Walking from the Zeereep to the inner dune edge and back again

Walking from the Zeereep to the inner dune edge and back again

The Kennemer dunes are very rich in natural beauty and are part of the European Natura 2000 network. There are many surprising vistas, quiet dune lakes, humid lows, dusty dunes, impenetrable thickets, erratic shaped coniferous and deciduous trees.

Difficulty: Intermediate walk

Length: 13.5 kilometers

Duration: 3.5 hours

Marking: follow red 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 to Bleek and Berg, along the Bergweg, between Santpoort-Zuid and Bloemendaal

Public transport: Bus 81 From Zandvoort or Haarlem station. Get off at stop Bloemendaal beach. (Now walk towards pavilion Parnassia)

Entrance to Bleek and Berg is accessible by car or bicycle.

Catering: Pavilion Parnassia at the parking lot

Access: Free, paid parking. (Only pay with debit card possible)

Directions:

At the parking lot we walk past the pavilion Parnassia north along the bike path. We arrive at a beach exit, but shortly before we turn right. We now walk through a hilly and open dune area. Soon we are on an earth monument: De Bruid van Haarlem (The Bride of Haarlem). It is a sand back in half moon shape. To awaken the Bride back to life, the dune has been covered to the sand. That means that all plants, roots and black soil has been excavated. Meanwhile, there are already real wet dune valley plants such as eyebright, centaury and dune are growing here. Via the playground Snoekebos we go towards the entrance to Bleek and Berg.

The route then continues to the Oosterplas, an idyllic dune lake that is very popular for its tranquility and beautiful scenery. We can also swim or bathe (at your own risk!). Via the higher path around the lake we walk into the dune and to the viewpoint the Starreberg. From here we have a beautiful panoramic view over the dunes. The transitions of the inner dune edge in the east, the dune struts in the middle and the Zeereep (dyke of sand) in the west are clearly visible from this point.

We follow the path further and pass the Vogelmeer where we can view many species of birds. Here we can shorten the walk by turning right at the lake and not walking along the lake. In the winter we see, among other things, the teal, wigeon, tufted duck and the pochard. And in the summer we might see grebes with youngsters, an egret or a kingfisher. Something from the route is an observation hut where you can always take a look. Via the boot path – marked with white poles – you can again walk a bit over the Bride of Haarlem. In case of high water, this road is closed and you have to walk through the bike path. Via the bike path we reach the parking lot. When we have started at Bleek and Berg, we go right behind the Parnassia pavilion and follow the cycle path northwards.

On the way we have to climb and descend a lot. The open dune train surprises us with many views. A hundred species of (migratory) birds breed. There are dune lizards, bats, roe deer, foxes, fallow deer.  It is easy to see that the dunes are increasingly covered with forest, how further away they are from the sea. Although man has had a considerable influence on the dune landscape, vegetation has developed here that has a high degree of naturalness. If you walk from the beach to the inner dune edge you can see the succession of vegetation that is characteristic of the natural succession in the dune.

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Roderick Burger
roderick.burger@gmail.com