Nature

Beerschoten estate: sand dunes and forest

Walking near Utrecht: Beerschoten estate, Panbos trail | Your Dutch Guide

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.

Walking near Utrecht: Beerschoten estate, Panbos trail | Your Dutch Guide

Walking near Utrecht: Beerschoten estate, Panbos trail | Your Dutch Guide

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.

Walking near Utrecht: Beerschoten estate, Panbos trail | Your Dutch Guide

Walking near Utrecht: Beerschoten estate, Panbos trail | Your Dutch Guide

Walking near Utrecht: Beerschoten estate, Panbos trail | Your Dutch Guide

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.

Walking near Utrecht: Beerschoten estate, Panbos trail | Your Dutch Guide

Walking near Utrecht: Beerschoten estate, Panbos trail | Your Dutch Guide

Walking near Utrecht: Beerschoten estate, Panbos trail | Your Dutch Guide

Walking near Utrecht: Beerschoten estate, Panbos trail | Your Dutch Guide

Walking near Utrecht: Beerschoten estate, Panbos trail | Your Dutch Guide

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?

21 Comments

  • Reply
    Kyle Studstill
    August 3, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    I had no idea about those dunes, I’ve never seen that combination of woodlands and sand!

    • Reply
      Esther
      August 3, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      There’s another inland dune area in The Netherlands, which is even more spectacular. I hope to visit that next year. Thank you for stopping by Kyle.

  • Reply
    budget jan
    August 3, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    I was so surprised by the sand and “walking” trees. Thanks for introducing yourself and your blog.

  • Reply
    Johlene Orton
    August 5, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    This is so interesting! Here in Gran Canaria where I live we have sand dunes but they are next to the beach, not in the middle of a forest!

  • Reply
    Lydia C. Lee
    August 9, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    Those tree roots are crazy! How does it not fall over?

    • Reply
      Esther
      August 10, 2017 at 10:52 am

      I know right Lydia! They look like they walk off at night to have a beer at the nearby pub 😉

  • Reply
    Marcella
    August 10, 2017 at 12:48 am

    How gorgeous, I love the sound of this trail! What a lovely forest, and as ever I just love your close up shots – especially those of the berries! 🙂

  • Reply
    Tara
    August 10, 2017 at 11:09 am

    It looks stunning, perfect for a Sunday afternoon ramble. Shame the blackberries weren’t quite ripe enough to eat.

  • Reply
    Jules
    August 10, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Looks like a nice rural area to leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind you

  • Reply
    Clare
    August 10, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, Esther. I always have to head out to the countryside to clear my head. Fortunately where I live, we’re surrounded by fields and woods so I end up escaping to a city for a change of scene! Your woodland walk sounds wonderful and even better to find sand dunes too.

  • Reply
    Donna
    August 12, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Beerschoten estate looks like a wonderful place to get out of the city for a while and walk in nature. Sand dunes surrounded by forest sound both spectacular and a little bit eerie.

  • Reply
    Michelle
    August 13, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Wild blackberries!! <3 <3 LOVE them. When I lived in rural Ecuador we used to pick and eat them without a second thought, but then a guy from England mentioned that he would never do it back home because of dog poop and whatnot. Can those blackberries be eaten?

    • Reply
      Esther
      August 13, 2017 at 10:45 am

      That’s the best part about wild blackberries. To take them home and eat them! I love picking blackberries when they’re ripe, though I always take them home to rinse them off (to rinse out little bugs and such), they are the best! Thank you for stopping by Michelle.

  • Reply
    Anda
    August 14, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    I agree with you, Esther. I find a lot of inspiration for writing when I travel in the beautiful nature around my hometown. We have wild blackberries in the mountains around Los Angeles also, but we don’t have so green and lush vegetation like you do.

  • Reply
    Katy
    August 15, 2017 at 10:15 am

    What a pretty spot Esther. I would love to walk along those paths picking blackberries and spotting squirrels.

  • Reply
    Catherine (Cultural Wednesday)
    August 15, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Squirrels and blackberries what could be finer?

    • Reply
      Esther
      August 15, 2017 at 9:22 pm

      I didn’t spot any squirrels, unfortunately. But they were there no doubt, along with owls and other pretty birds. Thank you for stopping by!

  • Reply
    Lolo
    August 16, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Oh what a lovely trail and a great place to escape from the city!

  • Reply
    Erin Gustafson
    August 16, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Wild blackberries! Reminds me of my Oregon on the West Coast of the U.S.! I also need a respite in nature to keep my creativity up – thanks for sharing a bit more about you! Nice to know! Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

  • Reply
    Kana
    August 23, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Yay for blackberries! I spent a lot of my childhood in Washington State and we had tons of blackberries in our backyard. I never knew why anybody would consider it a nuisance up there, I was like “FREE BERRIES!” hahaha! Looks like a beautiful place to immerse in nature!

  • Reply
    Janine Good
    August 23, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    This forest is so lush and beautiful. I love the fresh blackberries and the clean air that is clearly around you. I would love to explore this area someday.

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