Just a stone’s throw away from Utrecht: the Beerschoten estate. A small nature reserve that’s just perfect for a walk on a quiet afternoon. Ancient groups of trees host squirrels, martens and bats. And after following the small shaded, winding paths, you’re in for quite the surprise: large sand dunes, in the middle of the forest.
It took me a while to realise that I have been writing here for a couple of months now, without really telling you guys a thing about myself. You’ve probably figured out by now that I’m a city girl, with a knack for (street) art, long lunches and good food. But there hasn’t been a proper introduction, has there?
As you have maybe read on my about page, I am a freelance journalist and online writer. I write for (online) magazines and 7 years ago I started blogging in Dutch on my website Mooistestedentrips.nl, an independent online platform about city breaks. Your Dutch Guide is my first independent English online adventure.
When I am not travelling for work, I try to visit workspaces for freelancers at least once a week. For that bit of human interaction and some networking. But to be honest, nothing beats sitting at our huge dining table with a cup of coffee, listing to my music (without anyone complaining my dubious taste) and typing the day away.
Walking near Utrecht: Beerschoten estate
But, as most of you know, creativity isn’t born behind a computer. That’s why I simply have to break free every now and then. Most of the time, I hop on my bike and cycle into town or visit my favourite village in the area, Maarssen. With the wind in my hair, simple frustrations are quickly forgotten and I can start anew when I get back. Two days ago, however, I decided to go for a walk instead of going for a bike ride. Beerschoten popped into my head, as my husband and I had passed it on one of our bike rides from Utrecht to Amersfoort. I remembered the interesting landscapes, but we didn’t stop long enough to take a proper look. That’s why I picked it for my morning walk.
Now, don’t expect Beerschoten to be a huge reserve or anything. These are The Netherlands, remember! Our nature is rationed. But good things sometimes come in small packages, or in this case: small estates. Beerschoten stretches out over 13 km² and contains forest, grasslands, meadows, some moors and dunes. 4 walks are set out on the estate. If you’re in for a brisk walk you can take the 12 km walking trail. But I figured the 3.5 km Panbos trail was enough to clear my head. The trails are all colour marked and easy to follow.
Walking the Panbos trail
The Panbos trail is marked with blue arrows and before I knew it, it felt like the city was at least light year away, while in reality, it was maybe about 7 kilometers away. Forests in The Netherlands are always prettiest in autumn, as we have that proper fall foliage. But I wasn’t too disappointed by the flowers and berries I saw along the way, happy bits of colour in between all that green.
But the best parts of Panbos are the big sand dunes that loom behind the trees. Panbos has three large sandy plains, which originated through erosion. The wind has blown away the sand from around the trees, leaving their roots completely exposed. Causing the illusion that some of the trees ‘walk’ on the plains. The dunes are surrounded by scots pines, making the dunes look even more dramatic.
How to get to Beerenschoten estate?
If you don’t have a car, take bus 52 from Utrecht Central Station to Amersfoort, getting off at stop De Dreef/ Panweg. From there it’s a 15 minute stroll to the edge of the estate. Take a look at my city guide Utrecht on what to see and do during your visit.
So tell me, what do you do to clear your head and get some inspiration?