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Saleghem Route

  • Author: TrailExplorer

Saleghem route

Walk through a typical polder landscape over dikes lined with stately poplars, pollard willows along polder roads and creeks as silent witnesses to an eventful history.

Distance: 9 km.

Time: 2h00.

Grade: Easy.

Type: Circular.

Gps Track: Yes.

Route description: Yes.

Wheelchair: Not suitable.

Dog: Allowed.

Height gain: Flat.

Trail: 65% unpaved.

Marking: Walking nodes.

Hiking shoes recommended.

Saleghem creeks.

Saleghem creeks

The walk starts in the center of Meerdonk and quickly takes you to the Turfbankenpolder. Peat, used over the centuries as a cheap fuel, was extracted here during the summer, when the water in the polders was low. It was put in large clogs, dried and shipped to the cities in flat boats. Later floods filled the peat pits with clay and a piece of heritage disappeared underground forever. Many place names in the area still refer to the peat cutters of yesteryear. You go through the Turfbankenstraat in the direction of the Sint-Jacobsgat nature reserve. Along the Krekeldijk you reach the beautiful Sint-Jacobsgat, so named after the saint on whose name the dikes broke, which left a deep channel in the landscape. Be sure to walk through the gate here and go along the bank of the creek, you will automatically return to the route. You continue next to the Krekeldijk on the wrong side to observe the Panneweel. During a dike breach in the early 17th century, the swirling water scoured out a typical round pool, also known as a wheel. You pass the Natuurhuis Panneweel.
At junction 92 you should definitely go on the dike and at the intersection Krekeldijk - Dijkstraat have a look at the artwork Free Foxes by Caroline Coolen. The Free Foxes survey the polder landscape, while the knight in the middle looks a little disdainfully at the Doel nuclear power plant. The hint to Reynaert de Vos, the uncrowned king of the Waasland, is perhaps no coincidence. Continue along the dike and you will soon reach the Grote Saleghemgeul. The largest lake in the Saleghem Creeks area was created after the All Saints' Spring Flood of 1570, with 20,000 fatalities, possibly the worst flood of pre-modern times. It is connected to the Grote Geule in Kieldrecht via the Sint-Jacobsgat and the Kieldrechtse Watergang. Green fishermen's houses protrude above the water like stilt houses and give the Grote Saleghemgeul an exotic appearance. The many pollard willows along the bank leave no doubt, however: these are the Wase polders all over. The lake and the surrounding polders are an important resting and foraging area for greylag geese in winter. White-fronted geese, wigeons and different types of ducks can also be seen here. You also walk back to Meerdonk next to dikes and along traffic-calmed paved roads.

Download PDf for nodes to follow.

Some paths can be muddy.

Map & Poi's.

POI 1 - Nature house Panneweel.

The Nature House is an old barn on a yard with a standard orchard and is located on a dike near the creeks of Saleghem. It is at the same time the workhouse, shed, storage place, educational space and cafeteria of Natuurpunt Waasland-Noord. Around the barn is a beautiful standard orchard (apple, pear, plum, cherry, quince) and a walking path with small landscape elements. There is also a beekeeper's house and you can look at the water purification behind the shed. This small-scale water purification with reed and swamp plants cleans the wastewater from the Nature House. Newts live in the pool with purified water, which is proof of good water quality.