Walking in historic Plantloon

| Samantha Pellis

a well-kept secret

Welcome to the Plantloon Estate, perhaps the best kept secret in the municipality of Loon op Zand. This natural cultural landscape is located north of De Loonse en Drunense Duinen. History is an important part of nature here.

Heemkundekring De Ketsheuvel, together with Natuurmonumenten, has set up a special walking route of about 5 kilometers that leads you along special places. You can easily combine this walking route with a visit to De Loonse en Drunense Duinen.Landgoed Plantloon is a place where cultural history and nature go hand in hand. The estate consists of a varied landscape with cultural-historical patterns and elements from different time layers.

The hiking trail starts at the historic border between Waalwijk and Loon op Zand, the Galgenwiel. This sounds sinister, and this place used to be. Here once stood a gallows where criminals were executed. There is a special story connected to this gallows that you can read on the information panels that are there.

Over a plank bridge, we walk into Plantloon Estate. It is immediately apparent that this is not just any forest area. The trails are long and extensive and the avenues are flanked by stately deciduous trees neatly spaced. Another relic of its extraordinary past. The landscape was once laid out as a production estate around Plantloon farmstead. Wood production became an important source of income. This is how the estate as we know it today took its shape in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Meadows and patches of forest alternate as we continue walking toward the Achterste Hoeve. There are still some old farms here. Even now farmers still occupy the estate and farming is small-scale and ecological. In the landscape you walk over raised roads and small dikes. These served as a "dry feet path," in the days when floods from the Meuse were common.

We walk on toward the old peat canal. At first glance it looks like a wide, shallow ditch. The peat canal was dug at the end of the fourteenth century by order of the lord of Venloon (later Loon op Zand) to transport peat in the direction of 's-Hertogenbosch, Holland and Gelderland. The canal is now only visible in Plantloon but once ran from 's Gravenmoer to 's-Hertogenbosch. A little further on you can see, hidden among the greenery, Villa Plantloon.

You can also encounter a six-meter-high mountain just like that. The old shooting range and also the bullet catcher of the Waalwijk Civil Guard were recently restored to its former glory. At exactly one hundred meters from the bullet catcher is another hexagonal stone. The official hundred-meter point of the shooting range perhaps?

Heemkundekring De Ketsheuvel compiled a route booklet with special stories about the past, which can be ordered from De Ketsheuvel's website.

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There is plenty to see and experience in De Langstraat. Read about it in our inspiration magazine.

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