Hiking across the Utrechtse Heuvelrug

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  Railway Walk Utrechtse Heuvelrug
 

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  Distance of this hike 14 km (9 miles)
  What kind of hike is this? Railway walk
  Where does the walk start? Station: Driebergen-Zeist
  What is the rating of this walk? Rating: 80/100
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Great walk for hikers who love forest. But besides beautiful mixed forest with stately beech avenues you also find on your path heath and dunes. Nice and quiet on weekdays, on Sundays it can be pretty busy here. Halfway through, you can just relax on a terrace in the small forest village of Austerlitz.

Autumn: most beautiful

In the autumn, the woods here at their best. The leaves are changing, mushrooms curious stabbing their heads above the ground. And then that glorious autumn scents that make you long for a fireplace, candlelight and a glass of red wine.

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Railway Walk Utrechtse Heuvelrug

Estate Heidestein

After a great walk through dense forests, the landscape opens up. Along a wonderful path you walk across the vast heathland of Estate Heidestein.

Crystal clear streams, mysterious lake

Especially when the heather blooms, this part is very pleasing to the eyes. But also in other seasons this area is worth while. With crystal clear streams, wooden bridges and a mysterious lake, the open landscape stands out beautifully against the dense forests on the horizon.

Heath sheep

Estate Heidestein was build around 1906 in a treeless moorland. To prevent overgrow of heather moorland sheep flock grazes the area. In Heidestein a large population of sand lizards resides.

Estate Bornia 

After Heidestein you walk over another estate: Bornia, with beautiful woods and dunes, where you have to slog. Bornia is an old Frisian word that means borderland. That fits, because the estate is on the border of the municipalities of Driebergen and Zeist.

Utrechtse Heuvelrug: a pristine wooded ridge

You walk across one of the most unspoilt dunes of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. Realize that thousands of years ago, people from the ice age walked here before you, as shown by excavations where the remains of ancient settlements and tumulus have been found.

Coach ‘The Bornia’

And note in the forest the weathered, old tiny platforms. These are remnants of the narrow gauge railway between the sand pit on Heidestein and a limestone factory nearby.

Austerlitz: small village

The small village of Austerlitz isn’t quite idyllic, I’m afraid. Yet Austerlitz has one big advantage: there is a café with a nice shaded terrace. And the village is beautifully situated amidst the forests of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. The Old Post Road you walk along, is one of the roads that arose in the 16th century in the Netherlands. This postal route was the connection between Amsterdam and Arnhem.

Pyramid of Austerlitz

Austerlitz is named after the famous 'Pyramid', a tribute to Napoleon Bonaparte. The pyramid is 36 meters high, built in 1804 by Napoleon's soldiers on one of the highest points of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. On top of the pyramid stands a stone obelisk. This monument attracts a lot of tourists.

Tea dome of Stoop

At about three-quarters of the walk you will pass a striking and cute building. It is the tea dome of Stoop, named after the Amsterdam banker JB Stoop who built the dome in 1840. The pillars of this building are from the former Koopmansbeurs (a stock market) in Amsterdam, which was demolished in 1836. The dome was formerly appointed as teahouse. Now it’s a gallery of a Dutch artist.

Five beautiful walks

This is one of the walks in a series of five beautiful walks from railway station to railway station. Want to see more?

Tags: Netherlands, railway walks, heathland, dunes, woods, Utrecht

Written by Frank van der Meer.