: 13 km.

Time: 3h30.

Grade: Moderate.

Type: Circular.

Gps Track: Yes.

Route description: Yes.

Wheelchair: Not suitable.

Dog: Allowed.

Height gain: Flat.

Trail: Paved and unpaved.

Marking: Walking nodes and own description.

Hiking shoes recommended.



You follow the Desel-Schoten canal on a beautiful path to the nature reserve Kooldries. De Kooldries owes its existence to the excavation work of the Dessel-Schoten canal in the 19th century. Extensive clay layers were discovered during digging the canal. Many brick factories tried to exploit this “Clay of Rijkevorsel”. One of those brick factories was located north of the Kooldries. However, in the 1950s the factory had to close its doors because the clay layers in Brecht were too thin and shallow. You can still see that in the irregular shapes of the clay pits. In the meantime, the Kooldries has evolved significantly into a varied landscape. In addition to the old clay pits, we find an oak birch forest, a reed field, willow thickets, a piece of heather and an old standard orchard. You go through the nature reserve along beautiful winding paths and you soon come to a viewing wall. The view of the large clay pit gives you a nice overview of the Hoofsweer nature reserve. With binoculars you can probably spot many different types of birds. The walk now continues through a more open landscape. On the way you can see the tower of the Abbey of Our Lady of Nazareth very well. The abbey is popularly called the Trappistinnen Abbey. The route then takes you to the Marbeleven nature reserve. The area is part of the Vraagheide and consists for the most part of wet heather with transitions to dry heather and two fens. You go along the edge of the nature reserve to return to the Dessel-Schoten canal. You return to the starting point via a nice path next to the canal.

Brechtse Heide

Download PDF for nodes to follow and route description.

Bring binoculars.

Map & Poi's.