Published on June 30th, 2019 | by James Drew0
‘Cycling through the Trees’ opens in Limburg
The upcoming start of the world-famous Tour de France in Brussels may be understandably grabbing the headlines at present but it’s not the only cycling landmark in Belgium this summer, writes Martin Banks.
What is thought to be Europe’s first-ever “cycling through the trees” experience has just opened in Limburg.
The world-renowned ‘Cycling through Water’ in Bokrijk now has a big brother – ‘Cycling through the Trees’, a brand new cycling and walking experience at a height of 10 metres through the treetops in Bosland.
You can find the new cycling and walking path on the cycle route network near cycling junction 272 in Bosland, Hechtel-Eksel.
It offers a great chance to pull on your walking boots or jump on your bike and become one with nature through this unusual 360° experience.
‘Cycling through the Trees’ is literally and figuratively driving the Limburg cycle route network to a higher level. The new cycle path climbs gradually so that you can cycle through the treetops.
You ride 700 metres along a cycle bridge – a double circle 100 metres in diameter – that slowly rises to a height of 10 metres before then descending again, giving the rider a sensational 360° experience.
Safety is ensured thanks to a subtle wire net with a handrail, and the path’s three metre width gives everyone enough room. It makes ‘Cycling through the Trees’ an accessible experience for everyone.
Cycling through the Trees’ is a project by Visit Limburg with financial support from LSM, the municipality of Hechtel-Eksel, VISITFLANDERS and the province of Limburg, and developed in close co-operation with Bosland and the Agency for Nature and Forests.
It is the second project in a series of innovative experiences enabling cyclists to enjoy the splendour of nature along the Limburg cycle route network in a unique way. ‘Cycling through Water’ was opened in 2016 and a 3rd initiative, ‘Cycling through the Heathland’ in the Hoge Kempen National Park is due to open next year. By adding these extra experiences, Visit Limburg hopes to build the cycle network of the future, ensuring that this “cycling paradise” stays number one in cycling tourism for many years to come.
The cycling experiences go hand in hand with nature.
‘Cycling through the Trees’ is a logical link in Bosland’s ‘Cycle of Life’. The forest largely consists of coniferous trees, planted at the beginning of the last century to produce wood for the mining industry. The closure of the mines meant the trees were never felled, but as they are all the same age, they still restrict the structural development of the forest.
‘Cycling through the Trees’ will now help to alleviate that situation. The work means that indigenous trees will have more light and space to grow, thereby ensuring that the forest resources are balanced. The new cycle bridge sits on a structure of unique columns made of weathered steel that symbolizes the trunks of the fir trees, so the entire structure blends beautifully into its environment.
At the start of the path, you can even take a break in the information pavilion, made from stacked recycled logs.
The cycling and walking path is near cycling junction 272 at the Pijnven in Bosland (Hechtel-Eksel). Bosland is the largest adventure forest in Flanders. This huge 5,137-hectare natural heartland of Northern Limburg extends across the municipalities of Hechtel-Eksel and Pelt and the towns of Lommel and Peer.