Travellers’ tales: Coasting through West Friesland
Struggling with long Covid, I needed a gentle cycling holiday. Where better than the Netherlands? I’ve frequently cycled there but never on Texel, the largest of the West Friesland islands off the north-west coast.
We stayed near Texel’s west coast, on the edge of the forest and the Dunes National Park. Our days began with a morning swim in the sea before anyone was about.
We rode to every corner of the island. We cycled south along the coast by heathland that was purple with flowering heather, passing lakes with geese, ducks and egrets, by huge sand dunes to cafés on empty, sandy beaches.
To the north-west, we rode beside vast dunes to the lighthouse at the northern tip. On the east coast, mudflats were home to colonies of spoonbills, curlew and eider. Another ride took us south-east to the town of Oudeschild, over the island’s ‘big hill’ (15 metres).
After my last morning swim, I headed home with my mind filled with nature’s wonders
Sandy Franklin, Cycling UK member
We left Texel to explore some of the other national parks in the Netherlands. We first cycled around Lauwersmeer in the north, a wetland area famed for its marsh harriers.
Then we visited Veluwezoom, an area of oak, beech and pine woods, sandy plains and heathland. Wild boar, deer and wolves live here.
Finally, we cycled in Biesbosch National Park, part of the Rhine delta, which is famed for its beaver populations. With extensive waterways and reed beds, it’s a stark contrast to the surrounding industrial areas.
After my last morning swim, I headed home with my mind filled with nature’s wonders.