This romantic hike has all components we love in active traveling: 1) local initiative, 2) off the beaten track, and 3) various landscapes, historic elements and local hospitality. This hike won’t disappoint curious travelers!
On a certain day, a family member who lives in the area, invited me to walk this trail. I accepted the invitation not merely because I am always up for a nice activity in the outdoors – but the more because my curiosity was piqued. The hike crosses two tiny hamlets I had never heard of before, and thus I thought it was the perfect opportunity for some exploring and to broaden my Dutch horizons.
The story of the trail is a very cool one. Some inhabitants of Wenum and Wiesel were so proud of their beautiful hamlets and the surroundings, they decided to make it accessible to visitors by creating a trail. They sought the support of the local community and constructed a marked route which follows largely unpaved roads. The founders even restored old, disappeared pathways to connect roads with passages through private land and ancient fords through small streams.
Situated at the edge of the Veluwe region, hikers of the Wenum-Wiesel Copper Mill Trail enjoy a sequence of forest, streams, estates and a hedgerow landscape of pastures grazed by horses. The low building density in the area and the large number of dirt tracks create an intimate atmosphere. The trail is full of cultural history showing aspects of local life around the early 1900s, such as traditional farmsteads and country houses, a sawmill, a tram line turned into cycling path and of course the ancient copper mill – now a monumental water mill – after which the trail was named.
The route follows the Wenumse Beek upstream and downstream to where it discharges into the canal Apeldoorns Kanaal. The stream valley has great natural value for plant species. Local authorities restored the original course of the stream in 2007 and constructed a fishway to allow fishes to pass the water mill: a nice example of current Dutch nature and water management.
The village Wiesel has a strong connection to the nearby royal palace Het Loo. It borders the crown properties and many inhabitants were employees of the palace at one time. The annual Oranje celebration is still the largest village festival of the year, when the locals commemorate the birthday of the late Queen Wilhelmina van Oranje.
Address: starting point of the hike is at Wenumse Watermolen, Oude Zwolseweg 164, Wenum Wiesel (52.257630, 5.964959). Take bus 202 from Apeldoorn railway station and get off at bus stop Papegaaiweg in Wenum Wiesel. Plan your journey here.
More info: the trail (13 km) can be hiked in both directions and is marked by an orange wooden shoe. Parts of it may be muddy after rain. There are several cafes in Wiesel. Along the way, a local family has opened their garden for hikers to take a rest and drink coffee or tea. Any voluntary contribution will be donated to a good cause! 🙂
Bring: a camera, water resistant shoes.