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Title: Grenspark de Zoom – Kalmthoutse Heide
Country: Belgium, Antwerp (B) - Noord-Brabant (NL)
Category: National park
Author: Milenka
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Border park De Zoom – Kalmthoutse Heide (6000 ha) is a cross-border nature reserve with many pools, heath land, inland dunes and vast forests. It is an area with rare natural values and an important scenic, cultural and historic meaning. The area is cut into two by the Belgian-Dutch border and is owned by a variety of bodies and parties. Along the areas belonging to the Dutch and Flemish authorities, one can find large private estates, small scale agricultural areas and small forest properties scattered all over the region.

Natural riches of the border park
The park is part of the Natura 2000-network, a cross-Europe initiative aiming to connect and protect nature reserves in a durable manner. Numerous rare and threatened species of plants and animals have been preserved here.

At the centre of the Grenspark one can find a beautiful but vulnerable treasure of biodiversity: a vast heathland with dry and wet heath, drifting sands and oligothrophic bogs. Heather grows on the drier spots, with a wealth of moss and lichen. The common stonechat, the tree pipit and wood lark are the typical bird species here.
The wet heath is covered with bell heather and purple moor grass. Here, you will also find the insectivorous sundew and tall cotton grass, standing out on the heath with its white plumes in May. In springtime you will still hear the characteristic call of the Eurasian curlew.

The central heath area is enclosed by vast coniferous woods, where special bird species such as the black woodpecker, the buzzard and the goshawk live. The fringes of the woods, the transitions to the open heaths are important for a particular bird such as the European nightjar.

Oligothrophic pools are typical waters for heath areas. Their natural value is highly thought-of. Amphibians such as the natterjack toad and the moor frog are still very present here. The pools also constitute the natural habitat for numerous species of dragonflies and the hunting grounds for the hobby, who hunts these insects.

On the drifting sands, plants such as grey hair-grass, sand sedge and bristly haircap resist to the wind, drifts and lack of nourishment. For insects such as dune tiger beetles, digger bees, red banded sand wasp and the common ant-lion, the open sands are the best terrain imaginable.

Walking is by far the best way to discover the area. A number of signposted walking routes will lead you to the characteristic places and beautiful panoramic views.
Around the Grenspark, you will find a cycling route (32 km) that will show you the different landscapes in and around the nature reserve.
The border park is open to the public between sunrise and sunset only. –
[email protected]

Useful information

Name Address, contacts, links Costs
Grenspark De Zoom - Kalmthoutse HeidePutsesteenweg 129 - 2920 Kalmthout (Belgium)-

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