Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Hike 12 - Rhoonse Grienden

In preparation for my hike in The Peak District (soon, soon!!) my friend Jo and I took ourselves to a typical Delta landscape yesterday: the Rhoonse Grienden.


Not only the landscape was typically Wetlands Style, so was the weather... It rained continuously.
But never mind, we always tell ourselves we will not melt. 


The Rhoonse Grienden are a tidal landscape just off the River Oude Maas, in the South-Holland province of The Netherlands. In fact Rhoon is a suburb of Rotterdam these days, but it used to be a sleepy village on the Oude Maas, and when you hike there it is very easy to forget the humongeous city on its doorstep. We passed one dog walker and one cyclist.

The Rhoonse Grienden used to be a working landscape grown for its willow branches which were then made into lobster and eel pots and willow baskets. My great-grandfather was a willow basket weaver and dirt-poor, with 16 children who had no shoes on their feet and 16 underpants between them, according to my Mum. 
Nowadays it is put aside and conserved for "nature" and is very proud of the fact that it has 4 legitimate brown beavers living there. It were those beavers that Jo and I hoped to spot yesterday.

I have been on the lookout for beavers for thirty years in the few areas that claim them, but so far I have never seen one in the wild (mind you, I didn't see one in Algonquin Park Canada either). Yesterday was no exception...alas. But I did find a beaver castle! Can you make it out?


It was low tide, so lots of mud, which made it easy to spot all kinds of tracks.


As you can see us Dutch hikers are not daunted by a spot of rain. Which is a good thing, since my favorite weather woman Helga van Leur posted new statistics proving that climate change will get us even more rain in the years to come.

The Rhoonse Grienden have several hikes mapped out; the longest will take approx. 2 hours. They are very easy to follow, simply walk from number to number and follow the red arrows. We did a 1 hour one.


Mind you, when you are allergic to the color green, give this one a miss!


Will you just look at this willow (and me)! Isn't it smashing? Who needs Greek olive trees? We've got beautiful characters right on our doorstep.

Right, the nitty-gritty:
Rhoon is to the South of Rotterdam, signposted, and to find the Grienden simply follow the signs saying Oude Maas. You can park your car right at the entrance (opposite a great restaurant/golf club called Abel).
We walked 8.012 steps which comes down to approx. 12 very wet km.
It rained, 19 degrees C, wind sw 32 km/h.
When you want a more classy expensive meal, Rhoon boasts a restaurant in a stately home called Het Kasteel van Rhoon.

Next post will be about my 6 days hike in the Peak District, so keep your eyes peeled!
Join me next time?