Ossenwegstraat 70, Zoutleeuw, Belgium
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Het Vinne Zoutleeuw Reviews
Among the cane and birds Apr 13, 2009
Het Vinne is a small natural reserve based around a little lake in Zoutleeuw, a city located in the East of Belgium (Flemish part). It therefore makes an easy daytrip from cities like Leuven, Tienen, Diest and Hasselt, or even from Brussels or Genk.
For long time (from 1841), this beautiful strip of nature was kept dry for economical reasons, but since 2005 it is filled with water again, as the government recognized it's important value for fauna and flora. The area is best visited in spring (late April to mid-May) because the plains and skies are then swarmed with birds. All year round though, Het Vinne makes a peaceful getaway to enjoy some rest, take a little walk, have a pick-nick and enjoy the scenery.
The area is only 130hc big and the short walk goes around the swampy fresh water lake full of cane and birds and frogs. It will take you about an hour, or little longer if you walk very slow or sit down on one of the many benches around the walking paths. It is an easy trip to make with children as well, as it is not at all tiering. Don't bring a baby buggy here though, as for most of the time the paths run over the water, next to the shore. This means you'll walk over narrow and bending wooden trails, among the cane and birds.
I think Het Vinne is a nice example of the Flemish landscape, although it is quite different from most other natural reserves. The water and the cane give it a flair that I have never found any where els in my country, and yet it feels so Belgian still. It is extremely peaceful, no sounds but the birds and the frogs.
When the weather is nice though, better visit in the morning or at lunchtime, as I think this place might get crowded with tourists. We're not used to see a lot of sun so when it does shine, we all go out at ones to enjoy the most of it :)
The reserve is open every day from sunrise to sunset, and the entrance is free. There is some parking space in front of the white farmhouse that marks the start and ending point of the walk and has a bistro/café in it to enjoy some beer or snacks. Don't expect this to be open every day from sunrise to dawn though, I don't know it's opening hours.
Inside there is a small exhibition about the reserve as well, which is also free but not open all week round. From April 1 to September 30 it is open from 2pm to 5pm every Wednesday to Sunday. From October 1 to March 31 it is open from 2pm to 5pm on Wednesdays and Sundays only.
Bikes are for rent but they cost 6 Euro for a full day, and are better not used for the route around the lake. The scenery around Zoutleeuw is though beautiful as well!
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