The wooden shoes factory is not the only reason to explore the rural village of Liempde in the province of North Brabant. The fields surrounding the village and the Dommel stream present the typical landscape of a lowland river plain. Close to the stream you will find wet grasslands turning into higher, bulging terrain farther away. Hiking this route will take you along historic farmsteads, tiny roadside chapels and rural scenery of the southern Netherlands.
The hike has some special eye catchers in store. 20 minutes on your way, after crossing the Dommel stream for the first time, a railway track passes the hamlet Kasteren. The track is locally known as the “German line”. Till 1950 trains transported people and goods from North Brabant to Germany. Nowadays the track functions as a wildlife corridor connecting nature reserves and national parks in this part of the country. A little further, an 18th century farmstead named Groot Duifhuis is a national monument with a tall dovecot in the adjacent meadow. Originally hundreds of doves were kept to provide meat and manure to fertilize the farmland. Next to it, the large granary with a thatched roof dates from 1750 and was rebuilt in 2008 using the original beams, 25000 kg of clay and 5000 liters of horse urine.
The small river Dommel starts in Belgium and debouches after 120 km into another river in Den Bosch. Note the widening of the stream at several places. These “mill ponds” indicate the locations of the 32 mills that once operated along the Dommel. Kayaking is a popular activity in summer, providing an alternative way to admire the natural landscape of the river basin.
Back in Liempde, you’ll notice an elevated terrain with a large wooden cross. At this location once stood the St. Jans chapel. The chapel was the first house of prayer in Liempde. It was alternately used by catholic and protestant believers until it fell into disrepair. The chapel was demolished in 1827. The brick stones on the ground show the former dimensions of the building.
From there stroll back into town and wrap up your day with a coffee or tea at one of Liempde’s cafes!
- Costs: FREE
- Address: Nieuwstraat, Liempde (51.571689, 5.370114). Take bus 203/204 from railway station Boxtel. Plan your trip at 9292.nl/en.
- More info: Highlights of the hike (in Dutch)
- Bring: your (walking) boots or wooden shoes 🙂
- Wikiloc: Wooden shoes in a rural scenery (including directions in English)
- Note: the route is partially unpaved and can be soggy in winter. The wooden shoe factory in Liempde organizes tours on demand (1 hour, €70 for groups up to 25). More information: (+31)(0)411 632 598 or www.klompenfabriekadtraa.nl.