The largest and wettest National Park in the Netherlands: Oosterschelde. A world of tides and wind. We discover different walking routes. A mecca for bird watchers. Now we are not bird watchers, but in this area you will become it automatically!
In a number of places, photo screens show which villages and hamlets used to be here, because this landscape has always been in motion. It has a dramatic history in which the water continued to expand and the people who lived there were forced to give up their land, for example by storm surge.
First we hike at Schelpenhoek. This is an area that was formed during the 1953 flood disaster. Forestry Commission has set out a short walk here.
Many shorebirds nest and rest in this area. When the tide is low you can see them looking for food or resting on the sand. In many places there are signs, visitors are not allowed there to give the birds as much rest as possible. However, there are watchtowers at various places from which you can view them with your binoculars.
You walk around the water. The first part can be dogs loose, the second part is a bit more varied. We don’t think it’s a spectacular walk and we don’t see many birds. Only at the coast of the Oosterschelde (parking lot) do we see more birds. Here is also the watchtower.
- Start and end point: Schelpenhoek, Stolpweg car park, Serooskerke
- Length: 4 kilometers
- Information: website Staatsbosbeheer
This used to be a small community and harbor; Flaauwershaven. Now you see nothing but water. It’s a beautiful area.
The inlets, directly behind the first dike at the Oosterschelde, are wet swamp areas. They are used during storm tides to collect excess water. This has been happening for years, so the soil and water are salty. This has consequences for the plants and animals that live there. We see many shorebirds there.
The Salicornia, or Samphire, is green all year round, but in September the leaves change to bright pink. The Salicornia is a salt tolerant plant, it grows in the salt marshes behind the coast, but also on the beach or in mangrove areas. You can eat it and it is also called sea asparagus.
At Zierikzee we walk part of the Levenstrijd trail. This part is called Bruinvisroute. We park the car and climb up the dike. We walk along the Oosterschelde and have a wide view over the water. Today many sailing boats because there is a nice breeze.
At the end of the pier, at the jetty, is Studio Bruinvis, an information panel with information about the porpoises that live in the Oosterschelde and can be spotted here. You can press a button on the panel to hear if there are harbor porpoises swimming nearby, the sound is transported from the yellow buoy to the panel. Unfortunately we don’t hear any harbor porpoises, better next time! You can find information about Studio Bruinvis here.
We walk further towards the harbor, where we discover small turnstones between the basalt blocks. They are busy foraging for food.
The second part of the walk runs along the inlets, here you are closer to the many shorebirds, but the path continues around them. You only walk into the area at the viewing place.
We spot many different birds, such as spoonbills, little egret, grebe. Curlew and redshank. Groups of barnacle geese pass over with a lot of noise; they whack and flap their wings. A beautiful sight!
- Start and end point: Rondwandeling Leven Battle, parking in Zierikzee or at the parking lot
- Distance: Life battle walk 9.7 km, Porpoise route 4.5 km
- Information: Harbor porpoise walk website NP Oosterschelde, Levenstrijd hike website Natuurmonumenten