6. Defragmentation in the Dutch-German Heidenaturpark
When you think of the Netherlands, you think of bicycles. We would like to invite you to experience the defragmented area of the Dutch-German 'Heidenaturpark', partly by bike and partly on foot.
In the cross-border region of the Province of Limburg (NL) and Kreis Heinsberg (DE), Dutch and German nature reserves form the Heidenaturpark. This site contains heathlands, expansive sand drifts, forests, fen pools, swamps and lakes. The Dutch part used to be fragmented by a regional road. The most recent overhaul of this road resulted in a 26 km four-lane fully-fledged freeway: ‘Buitenring Parkstad Limburg’. To mitigate and compensate the effects of the new highway, more than 100 wildlife passages have been created. During the construction of the road, tens of thousands of animals and plants were transported to give them a new habitat in several parts of the 170 hectares of compensatory areas.
We will start our field trip with a short movie, which will provide you with a bird's-eye view of the new highway. Next, you will encounter the embedding of the road in the landscape during a bus tour to the Heidenaturpark. Along the border of the Natura 2000 site ‘Teverener Heide’, we will walk 3 km towards the Natura 2000 site ‘Brunssummerheide’. While enjoying the heathland, we will approach the new highway and visit a green bridge and some smaller wildlife passages. After lunch, we will continue our field trip with a cycling tour along the highway and across the Brunssummerheide towards the creek ‘Rode Beek’. We will pause here at a stream valley restoration project for which a huge spoil tip has been partially removed. We continue our cycling tour along some nature compensatory areas. Finally, the bus will bring us to a highway section where a river underpass was improved during the construction of the new highway. The field trip as a whole will allow you to experience how a road project catalyses green and blue infrastructure projects within a cross-border region.
Time of departure: 8:15
Time of return: 17:30
Duration: 9:15 h
Transportation by: bus, foot, bicycle
Key words: Natura 2000, green bridge, wildlife underpass, nitrogen fence
Organization: Province Limburg, in collaboration with Kreis Heinsberg, Waterboard Limburg
and the Dutch Society for Nature Conservation (Natuurmonumenten).