Happiness experiences in the nature of Central Limburg
Central Limburg is rich in nature. Close to Weert is the GrensPark Kempen~Broek. The Maasplassen are located near Roermond. And if we go further north, we drive into De Peel. East of Roermond, however, there are nature reserves that are not so well known. There, Staatsbosbeheer National Park De Meinwegen manages the Roer Valley. We asked forester Mark Daemen why these areas are so special.
Two different nature reserves The Roerdal and the Meinweg are located in the farthest corner of Limburg, close to the German border. Mark: "The two nature reserves merge into each other, but are different from each other. The flat Roer Valley is dominated by the Roer and has many picturesque farms with extensive farmlands. The Meinweg, on the other hand, is a wooded and hilly area, with few buildings and many purple areas. If you travel from the Roer Valley via the Meinweg in the direction of the German border, you overcome almost 50 vertical meters."
If you travel from the Roer Valley via the Meinweg towards the German border, you will overcome almost 50 meters in altitude.
- Mark Daemen
Roer meanders through the valley
The Roer Valley is an old cultural landscape that has been in the service of agriculture for centuries. "But that doesn't make nature any less beautiful!", emphasizes Mark Daemen. "You have whole areas where there are few buildings and where the Roer meanders freely through the landscape. If you look closely you can see trees with gnawing marks from beavers. They come here The exotically colored kingfisher is also special, which still nests here in the steep bank walls.”
Walking and cycling along the Roer
The Roerdal is best explored by bike. "There are beautiful cycling paths, but you can also step off every now and then to enjoy a view of the fast-flowing Roer. Here you can really relax under the rustling poplars. And if you come close to one of the many villages, you have beautiful views, for example at Sint Odiliënberg, where you can see the ancient basilica with the two steeples from afar.”
Wild and rare animals in the Meinweg
The Meinweg has a different character. It is a contiguous, wooded nature reserve of almost 2000 hectares. It is the habitat of wild animals, which are often rare for Limburg and even the Netherlands. “The Meinweg is home to a large population of wild pigs. They are naturally shy, but you still have a chance to spot them. In any case, you can see the traces of their rooting. The Meinweg also has a large population of the protected viper; a rare and venomous snake species. No need to worry! As long as you keep your distance and don't grab them, they won't hurt you at all.”
The border region with Germany, where the Meinweg is located, is known for the many monasteries that are located there. The most famous monastery was Saint Ludwig, which was demolished in 2015. Near the site of Sint Ludwig, which is not accessible to the public, is the national monument, the Sint Ludwigkapel. This one can be visited. “A special place, where I like to come,” says Mark. “The chapel, the wooded avenues and the cemetery exude a special atmosphere. It is the combination of a special experience of nature, the beautiful chapel and a soothing tranquility. A blissful experience.”
Mountain biking and hiking in the Meinweg
Those who do not only want to enjoy nature, but also like to seek adventure, can lose their egg in the Meinweg. “Due to the height differences, it is a popular area for mountain bikers. There are several MTB routes. Cycling is also possible, even over the German border.” Hikers can also make their miles on the Meinweg. “On the way they can stop at the café and visitor center De Boshut. Also great for kids!"