The Dwingelderveld is the largest wet heathland area in the Netherlands and Western Europe. Due to wet ditches and dry sand ridges there is a lot of variation in animals and plants.

The Netherlands has 21 national parks. We have set ourselves the goal of visiting all these beautiful parks within a year. I make a report with beautiful photos of every visit. Do you want to see which parks we have already visited? Then take a look here!

Typically… .. The Dwingelderveld National Park

A combination of wet and dry that is typical for this National Park and that makes the area unique. Here too you will find a lot of variety in landscape. Then you walk through the woods, then over the heath and along beautiful fens. This landscape is not primordial nature, it is man-made. In this cultural landscape there is a lot of space for plants and animals. Two flocks of sheep and cattle are used, they are used to keep grass, saplings and the bushes of the heather short.

There are many endangered plant and animal species. The Dwingelderveld has been a National Park since 1991 and has been a Natura 2000 area since 2013. Various animals live there, such as the smooth snake, roe deer, woodpecker and buzzard. Juniper shrubs, a protected species, are also common in this park.

There is a visitor center in Ruinen and a nature gate in Spier. You can walk and cycle various routes, plotted by Staatsbosbeheer and Natuurmonumenten.

My humble opinion

This is not our first visit to the Dwingelderveld National Park. Last year we walked a self-devised route in the southern part of the park. We were then positively surprised. We found the Dwingelderveld varied and also beautiful in winter conditions. We then started at the Paasbergen car park and walked past the Anserdennen and across the Dwingelloosche Heide, among other things. A nice introduction.

Now we have chosen the northern part of the park.
I am looking forward to the walk, but to be honest it is a bit disappointing now. It is a busy Sunday in the Lockdown period, unlike our walk in the Drents Friese Wold (the day before) it is busy here. We walk the yellow Witteveen route combined with the white Spier route.

The Witteveen route is varied, but nowhere near the fens. We think that’s a shame. The Spierroute has various plank paths. That is a fun and varied piece. My conclusion is that the park is still beautiful, but the circumstances make me a bit disappointed. I would love to come back again as I think this area could surprise us again.

The route

As mentioned, we combine the yellow Witteveen route with the white Spier route. There are many options for combining the relatively short routes that have been plotted. We start at the Smalbroek car park. We walk the route in the opposite direction, so that we first walk the part along the road (then we have had that). This does mean that we have to pay close attention, because the route is only marked in one direction with posts.
At about three quarters of the walk we pick up the white Spier route. We walk to Spier and back to Smalbroek. Here the route reconnects to the yellow route.

We walk the first part along the road. We have a beautiful view of the Witteveen, a large fen. We dive into the forest, here the path twists a bit and it is more hilly. This immediately makes it more fun to walk. A little later we walk past the juniper bushes. It is a wild intention, they grow in all directions. Juniper is a protected shrub.

The Lheebroekerzand is now on our left. We have a view of the open area. In many places there is a fence. We can’t just enter the area.

Spier trail

We can pick up the white Spier route at a small fen. First lunch and then through the swing gate. Immediately it is a nice narrow path with various plank paths in between. And they are necessary because it is a wet intention. The shelves remind me a bit of Sweden. These paths are higher, you have to pay attention, because if you fall off you will make a big crash. Fortunately that doesn’t happen!

The area around Spier is getting busier. Many families are out and about. There is a collection point at the nature gate. Coffee is bought en masse. The disturbing thing is that people then find it necessary to throw away their empty cups in the forest…. You are not making that up!

The sun

We walk on. The weather is not too bad for us. Gray skies, but it stays dry. Nice! The sun tries several times to squeak in between. If that succeeds, it gives a nice light effect between the trees.

When we are back on the yellow route, we walk again along the Lheebroekerzand. Here too the sun does its best and gives a beautiful golden glow. What colors!

Once back at the parking lot, we enjoy a cup of tea and the last rays of the sun. There is a mystical atmosphere because of the dark cloudy skies that threaten.


  • Start and end point: Yellow Witteveen walk Parking lot Smalbroek near Spier. Combined with white Boswandeling Spier. This can also be started at Natuurpoort Spier.
  • Length: The yellow Witteveen walk is 6 km. The white forest walk is 5.5 km. Together 10 km.
  • Marking: yellow and white posts. One direction, so pay attention if you want to walk the route in the other direction.
  • Information: The website of Staatsbosbeheer provides all information about routes. For other routes, visit the Natuurmonumenten website.