The 5 most beautiful hiking trails in Meetjesland
Enjoy walks along convenient hiking nodes
If you fancy a brisk walk through lush natural beauty, Meetjesland is the place to be. Some routes are more beautiful than others, but at some point you have to choose. These are the 5 very best in our opinion!
The breathtakingly beautiful Poeke Castle, tucked away in a castle park, is completely surrounded by a moat. It is accessible only by an ornate little bridge that seems plucked straight out of a fairytale. The castle has been the setting for numerous television programmes over the years, but the gardens surrounding it are also well worth a visit. The romantic park is the dream backdrop for hand-in-hand walks, marriage proposals and intimate strolls. The silence is overwhelming, as is the landscaping.
A 9-km walk starts at the castle on which you can discover many other gems. Like the Artemeers Mill, which today remains the hub of an artisanal milling business. Be sure to stroll into Kanegem, the picturesque flower village that always seems to be in bloom.
The hiking trail that takes you through the Oude Kalevallei area is a sturdy test for the calf muscles. But you can perfectly cut the 15-kilometre walk into two. The entire walk or just one section: take your pick!
The trail will show you the best of the valley on a relaxing hike that has something for everyone. Along the way, you will pass picturesque villages such as Merendree, Vinderhoute and Lovendegem. They are known for their beautiful castles scattered here and there in the landscape. So not only will you be immersed in lush nature, there is also a lot to experience architecturally and historically.
Once you have well and truly set off, you will encounter the meandering Oude Kale several times along your path. The charming farmhouses, the vast landscapes, the picturesque villages ... They provide the dream combination of peace and quiet and nature.
From Het Leen to De Lieve
This is a hiking trail you won't regret. What will you encounter on this 14-kilometre hike? Art, natural beauty, pristine woodland - and who knows: deer, hares and foxes! But also: running streams, quiet country roads, stately rows of trees and grand views.
Start and finish are in Het Leen Provincial Domain, a thriving forest of no less than 278 hectares, where you can get lost for hours. Want to know exactly which trees you are getting lost among? Then a visit to the arboretum is a good idea. Here you can visit fascinating exhibits about the forest, nature and wildlife management.
Once you leave Het Leen, you walk straight into the calming country roads, towards De Lieve. This is the oldest canal in Flanders (and even Europe) but was overtaken by industrialisation. Fortunately, many beautiful pieces of it have been preserved...
What to expect from the Drongengoedbos Walking Route? A wonderfully invigorating 6-kilometre hike through the largest contiguous forest area in the province. On the agenda: the beautiful Maldegemveld, the fascinating Drongengoedhoeve and a hiking trail full of gnomes for the little ones among us.
The first trees of the Drongengoedbos were planted as early as the 13th century by the Norbertines of the nearby Drongen Abbey. A good part of the walking network is still based on the checker-shaped causeway pattern so characteristic of this area. The former farmstead is still in use as a regional visitor centre with a cosy cafeteria. The Drongengoedhoeve has a lot to offer: a herb garden, orchard, landscape information centre ... and a well that is over 1,800 years old!
The majestic nature reserve in which you walk combines forests with colourful and vast moorlands. You'll feel like you're in the High Fens. Also feel free to stop at the top of the viewing hill installed by Natuurpunt. Here you can spot deer and roe deer - and the pond you're looking at is teeming with crested newts.
The little ones can follow the gnome trail Pinnemuts (2 km) in the Drongengoed Landscape Park, near the Drongengoedhoeve. There, children are playfully introduced to all facets of the forest. Are the little ones brimming with energy even after that brisk walk? Then feel free to let them loose in the play zone you come across just before the end of your trip.
Sint-Margriete is a small and lovely village where conviviality sets the tone. It's surrounded by phenomenal landscapes interrupted only by stunning ponds of water. In this region you will still find pure tranquillity. A spectacle of nature and water, where you can spot waterfowl and wander delightfully through the polders. Put on your hiking boots, because this 12.5-kilometre trek offers you a glimpse into the most beautiful nooks and crannies of the region!
You start at the church, in the heart of the village. From there, you head toward Molenkreek, a soothing pond surrounded by a landscape that stretches to the horizon. You also pass Hollandersgatkreek and Blokkreek. In the late 14th century, numerous villages here were simply washed away by floods from the Western Scheldt. It would take until 1750 before the river was finally dyked in and the present creek landscape was created.
For bird lovers, the creeks around St. Margriet are truly a must-visit. Black-tailed godwit and lapwing, stonechat, the graceful marsh harrier: you can spot them all here. But you can also relax over snacks and drinks. For example, in de Roste Muis. This cosy establishment has a great menu for you in addition to delectable eel specialities. In summer, try to grab a seat on the large outdoor terrace: sheer bliss!