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Green Ghent: Local Nature Preserves

Springtime is here again. This is the season when the nature preserves of Ghent show their best side and entice the visitor with splendour and repose.


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The Gentbrugse Meersen is a nature and park area of about 270 hectares in size, on which construction began in 2013. It is situated in Gentbrugge, a commune to the southeast of Ghent, in a curve of the river Schelde. The preserve consists largely of meadows and fields, which are often flooded throughout the year and therefor attract a lot of aquatic birds and stilt-walkers. Here and there you can still find some remains of old country houses and little castles. Cows graze on part of the domain and you can take a walk among our bovine friends. Also remarkable is the Birth Forest: parents of newborn Ghent children can plant a little tree there for their child. More info on the Gentbrugse Meersen.

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A visit to the Bourgoyen, a paradise for waterfowl, is also well worth your while. Bourgoyen-Ossemeersen is a classic in among Ghent’s nature preserves. Many species of geese, ducks and other water birds call these flooded grasslands home. This area of 220 hectares is among the most rich in bird species in Flanders. The landscape gets its distinctive look through the presence of the gnarly pollard willow trees. Slightly above the rest of the terrain is an old railway embankment, covered by dry terrain plants. The Bourgoyen also has a nice visitors’ centre with both permanent and temporary exhibitions about nature. More info on the Bourgoyen.

To the west of Ghent are the Vinderhoute Forests, spread over Drongen, Mariakerke and Lovendegem. At the moment this terrain still consists of separate terrains like De Campagne Domain Claeys-Bouüaart or Landgoed Leeuwenhof. These will soon be linked by new walking or cycling paths to create a domain of 640 hectares!

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You can already visit De Campagne estate, a castle park in English style (with squirrels) and a children’s farm. Landhoef Leeuwenhof has a romantic park with an orchard, an ideal place for a picknick.Domain Claeys-Bouüaart has two playgrounds, a lovely forrest and a barbecue zone. Its castle is a centre for young artists, including a theatre hall.
But all those sites mentioned above will be exceeded in size by Parkbos, a domain to the south of Ghent (across Zwijnaarde, Sint-Denijs-Westrem, De Pinte en Sint-Martens-Latem) that, once finished in 2020, will cover almost 1200 hectares.

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A new cycling and walking patch on the Oude Spoorweg has already been opened You can also already visit the romantic Maaltebruggepark, which grew around Maaltebrugge Castle, and the Portaal Grand Noble, a new forest and park area which leads to the valley of the Rosdam brook. More info on the project is here.

As to distance, our Hotel Astoria is situated dab in the middle of these nature preserves and thus is an excellent starting point. And offering you comfort is in our nature.
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