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The Blankaart

  • Author: TrailExplorer


Water is the keyword of this walk because the Blankaart lies in the heart of the floodable Yser Valley. After all, the name Blankaart refers to "Standing Blank". The Blankaart pond is a remnant of former peat extraction. In the area you will pass bird watching huts, lookout towers and a viewing platform. Depending on the season, there are so many different birds to spot that you will forget the time.

Distance: 10 km.

Time: 2h30.

Grade: Easy.

Type: Circular.

Gps Track: Yes.

Route description: Yes.

Wheelchair: Not suitable.

Dog: Allowed.

Height gain: Flat.

Trail: Paved and unpaved.

Marking: Hexagon with green inscription.

Hiking shoes recommended.


The Blankaart pond.

The walk starts at Blankaart Castle, which is now a visitor center. You go a through the forest on the castle domain. Pretty soon you can go back and forth to the first birdwatching hut De Otter. After your visit to the hut, you continue through the forest and cross the picturesque bridge at the pond. The work of art De Otter stands out in the pond. You continue to the plank path, here you can go back and forth to a bird hut, it is not indicated. You continue on the plank path. At a fork on the plank path you can go back and forth to the De Otter viewing tower. You go through a more open terrain and cross the Velkelokerbeek. Keep to the left on a split and you go in the direction of the watchtower, which you can already see from afar. From the tower you have a beautiful view of the Blankaart pond and the wide surroundings. From the tower you walk further, cross two bridges to arrive at a paved road. Here you can stop for a nice farm ice cream at Hoeve 't Madeliefje. You follow the road and go next to the Blankaart reservoir in the direction of a viewing platform on the Stenensluisvaart. Here you have a beautiful view of the entire area. Continue to follow Noordbroekstraat to the intersection with Zuidbroekstraat. Here you turn right into Zuidbroekstraat. (See WP1 on the map - the marker is missing here). You follow the street and pass Sport Vlaanderen Woumen. Almost at the end of the Zuidbroekstraat you turn right into a path. The path ends at the Y-junction of the way there. (WP2 on the map) From here you follow the route of the way out to just the beginning of the plank path. Here you follow the path on the left. At the first intersection, turn left again and follow the forest path to the castle.


Download PDf for route description.

Some trails can be very swampy and even part of the area can be inaccessible after heavy rain.

Map & Poi's.

POI 1 - Blankaart.

Building a castle on the edge of the floodable Yser Valley was Baron Gustave de Coninck de Merckem's childhood dream in the nineteenth century. Thanks to the Baron's heirs, Natuurpunt has its permanent place here. The family was socially minded and had a heart for nature. In 1959 they converted the castle into a training center and gave the Blankaart pond and the surrounding marsh under management of Natuurpunt. The Blankaart is located in the heart of the floodable Yser Valley. Water is the keyword here. During heavy rain, the Yser and other 'waterways' cannot immediately drain the water and the surrounding hay and meadows fill up as natural 'holding basins'. In this way, the villages are spared from flooding. The water level and water quality remain of vital importance for the nature reserve even today. The wet meadows and pastures are an excellent place for thousands of meadow, reed and water birds all year round. In the area and the rest of the Yser Valley you can discover the birds in different ways: through the numerous birdwatching huts and walls or along marked hiking trails. The name Blankaart refers to "standing blank, being under water".

The Blankaart pond is a remnant of former peat extraction and has therefore been excavated by man. The Blankaart was first depicted as a pond on a map around 1560. The heart of the nature reserve is only accessible over the water. This makes the management of the reed beds even more difficult. It often happens with the work boat, a traditional wooden flat-bottomed boat, a "schuytte" of native oak, made for The Blankaart by one of the last authentic craft boat builders in Northern France. Such flat-bottomed boats were used in the region for the transport of peat at the time.

Visitor Center Natuurpunt.