LIFE Sparc and the Sigma Plan offer nature more room along the rivers Scheldt and Durme. New flood control areas will protect the area from the effects of rising sea levels. In time, they will also offer astonishing views of rare and valuable tidal nature. Can’t contain your curiosity? Come over and see the sights!
Groot Schoor, Bornem
Throughout history, this part of Bornem has experienced more than its share of flooding. Groot Schoor was created when a levee breach dug a large indentation or ‘wheel’ in the ground. In 1552, a new breach was so persistent that divine intervention was sought. The story goes that the flooding only stopped after a statue of the Virgin Mary, taken from the crypt or ‘krocht’ of the local church, was brought to the spot. When the waters finally receded, a new wheel was left behind: the Krochtwiel or Kragewiel.
The Kragewiel is still here today and is definitely worth a visit. Just like the neighboring Klein Kragewiel, it is a wonderful place to relax and admire the dragonflies and the waterbirds. The area is also perfect to go cycling or hiking on the levees or through the fields and forests. A little upstream from Groot Schoor, you can visit De Notelaer. This charming 18th-century hunting pavilion used to belong to the d’Ursel family. Today, it houses the non-profit organization De Notelaer, which aims to show the general public the importance of the river Scheldt and of the Scheldt landscape. De Notelaer mounts expositions, organizes lectures and offers delicious local products on its garden terrace.
De Bunt, Hamme
The levees around the flood control area De Bunt offer beautiful views of the local landscape. Pay a visit and you will find biotopes that you will rarely encounter outside the Scheldt valley, like an alder forest, or the freshwater mud flats and marshes along the banks of the Durme. There is no shortage of water within the levees either, thanks to the old peat pits, which mainly serve as fishing ponds today. Fancy a short rest? Then spend some time at the play forest Driegoten. Stretch out on a bench carved from a tree trunk and let your children or other travel companions look for forest ghosts.
The village of Vlassenbroek is located in the middle of a beautiful green area with a great diversity of nature. Hiking trails lead you past swamps and rare freshwater marshes, some tidal willow forest and wetlands. But the village itself is also worth a visit. Vlassenbroek is known as an artists’ village and has inspired many painters and sculptors. Among its hidden treasures are a cozy art and music café, an authentic inn from 1864 and a restaurant that specializes in traditional Flemish food.
Klein Broek and Groot Broek, Temse
Along the banks of the Durme in Temse, two drained marshlands are being restored: Klein Broek and Groot Broek. The restoration process will eventually create an impressive tidal panorama, to be admired from the levee. A stone’s throw away, you can discover the protected historic village of Sombeke, with its 17th-century castle. Or hike up to the Beerkaaihuisje, a place with a very curious history. In between the two marshes, you can cross the Durme by way of the iconic Mira Bridge, or enjoy a gastronomic treat in the restored buildings of the former coal harbor.
Picture Bornem: ©ID Photoagency
Picture Hamme: ©EdM
Pictures Vlassenbroek & Temse: ©ANB