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The medieval discovery route

17 February 2022 - Kim Tol

The medieval discovery route

Sounds like a route that takes you back to the past and immediately arouses your curiosity. At least mine was. On a beautiful Sunday in February, I went out with my boyfriend, in search of the medieval discovery route. With the GPX route of recreation board Twiske-Waterland in our pocket, we started looking for the numerous traces from the past in the polder of the Zeevang. The route is thirteen kilometers but can be expanded if you want but of course also shortened. With this walking route you will get a good impression of the Zeevang in 1 afternoon.

History Zeevang polder

What immediately stands out is the square, wooden water tower of Kwadijk from 1925. Throughout the route, this is the striking landmark in the landscape. So, you cannot get lost. Furthermore, along the route you will encounter peat rivers, winding dikes and small villages that tell the story of the past of the Zeevang polder. The route starts at the church of Kwadijk. The view here is already as Dutch as it can be and the only sound you hear comes from geese flying overhead. Farms on the horizon, church towers in the distance and the flat landscape have always been the main lines of the landscape.

In the middle of the polder, we stop for a moment and my friend reads a story about the extraction of the meter-thick raised bog. This took place in the tenth century. The long, straight ditches that were dug can still be seen today. Because the peat dried up, the sea level rose, and diking was necessary. I always find it remarkably interesting to hear and know that some of the created natural pieces were conceived and executed so long ago, have still remained as they were then.

Ribbon development in the village Hobrede

The route continues via the Middeleeuwse Hobrede dike to Hobrede. Halfway through the walk comes the most adventurous part of the medieval path. Via a step you climb over the wooden dam fence, and you end up in a meadow. After a few hundred meters you will arrive at the Dutch equivalent of a narrow mountain ridge or a bridge over a flowing river, called the tow ferry. This ferry runs over the peat river the pointing. Watch out and keep balance otherwise you will end up in the water.

Did you know that this late medieval ribbon village was actually called Dreyerhobreden? The word "drey" refers to a bend in a stream of water. Interesting to know is that in the ground along the Oud-Raeffeldamweg habitation remains of this village have been found. The village was already abandoned in the fourteenth century. That is how long those remains had been in the ground to be found centuries later.

Flora and fauna

Today, the flora and fauna still show that livestock farming in this area has been extensive for centuries. The polder landscape is still very important for meadow birds. The godwit feels completely at home here, but geese, wigeons, golden plover and swans can also be found here. Sometimes and you will probably hear that, it is a twittering of the highest order in this environment. Please note! In the breeding season from 15 March to 15 June, the unpaved path between Middelie and Hobrede is closed, and the self-service ferry is taken out of service. It is therefore not possible to walk this route during that period.

One thing I do know for sure, this medieval track path route makes every person incredibly quiet as the surroundings radiate peace and quiet. The people in the villages along the way are genuinely nice and are happy to tell you more about the area and know exactly where you can stop to enjoy a nice cup of coffee with cake. We plopped down on the terrace of the wapen of Middelie. This hotel and restaurant have an extensive menu from oriental prawns to a delicious piece of cheesecake. There is also a special children's menu for children. If you are going to walk this route with children, request the scavenger hunt at the start point. The children go in search of traces from the past and you can enjoy nature. Tired but satisfied from this brisk walk we returned home, already looking for the next walking route in the area.