Location 1: Zoomweg – Introduction

Welcome to the Zoomweg!

Please park your bike away from the road and after, you can start reading about this forest!

First have a look at these maps, one is from 1883 (lower map) and one is from 2020 (upper map), the red dot is where you parked your bike (these maps can be found on topotijdreis.nl).

The two sides of the road you just came from, are looking quite different. On the side, there is a cornfield growing on a rich soil (enkeerdgrond). This is a brown coloured soil, rich in nutrients. These soils were created by the deep litter method (potstalstysteem) in the last 500 years, where the soil was fertilised with manure. The deep litter is created in a stable where the animals excrete manure on soil taken from the upper layer of nearby forests or heather fields. A layer of manure grows in the stable and once in a while the stable is emptied and this rich manure with the forest/heather soil is applied on the agricultural fields. Over hundreds of years this process made some of the agricultural lands in the Netherlands rise more than one meter due to the application of manure and soil over and over!

On the other side, the forest starts. The first part consists of an old oak coppice system (eikenhakhout). You can see a strip of green aligning the Zoomweg in the 1883 map, this is the coppice part! Coppice is a traditional wood management method where the young stems are repeatedly cut down to near ground level. Behind this coppice, there used to be heather fields, as indicated by the white with purple coloured part on the 1883 map. These coppice trees were there to function as a kind of barrier between the fields and the heather. You can mostly recognise the coppice as trees that have multiple stems coming from one point (see picture below).

Be aware that you should spend around 45 minutes at each location, if you have time left, you can go the point with a star ⭐️, here is a bonus question.

Hope you enjoy this part of the forest!