In an attempt to keep both me and my dog sane I try to take as many ‘real’ walks as possible. Unfortunately, a full Day Hike is not always realistic, but over the last two years we’ve discovered some hidden gems in our neighborhood. Today we did one of our all-time favorite routes in the ‘Broekelei’.
The Broekelei is a small and quiet nature reserve near Keerbergen, only a few kilometers outside Mechelen. It is managed by Natuurpunt, thanks to their efforts you can walk through the marshes and keep your feet more or less dry. Still, waterproof shoes are a good idea.
You can park your car at the recycling center. There are three parking spaces near the glass bins, that might not sound like a lot but we’ve never arrived to a full parking lot.
You start off on a beautiful path that takes you through the marshes. After only a few meters you will see the first pond on your right hand side, a bit further down the road you’ll see a second one. This time on your left hand side. The second pond has a wooden wall with peep holes to do some bird watching. Between these two ponds you have a fair chance to see a heron. If you are really lucky you might even see a kingfisher. If, like us, you’re not that lucky, at least you’ll spot some ducks and geese. This part is Roxy’s favorite, she loves puddles and will run from one side of the path to the other to wade through all of them.
After the marshes you’ll walk through a bit of woodland to a meadow with galloway cattle, another Roxy favorite. What is better than wet grass, mud and cows?!
The meadow will lead you to a second bit of woodland, through a farmer’s field and further on to the dike bordering the Dijle. You’ll get some great views of the fields before heading back into the woods for the last stretch. Keep your eyes open for deer in the fields, especially at dusk or dawn. Right before you get on the road back to your car you’ll see an old bunker, now used as a bat cave.
- Start: Broekelei, 3140 Keerbergen
- Distance: 4 km
- Dog: allowed (on leash)
- Tip: wear waterproof shoes
- More information: Natuurpunt