Walk from Parnassia to Koevlak
Walk through one of the most beautiful nature reserves in the Netherlands. Enjoy the young limestone dunes and the beautiful inner dune forests. Here the small Parnassia plant blooms in the wet dune valleys and the rare plants Eyebright and Centaury. The dunes are wet because they stopped water extraction in 2002.
Difficulty: Intermediate walkLength: 9 kilometers
Duration: 2.5 hours
Marking: follow blue posts.
Starting point: Entrance at the head of the Zeeweg in Bloemendaal aan Zee. From Zandvoort near Bloemendaal by the sea after the parking lot turn left and through the dunes to Paviljoen Parnassia.
From Bloemendaal follow the sea road until Bloemendaal aan Zee and then turn right before the parking lot. Then follow the road to the parking lot for 1.5 km.
Entrance Koevlak at visitor center, located along the sea route between Overveen and the Bloemendaal beach.
Public transport: Bus 81 From Zandvoort or Haarlem station. Get off at stop Bloemendaal beach. (Now walk towards pavilion Parnassia)
Entrance Koevlak: Bus line 81. Get off at Kennemerduinen
Catering: Pavilion Parnassia at the parking lot and at visitors’ center Koevlak entrance.
Access: Free, paid parking. (Only pay with debit card possible)
To the south of the parking lot at the Parnassia pavilion is an information panel. We follow the blue poles at the beginning of the walk. First we follow the bike path a bit. On the left is the playground Hazenwei. We are now about a feather grid. We can meet Scottish Highlanders, Koniks horses and Shetland ponies here. The animals are not dangerous if you keep a distance. Do not pet or feed! We going left reach the Vogelmeer. This lake is the domain of the (breeding) birds. We now head for Koevlak and pass another viewpoint along the way. We also pass a war memorial. 92 Resistance fighters lay here, who were found in May 1945. At the Koevlak, about 1000 years ago huge amounts of sand from the sea and the beach landed in the country. The sand piled up and spread westward until the sea front was reached. We call this landscape the young dunes. We now head for Koevlak. Here is the visitor center, where there is an interesting exhibition about the dune landscape and everything that lives there. We go back past the lake ‘t Wed. Here you can swim. We walk along the banks of the lake and at a certain moment we turn right to the viewpoint ‘De Konijnenberg’. We now continue and arrive at a bird-viewing point at the Spartelmeer. Here we follow the bike path and arrive at the parking lot.
The vegetation that you will encounter in this area is largely the result of planting in the first half of the last century. They wanted to keep the dune sands from drifting away, for the benefit of agriculture. The dunes have grown thick with marram grass, pine forests on the dune tops and shrubs such as buckthorn, hawthorn, cardinal smelling and creeping willow. This is countered by the use of large grazers such as Scottish Highlanders (cows) who eat away the grasses and shrubs and with their hooves the bottom open.On this way there is room for a more varied vegetation. In recent years more flowers, herbs and mosses have appeared in the dune valleys than before.