Bever cycling route

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Bever cycling route

Length
39,0 km
Time
2u 10m
Terrain
94% Verhard

Callebeekstraat 261, 2620 Hemiksem

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Fietsknooppuntenbord

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Extended route description

Between Temse and Kruibeke, the Scheldt only increases in grandeur. This is certainly the case near Rupelmonde, where both the Rupel and the Maritime Canal to Brussels flow into the river. Consequently, the floodplains along this route are impressive, with the Polders of Kruibeke being among the crown jewels.

Starting point

DeWaterbus

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Hemiksem is only a stone's throw from Antwerp. Since 2017, DeWaterbus has been providing a direct service to the great City of the Scheldt, with a stopover in Kruibeke. Hundreds of commuters use the route across the water every day, but numerous tourists also take DeWaterbus for a trip to the Polders of Kruibeke. Added bonus: the bike can simply come with you on the boat. That means you can be at the starting point of the route in a few minutes from Antwerp. 

Node 70-30

St Bernard's Abbey

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St Bernard's Abbey is one of Hemiksem's most striking buildings. There were monks active here as early as the 13th century. Perhaps they were closely involved in the mining of clay in the Rupel region, and thus in the making of brick. In 1672, most of the abbey burnt to the ground. The present buildings date from the 17th and 18th centuries and served successively as a maritime hospital, correctional prison and military depot. Today, it houses the administrative centre, the History Museum and the Gilliot&Roelants Tile Museum.

Node 34

Oud Tolhuis

In the mid-12th century, the Counts of Flanders built a toll office on the Brabant side of the Scheldt and Rupel. All the boats had to moor up there to pay tolls. Next to the toll house was a small skipper's chapel. The skippers' families could go ashore for a while to pray there. The buildings are still there and have been beautifully restored. The chapel has been transformed into tavern Oud Tolhuis ('Old Tollhouse'), which along with tavern Tolhuis Veer ('Tollhouse Ferry') provides a pleasant resting place for the numerous cyclists and hikers who pass through. The original ferry across the Rupel was a hundred metres ahead and was one of the oldest private ferries in the country. The last ferryman pulled the boat ashore there half a century ago. Not until 2002 was ferry service restarted between the two shores.

Node 34-31

Northern Island

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The Brussels-Scheldt Maritime Canal was created in 1997 after the Willebroek Canal – one of the oldest navigable canals in Belgium – was extended to the Scheldt. Since then, the Rupel and the Maritime Canal have flowed into the Scheldt at the same level. The construction of the Wintam maritime lock created an island between the old and new courses of the Maritime Canal and the Rupel. There was a varied landscape growing there, with an alternation of willow thickets, sand dunes, mud flats and freshwater ponds: a real attraction for birds. Blonde d'Aquitaine cattle contribute to wildlife management there. Around the island is an easily accessible cycling and hiking trail to enjoy all that beauty.

Node 36-01

Hingene & Castle d’Ursel

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The village centre of Hingene is dominated by the beautiful Castle d'Ursel. For four centuries, it was the favourite summer haunt of the Duke of Ursel and his family. Since 1994, the castle estate has been owned by the Province of Antwerp. It hosts exhibitions, concerts and tours. You can also stay in the restored Antonine's Studio, the former painter's studio of the Duchess, or in the Laathof, a group residence for up to 76 people. In turn, the park surrounding the castle is a picnic spot of choice. For those who prefer to be served, the terraces of brasserie Lindehof, eatery De MessinC and café In d'Oude Poort surround the castle grounds.

Node 1

Oudbroek-Schellandpolder

The dead straight Notelaerdreef leads you right through Oudbroek-Schelland Polder, which is being established as a Sigma area. During storm tides, the polder will collect water to spare the residential areas behind it. The poplar forests there are giving way to natural swamp forests, with trees that like to have their feet in the water. The pavilion De Notelaer was originally part of the castle estate. The noble family went there to dine or to receive guests. There was also a skipper's house and an inn for the people. Since 1968, it has been protected as a monument. There is an extensive annual programme of exhibitions, walks and concerts. Also be sure to stop for a piece of Notelaer cake made with cocoa, cinnamon and nuts.

Node 75

Temse

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Whoever enters Temse via the bridge over the Scheldt will imagine they are in a veritable metropolis for a moment. The modern residential blocks of De Zaat, the neighbourhood where large ocean-going ships used to be built, combined with the wide river, give the city a metropolitan look. Take a break at one of the numerous waterfront restaurants. For a dash of history, visit the Priester Poppe Museum or the Municipal Museum, with ample attention to its shipbuilding past.

Node 74

Schouselbroek

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The Schouselbroek was embanked in the 13th century at the request of St Peter's Abbey in Ghent and was one of the first polders along the Scheldt. There are several 'wheels' or ponds in the area that were eroded by the swirling Scheldt water when the dykes broke.

As part of the Sigma Plan, the Schouselbroek is being converted into a controlled flood plain to hold water during extremely high tides. Thanks to the play of ebb and flow, the area of nature will develop into some valuable mudflats and salt marshes.

Node 86

Rupelmonde

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From the 12th century, Rupelmonde developed into an important trading town, which earned it city rights. The Village of the Scheldt is best known as the birthplace of Gerardus De Creemer (1512-1594), also known as Mercator, who laid the foundations of modern cartography. At the Graventoren, a remnant of the former moated castle where Mercator was once imprisoned, a museum was dedicated to the man. Nearby is an old tidal mill, which was powered by ebb and flow to grind wheat, rye and tree bark. The mill is still working and is a protected monument. Also noteworthy is the Westhinder, one of three floating lighthouses used at sea until the late 1980s and docked at Rupelmonde since 2002. The other two are owned by the cities of Antwerp and Ostend. Get some food or drink at restaurant Scaldiana or tavern Scheldeland, both overlooking the Scheldt.

Node 72-70

Polders of Kruibeke

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Due to their large water storage capacity, the Polders of Kruibeke are an important link in the chain of floodplains along the Scheldt. As the area becomes operational, the pressure on the dykes decreases further inland. In some places, mudflats and salt marshes regain their freedom. Elsewhere, some hard work has been done to restore some rare alder carr forests. This creates an ideal habitat for a great many vulnerable plant and animal species. Several years ago, the beaver returned to the area, and the osprey also received an invitation in the post. Cycling and walking on the newly constructed infrastructure in the Polders of Kruibeke is great. The route will lead you via the Rupelmonde Creek and the newly constructed Ring Dyke around the area to the Kallebeek Ferry between Basel and Hemiksem.

DeWaterbus

If you prefer to complete your bike ride in Antwerp, cycle straight ahead at node 71 to the Kruibeke stop of DeWaterbus.