In April I was assigned to write an article about the Den Haag coast, so I went there to gather material, cycled around and scribbled. What follows are my notes and photos from that expedition. The article is here.
Today I would just like to cycle round the dunes north of Scheveningen, get a taste before bothering with water sports, seaside restaurants and so on. It's a stretch of the LF1 that I've yet to traverse.
(original date of this entry: Apr 13, 2016)
|Den Haag - Meijendel|
A raven stops at my table for a look at the offerings, now just a few cubes of brown sugar. The haze has finally burned off and the sun beams down unobstructed. A woman and child were swimming in the sea.
|Strictly for walkers|
The walking trails around here are marked by numbers on wooden posts. Along the trail out to this section of the beach is knooppunt 12, a node on trails 13 and 54. There are also four short hikes taking off from the water tower marked by color-coded signs. The red one traverses the 'varied landscape' of Meijendel. As everywhere else in the Netherlands, the nature zone is zealously preserved and maintained for public enjoyment.
kp 39 -> 40 (LF-1)
Purple flowers now carpeting the dunes. You follow a maroon brick road, much like the one at Castricum. It climbs for a bit, then descends roller-coaster style through yellowish hills studded with low spindly trees and brown shrubs, all budding now. A fair number of cyclists out on a Wednesday afternoon, both casual leisurely riders and racers, who can be heard approaching from behind like locomotives. Keep to the side. To the east clouds bundle up and rumble ominously. Lagoons stud the zone, with sandy walking trails beside them marked by (purposely) rusty signs. Other trails thread up upon the tree-covered hills, and there are beach turnoffs along the way. It's a recreational paradise.
kp 40 -> 41 -> 43
Here they've set up a marvelous observation point for sweeping views of the dunes and lagoons. Log handrails lead up to a sandy platform with bench. A superb birding spot: jackdaws, magpies, brownish ducks or geese.
Another lookout takes in a greenish lagoon, trees along its banks twittering with small birds, waterfowl floating on the surface between clumps of reeds.
A white pebbly path skirts the brick bike lane, then goes into the woods. I walked through woods to the Ganzenhoek, a swamp inhabited by striated brown geese. This trail skirts the chain of lagoons thruogh sparse dune foliage to the edge of Meijendel reserve. The brick bike trail climbs through pine forest, ground littered with needles and cones. At kp 41 (border of reserve) is a big-ass hotel/restaurant, the Duinoord (a Fletcher hotel). From here, you could continue on to Katwijk aan Zee (5.5km north) or cut through the reserve toward Wassenaar, which I'll do.
|Ganzenhoek ('goose corner')|
kp 43 -> 47 -> 46
Coming out of the reserve is a paved road with two lanes for cyclists, one for pedestrians, over which you could imagine what it would be like to live in a carless society. Soon enough it merges with the road into Wassenaar, where are quite a few cars--long lines of 'em standing still--and the bike path is a separate road behind a ditch. Then toward kp 46, skirting Wassenaar, I continue along dull suburban roads, nobody walking, past a series of estates. Finally toward kp 46, I return to the reserve along the sandstone brick road. "It's a bike path, so no scooters or mopeds" reads a sign.
|Meijendel, recreational paradise|
|Scheveningen pier/bungee jump|