I truly believe the Veluwezoom National Park in Gelderland is a national treasure. The oldest national park in the Netherlands is a precious little pocket of northern European nature. It survives in the midst of densely-populated cities and suburban labyrinths. The landscape was largely shaped during glacial times, and has since grown into a luscious haven full of vibrant forms of life. As the sunny season ended, my friends and I decided to cross the purple meadows and immerse ourselves in the last bits of bright green foliage. Summer’s epilogue had begun.
Chasing dragonflies in the shadowy forest
One of the best hiking trails in Veluwezoom National Park, also one of the most magical routes in the entire country, is a wonderful path that leads you right through the shadowy forest. As you follow the flight of the hundreds of dragonflies by the fallen trees, you will stumble across hidden mushrooms and mysterious ponds. The dark water is sheltered from the world by a green layer of growth, and who knows what’s hiding below.
After a little while, the trees slowly disperse and give way to open fields where shaggy beasts graze their share of shrubbery and juicy grass. Their silky red fur shines in the weakening sunshine, still so warm when it hits our skin. We stop to admire the Scottish Highlanders and try to lure one of the adorable calves in our direction. Warily, it decides to hide its face behind a tree, although the rest of its body is still clearly visible.
The path leads us right through the shadowy forest, where I chase the zooming dragonflies. We cross the purple meadows and immerse ourselves in the last bits of bright green foliage. Summer’s epilogue had begun.
Crossing the Purple Meadows
Late August and Early September are enchanting times to visit the slightly hilly meadows of Veluwezoom National Park. Late summer is always the time for the purple heathland to show its true colours. The ‘Posbank‘ is an extraordinarily beautiful area of interconnected meadows, speckled with trees and stubborn shrubs.
The open landscape transforms into a patchwork of purples and greens for only about three to four weeks. If you’re lucky you might even spot a few wild horses in the distance, somewhere near the edges of the forest. Keep your eyes open, and you might see families having picnics, shepherds herding their sheep, and the nearly unnoticeable ears of skittish deer.
Follow in our Footsteps: Practical Information
Do you feel tempted to follow in our footsteps? I think you probably should, maybe as soon as this autumn season, or perhaps next summer. Just so you know; the best time to plan your hike in Veluwezoom National Park is somewhere between mid-August and mid-September.
You can start the hike from the train station in Dieren and end it in Rheden or Velp (or the other way around). I do recommend you actually start following the route (follow the red and white stickers) from Dieren. This way you will first hike through the forest and later arrive at the Posbank as the purple cherry on top.
The hike shouldn’t take you more than three to five hours, depending on your pace, level of fitness, and proneness to being distracted by dragonflies. Do you have any additional questions? Do ask them in the comment section below. I don’t bite!