De Plateaux-Hageven is a beautiful transboundary nature reserve, that partly lies in the Netherlands (de Plateaux) and partly in Belgium (Hageven), just under the town of Valkenswaard. Natuurmonumenten (the Dutch society for the preservation of nature, landscape and cultural history) and Natuurpunt (the Belgian equivalent) have worked closely together over the past years to extensively restore the nature in this area.
De Plateaux-Hageven is part of De Groote Heide, that consists of 18 nature reserves in the Netherlands and Belgium. I never really looked into these nature reserves. You often look towards far places and admire their beauty (from afar). But just stop one minute and look around you. You might notice the beauty of your own surroundings.
This area is just a 10 minute drive away from us. Unbelievably close by. There are different entrances and different routes that will suit walkers of all ages and abilities. The shortest routes are perfect for families with children and a few routes are suitable for wheel chairs and strollers.
A short stroll
We often take a last minute decision to go for a walk, often quite late in the day, so we take one of the short routes a lot (about 3 km). Which was again the case last weekend, when we got spoiled with perfect late summer weather. Sun, blue skies and 20°C. We just had to get out, even if it was just a short trip. Even daddy, who had come down with the flu, could enjoy the little walk in the sun.
Although it felt like summer, you could see everywhere that autumn definitely has made its appearance. We’ve seen a countless number of mushrooms. Leaves are changing colours. We’ve also heard a woodpecker, but unfortunately it stayed out of sight. In this reserve, it might even happen that you come face to face with a herd of Galloway cows. Too bad we didn’t see any this time.
We try to teach our children to respect animals and nature in general. It’s okay if they pick up a little stone or pine cone once in a while, but we teach them not to deliberately step on or kick against anything or pull something off plants. It’s very tempting for kids (and unfortunately adults as well) to kick or squash mushrooms. Sadly, we’ve seen many signs of that. It’s a shame not everyone is able (or willing) to show enough respect.
De Plateaux-Hageven is also famous for its population of dragonflies and the Spotted Darter in particular. Apparently, enthusiasts from far and wide are flocking to this place, hoping to spot this little creature. We did see a lot of dragonflies and were even able to take a close-up picture of one. No idea whether it was the Spotted Darter. But it was beautiful.
We’ve enjoyed ourselves
It was a relatively short walk, but we did enjoy ourselves, being in this beautiful setting, basking in the sun and having fun. I hope we’ll get more of such gorgeous days, to be able to head out and enjoy these beautiful surroundings, so near to our home.
Thank you for reading!