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Smeetshof Tour


Walking tour through the cross-border nature reserve Kempen-Broek on the border of the Netherlands and Belgium. The walking tour goes through the Smeetshof, the Kettingdijk and the Laura forests.

Distance: 16 km.

Time: 3h30.

Grade: Moderate.

Type: Circular.

Gps Track: Yes.

Route description: Yes.

Wheelchair: Not suitable.

Dog: Allowed.

Height gain: No info.

Trail: 96% unpaved.

Marking: See PDF route description.

Hiking shoes recommended.


Kettingdijk and Laura forests.

For centuries the area around the Smeetshof was an impenetrable swamp. At the end of the 19th century the area was made suitable for agriculture. The first reports of the "Smeetshof domain" date from 1873 when Isabelle de Lescaille had a farm built there. Through various owners, including the Smeets brothers who gave it their name, the domain came into the hands of an industrialist in the 1970s. This industrialist transformed almost the entire domain into a corn field. In 1999, Natuurpunt purchased the 180-hectare domain, after which it was restored to its original state by the Flemish government in 2004, resulting in a beautiful wetland area on the border with the Netherlands. After leaving the Smeetshof behind, the walking tour crosses the border again through the nature reserves the Kettingdijk and the Laura forests. The Kettingdijk also underwent a major change in 2014, the agricultural area consisting of fields and meadows has also been transformed into an area with much wetter nature that is largely grazed by taur oxen. The Laura forests owe their name to the Laura mine in South Limburg (NL). The forest provided wood for the undermining of mine aisles, now the forest is gradually being transformed into a varied oak-birch forest. Part of the forest area is a military training ground, the edge of which is being followed.


Download PDf for route description.

The walking tour in the Kettingdijk goes through the grazing area of the taur oxen. It's important to keep sufficient distance. If you come across the cattle on the trail during the walking tour and you do not have the option to walk around it with a wide arch, walk back and follow the alternative route.

Part of the walk is on grass/maintenance paths along watercourses such as the Rietbeek and the Veldhouwerbeek. These paths can be rough, especially in the spring, so sturdy walking shoes and long trousers are highly recommended.

Map & Poi's.