Nationaal Park Dwingelderveld

National Park Dwingelderveld is a beautiful, unique area.
Unique because it the largest contiguous wetland area is in Western Europe.
You’ll find beautiful, gently rolling moorland with puddles and pools, forest, and shifting-sands.
The most characteristic features of the park are the large heath lands. The structure of the terrain is quite varied with relatively high sandy hills and wet lower parts, including many fens. Some of these fens are pingo-ruins from the last glacial.
In former days the heath was in use as a part of the agricultural system. At present it is not the case anymore so new ways have to be found to keep the heath in its present condition and to prevent the growth of trees. Sheep are still in use – there is a sheepfold in the park, but also cows are used to graze, and special machines are developed to manage the heath. In the park, one of largest Dutch juniper thickets can be found.

Since 1949, the sheepfold of Ruinen has stood on the edge of the Benderse Heide. The sheep herd consists of approximately 300 Drenthe heath sheep. The breed is recognizable by the multi-colored wool, long tail and horns. Every day the herd goes out to graze under the leadership of a shepherd and two sheep dogs. The shearing of the sheep usually takes place in June. Close by is the Dwingelderveld Visitor Center of Natuurmonumenten.

 

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