Crossing boundaries on foot in Western Zeeland-Flanders
In no time at all, you’ll have crossed the border in this land. Western Zeeland-Flanders is built up of old polders, beaches and historical towns and villages steeped in charm. The map ‘Footpaths without borders’ has all the information and walking hubs you need. Feel free to plot your own walk – it’s up to you, go for as long and as far as you please. Enjoy!
Polders of yore and land of culture
The Cadzand polders didn’t appear overnight, or so the land will clearly tell you. In Medieval times, the low dikes were spread around small polders, with the hawthorn to prove it. Later in the Middle Ages, dikes and polders grew in size. Knotted willows and poplars are a sign of those times. Work out the polder puzzle – along the path – if you really want to know how the polders came to pass and embrace the onetime island of Cadzand.
Battlefields and scars: State-Spanish Lines
War wounds are never far off, in this part of Zeeland. Aardenburg is Zeeland’s oldest town, dating back to a Roman settlement on this very spot. The Archaeological Museum has the remnants on display. Ramparts and arches in Aardenburg were part of the State-Spanish skirmishes. A fierce one, as battles go, the lines belonging to it are still clearly legible at Sluis and Retranchement – the latter is the site of State forts Orange and Nassau. Nearby IJzendijke is home to the ‘Het Bolwerk’ Museum. Find out all you could possibly need to know about fortification through the ages in Zeeland-Flanders.
Zwin, and some beaches
The wide beaches of Western Zeeland-Flanders are perfect for Westerschelde-watching, Let the wind blow away the cobwebs in your brain, or have a quick dip in the inviting waters, mid-way on your walk. The nature reserve ‘Het Zwin’ is on the coast, on the Belgian border. A former inlet, going inland, now silted up, though it is ever at the sea’s mercy. The land is nothing if not dynamic, here, with each walk different from the last. Beaches, dunes and salt marshes are never, ever, the same twice. This network of walks, through Zwin, passes through Zeeuws and Flemish land. Learn all about the are in the visitors centre.
A shark’s bark is worse than its teeth?
The tumultuous tides of the Zwin mean there are new layers of sand appearing all the time. New sets of sharks teeth, fossilised ones, keep coming up, too. These beaches are a veritable smorgasbord of them. Head for the lighthouse at Nieuwvliet, for the very best spot to find some.
Sluis and its vibrant spirit
Zeeland-Flanders is famed for its foody, boozy vibe. The locals are all about joie de vivre, on their plates, in their glasses. Go to Sluis, to round off a day of walks. You’ll be spoilt for choice, restaurant-wise, and sunny terraces are everywhere, too.
Rules of entry
Some routes traverse private property, we’re the guests here. The following rules apply:
- Entry permitted only between sunrise and sunset
- Enter at your own risk
- Dogs, horses, bicycles and motorbikes are not permitted, unless expressly stated otherwise
- Keep a sensible distance from all livestock
- The path is closed on 1st January (Happy New Year!)
- The path may be closed temporarily at other times
- Leave no trace
- Failure to comply with these rules will see your permission suspended (under Article 461 Criminal Code)