Riding the Reichswald

The Reichswald ("imperial forest") is only just over the border, which makes it a short 3/4 hour drive away from Wageningen, at most. A couple of weeks ago my daughter and I found a nice camp site just on the border (near Groesbeek) and camped there for the weekend, in order to cycle the Nijmegen green route and explore the Reichswald.  I was last there some years ago on a botanical excursion and remembered interesting plants but rather boring broad straight paths. The latter may exist, but we discovered that there are plenty of windy tracks up and down hills in a magnificent forest. Even just those few kilometres away it is very noticeably hillier. The forest is also much nicer than those right next to us, there are more older trees and above all it is much more varied in species composition.  We tend to have quite a lot of stands of single species of trees, but that was much less the case in the Reichswald. Furthermore, the understory was quite varied, with lots of ferns and so on.  In some places the vegetation had grown across the path, blocking it with remarkably,  vicious brambles, which is why I have not put the track we followed on this site, I cannot really recommend following exactly the same route.

The Reichswald starts only a meter or two from the national border (which these days you need a map to identify, there was not even a sign), which means that of the few people you meet in that large area, some will be Dutch.  We met one couple on city bikes, in the middle of the forest on sandy, hilly tracks, who were without a map, completely lost and complaining that there were no sign posts in the forest. But the Dutch influence is not just lost tourists; just over the border, on the edge of the forest we found a delightful 'woodland pub Merlin' which combined a fairy-tale ambiance with excellent ice cream (it was a hot day!) and all the menus in Dutch (despite being in Germany).

The Reichswald is certainly a good mountain biking area and I'm sure we will be back to explore it further.


Pin It