Come for a walk or a bike ride in a typically Dutch landscape, with flowery meadows, ditches and willow trees within a stone’s throw of the city of Utrecht. The country’s ‘green heart’ at its best. The Haarzuilens Estate is a stunning natural area that is the perfect place for a day out, with or without children.
Historical avenues and paths on the estate
The Society for the Preservation of Nature in the Netherlands manages the estate of De Haar Castle in Haarzuilens. The Haarzuilens Estate is more than 600 years old, but the history of this natural area goes back much further than that. People have been living in the Wielrevelt – a stunning part of the estate – since the Iron Age (200 BC). Here you will also find medieval avenues such as Joostenlaan and Eikslaan. The Haarpad is an old church path running between the castle church and the village of Vleuten.
Old farmland in the Wielrevelt
The small pastures have been planted with the crops that used to grow there originally, such as rye, oats, flax and alfalfa. But not everything is harvested. Rodents and birds are also allowed to enjoy the crops. Archaeological finds have been made in the acres of the Wielrevelt. Walk the Historical Path to discover the history of the Haarzuilens Estate. This path is also accessible for people with mobility issues.
In a lower part of the Haarzuilens Estate, you will find wet peatland meadows with pastures full of flowers and ditches. The banks of these ditches are lined with pink-purple ragged-robin and yellow kingcups. Forget-me-nots, cuckooflowers and knotted ash also like to get their feet wet. The water is home to green frogs and natterjack toads. In the spring, hares can be seen zigzagging across the fields at full speed.
De Boswachter orchard
The De Boswachter (‘The Forester’) orchard used to provide the fruit for the residents of De Haar Castle. Nowadays the orchard of the Haarzuilens Estate is open to the public as a place to picnic and pick fruit. Or you can follow the ‘fruit route’ with your children!
Going for a walk in Klein Limburg
In the meadows of Klein Limburg (‘Little Limburg’), you can see Blonde d’Aquitaine cows grazing. Here you can venture off the beaten track – literally – pick flowers and enjoy a picnic. There is also a 3.5-kilometre marked trail that takes you through this lovely part of the Haarzuilens estate.
The 17th-century duck decoy consists of a pond surrounded by typical coppice woodland with old pollarded trees. This is where ducks used to be captured for consumption. Volunteers have fully restored the decoy, which can be visited accompanied by the forester.